We recently spoke with current student Sheralee Beebe about her experiences as a student in the Cañada College Fashion Design and Merchandising Department and a recent trip she took to Bali.

Cañada College Fashion (CFD): What degree/certificate are you working towards?

Sheralee Beebe (SB): I started out with an innocent curiosity in Theater Costuming, and took the Millinery Class. Something happened once at school; inspiration, seeing a bigger picture, imagining the possibilities, feeling the feelings of self expression with fabric, and now I am unsure which certificate, several or all may be more appropriate.

CFD: What are your fashion goals?

SB: My original interest to augment a hobby turned into something bigger. I started to dream in many directions, wanting to design a line of artful clothing, feminine attractive plus size clothing, cultivating an interest in up-cycling materials, and the costuming! My goal now is to allow the evolution to take place, while taking classes in every area. Then see what comes out.

CFD: How has Cañada helped you?

SB: Attending Cañada college has helped me in so many ways. The casual interest to start, ended up turning into life changing directions. Prior to attending Cañada, my health suffered. I was bored, depressed and stuck.   Attending Canada College has given me a life back. The satisfaction of working with fabric healed my spirit and motivated my inner artist. I had no idea this would happen, and am so glad it did. My first teachers Wayne and Ronda, were so positive and encouraging; they helped imprint a new direction in directionless times.

CFD: What did you do before Cañada?

SB: I have my own business called For Your Health In-Home Therapies. I go to the homes of clients suffering from paralysis and I help them stay lively and functional as possible. I have been ready for a change but was unable to leave the clients that I had spent a decade with. I decided that as my clients leave me, I would cultivate new business interests. My plan is to generate new revenues with the Tailoring, sewing and design skills I’m learning in the Cañada College Fashion and Merchandising Department. I look forward to developing a career in fashion, design, costuming, and wearable art that will sustain me when I would otherwise be retired. Working with skills that are creative and inspiring while offering flexible work is the future I imagine.

CFD: What you did you do in Bali?

SB: Recently, a friend shared that she booked a trip to Bali, that same week an old employee of mine had shared on Facebook how she lives in Bali for 4 months a year, to design her next season’s fashion line. Those two shares made me dream of possibilities, the next thing I knew I booked a trip to Bali to join my friend and check out Shola’s business in fashion design. I shocked myself with the impulsive decision to go to Bali, but something inside knew I had to go.

CFD: What did you learned in Bali?

SB: The trip to Bali was over the top incredible. Partly because it was Bali and partly because of the exposure I got from time spent with Shola and her line, Phoenix Couture Fashion and Design. Shola’s roommate was leaving town so he lent his motor scooter to me. What an experience navigating the textile districts on a scooter with hundreds of riders packed onto a small road, with 4 way go intersections. The textile district was three blocks long both sides, of the street. The fabrics packed in so tight I could barely pass through the narrow channels, and walking sideways did not help. One store had many French lace fabrics priced at $500 per yard US funds, I could barely contain audible squeals from seeing such gorgeous fabrics.

We biked down pot hole ridden narrow paths, filled with speeding bikes, dogs, and children, to find Shola’s tailors, leather shops, label makers etc. Shola loaded hundreds of pounds of samples and supplies onto her scooter, to drop off at needed locations, and still flew speeding over potholes.

The term sweat shop is just the way it is–it’s so hot in Bali and the tailor’s shop is wide open to the outside, and gets boarded up at night. I did not see any children working. There were many men sewers though.

SB: I asked Shola lots of questions about starting her own fashion business. Here were her best tips that she shared with me.

Shola:

  1. Hold sight of your dream and save as much money as you can before you dive into it.
  2. Do a significant research and development trip to wherever you want to produce.  Make as many wonderful samples as you can and then bring them back to your home country.
  3. Show them to stores (or at buying shows) and then gather orders to deliver either six months to a year later. Get a 50% deposit for those ordered.  This will finance your production.  I only take a 30% deposit but I already have enough capital to float some of the expenses.
  4. When overseas, hire an assistant that can help you to keep your ducks lined up, and be a language bridge.
  5. If you have not quite figured out what you want to do, or just can’t quite get it together to do it, I had a lot of luck going through “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.

Shola’s shop is Phoenix Feathers Designs. Below are some images from Sheralee’s adventures and images of Shola’s designs.

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