Laura Tran just started taking fashion courses at Cañada, but she’s already making her mark in and outside of class. We asked Laura more about her and her business. Here’s what she had to say.
Cañada fashion department (CFD): Tell us a little about your background.
Laura Tran (LT): I’m a Bay Area local, born and raised in San Jose. Most recently I was working as an IT project manager at Apple.
CFD: Tell us about your new store.
LT: The Maker’s Fabric offers a curated selection of well-made and sustainably produced apparel fabrics with a focus on natural fibers. Softness and comfort are a huge priority for me. I make sure to touch each and every fabric before purchasing to ensure that it will feel good against the skin.
Right now we have a variety of silks, linens, cottons and professional threads. We have quite a few wools and wool blends coming soon too!
CFD: What prompted you to start an online fabric store?
LT: I started sewing about a year ago and noticed that it was really hard to find apparel fabric in the South Bay. The local brick and mortars carry mainly polyester, and the local sewing shops carry almost entirely quilting cotton. The closest fabric stores with a bigger selection of apparel fabrics are an hour’s drive away. At first I wanted to open a brick and mortar because I think there’s definitely a demand for it here. But after a lot of thought, I decided to start with an online store to work through the challenges of starting a business.
CFD: What have some of the challenges been getting your shop off the ground?
LT: Knowing where to start was definitely a challenge. My work experience is in IT and corporate supply chains, so I had no idea where to begin sourcing textiles or who to even talk to in order to find out!
CFD: How did you overcome these challenges?
LT: I remembered that many different industries have specialized trade shows where businesses can go to discover new products or learn about new technologies. I started searching for popular textile trade shows in California and signed up for the next one I could attend. It was really overwhelming at first, but I just started talking to suppliers … and asking questions.
CFD: Do you think you’ll eventually open a brick and mortar store, or do you plan to sell online only?
LT: I would LOVE to open a brick and mortar! My dream is to provide not just fabrics but a comfortable sewing room with a little café so folks could have a warm and inviting environment to sew and make more sewing friends.
CFD: How did you get connected to Cañada fashion department?
LT: A friend shared her positive experience with taking classes here.
CFD: What courses are you taking?
LT: FASH 118 [Beginning Flat Pattern] and FASH 173 [Lingerie].
CFD: What do you hope to learn, and do you plan to earn a fashion certificate?
LT: This is my first semester at Cañada College, so I’m still figuring things out. I chose flat pattern as my first class because I have been mystified ever since I started sewing by how a 3D garment can be flattened into its 2D representation on paper. I’m hoping to get better at modifying existing patterns so I can sew better-fitting garments for my shop samples and myself.
CFD: Anything else you want to share with our readers?
LT: Please visit our shop and have a look around. We’re offering Cañada College fashion students 25% off their entire order until the end of July with promo code FASH118.
NOTE: Cañada College does not endorse any particular brand or product. The content of this blog is made available for educational purposes only.