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Imagine yourself in a grand hall. You just walked in through an elegant entryway. You've handed your ticket to the door man and he's escorting you to your seats. As he helps you locate your seats, you hear the orchestra warming up in the pit. Once you've been seated, you cast your gaze around the room, taking in the grandeur of it all. Ornately painted frescoes adorn the ceilings. They are surrounded by a gilded carved wood framework. The furnishings are plush and you sink in, awaiting the performance. It's sure to be a marvelous show, as it's been the highlight of conversation in all your social circles for weeks. Finally, you are able to see it for yourself.

This scene that we just set is only one of the visions that a friend of mine shared with me. I was at a turning point in my life and wasn't sure of myself. My confidence in myself, if I truly had any, had vanished. I needed a way to build my confidence, if I was to conquer my new world. I was about to launch my business and it was going to take every bit of me to succeed.

A friend invited me to take a dance class with her. I used to dance before, when I was younger, so it was no stretch to accept her offer. Little did I know, it would completely revitalize me. The teacher, who provided the above vision, was amazing. She was sexy, sassy, inspiring, encouraging, warm and inviting. I felt completely comfortable the second we started. Her visions of the burlesque palaces of Paris, were used to set the tone and got me excited about performing. It drove my passion and with the passion came the desire to be as elegant in my performance as the palace that awaited. It was exactly what I needed. I was allowed for the first time in a very long time to be passionate about something that I enjoyed. At the end of the season and the completion of two performances, I had reclaimed myself. My confidence restored, I was ready to conquer the world!

Flash forward. The business started to grow. I put up a costume for sale on Facebook and I received an immediate response from multiple potential buyers. The first to inquire was none other than that sassy beautiful dance teacher! "Possibly for a performance I'm dreaming about," she said. I went to meet her, to see if the gown was a fit for her to purchase. It was a little big in places and not quite right. We talked about her vision for the performance she had in mind. She had tried, long ago, to make her own gown to bring this vision to life, but with little success. Now she was ready to give it another try and wanted a beautiful costume to fit the vision and style of the performance. We talked some more and then I departed, to await her response about whether she would be purchasing the costume or not.

As soon as I loaded myself back into my car and started the drive home, my design machine kicked into high gear. I started remembering the beautiful, elegant Parisian Burlesque Palaces, she had used to inspire us in her class. My brain swirled with ideas of how to make her vision come alive. I was inspired. For the same cost as purchase and alterations to the existing costume, I could create a new one custom fit to her vision. Arriving home, I pulled out pencil and paper and drew up a few sketches and emailed her two separate bids. The first explained alterations and cost for the existing costume and the second explained how I could make her vision a reality. I could make her a completely unique costume, hand tailored to her and her dreams for the performance.

Her reply was absolutely invigorating! "I was thinking the exact same thing! Let's start making it next month." I hung up the phone and jumped for joy. This is why I do what I do. I love being able to breath life into a dream, to design and create a costume or gown that helps my clients feel beautiful and confident, everything that dance class had done for me.

I shopped for fabric at local thrift stores. Ewww, you may say! Not at all!!! It's wonderful to take a couple of curtains, a duvet cover and a table cloth and make it into this beautiful gown. It is amazing to think about the difference in price. This costume would have cost upwards of $150 just for fabric alone. To make this costume, using beautiful fabrics found at local thrift stores, it cost a whopping $23. That's $125 that the client didn't have to spend on fabric and could instead put towards making the gown even more beautiful and full of detail.

My favorite part of this whole costume is definitely the hoop skirt. Most hoop skirts are built using plastic boning. It keeps cost down, in comparison to reed. However, we wanted it to be sleek but also capable of holding some weight. We designed this hoop skirt to hold juggling hoops. The burlesque performance, which revolves around "the reveal" was to be combined with hooping. The client wanted the hoops to be hidden so that they could be part of the reveal, about mid-way through the performance. This was accomplished by building a hoop skirt that could hold her hoops. They could then be removed from the "cage" to be used in the performance. We decided to use aluminum. It is pliable, but holds it's shape well, strong and comes in length and thicknesses that worked well with a sleek build. I made casing for it all and had help from a friend to weld the ends together for each of the hoop rounds. The cage includes aluminum rests at the bottom edge to hold the client's hoops. How cool, right!?!

This amazing project is the embodiment of what I hope to do with this business. Making dreams, vision and beauty come alive. Your dream, your vision, becomes reality. All so that you too can confidently conquer the world!

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