When mother of three Vanessa Amanatidis felt she needed a creative outlet, she turned to fashion design and began embellishing clothes for her girls.
“When I got married, I did not even know how to sew on a button. But my mother-in-law bought me a sewing machine for Christmas about 10 years ago and I was hooked,” she said.
Amanatidis mastered her craft, and after a few successful home parties launched Quirky Threadz Inc, a clothing line for girls 12 months to 12 years.
Formed in 2010 and run from her Schererville home, Quirky Threadz offers handmade dresses, tops, pants and skirts with girls in mind. Pieces can be layered and are easily washable.
“What girl doesn’t love fashion?” Amanatidis said. “Our clothes are comfortable, colorful and stylish rolled into one. I like to think of my garments not only as wearable art but also as investment pieces.”
The demand for her custom-made outfits is only growing, with profits tripling in 2011, and expected to double in 2012.
“I saved everything I made initially and rolled it right back into helping me expand my business,” she said. “Even though I have been focusing on breaking wholesale market this last season, which is completely new to me, I have to say my consultants are still showing an increase in sales at their shows.”
Amanatidis was recently selected to showcase her clothing collection at retail store Made in Chicago, 44 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, run by the Apparel Industry Board Inc.
One of only 10 area designers to be chosen, Amanatidis attended a three-month mentor program sponsored by AIBI, learning from industry professionals on pattern-making, fabric, public relations, and marketing. Her clothing line is now for sale at Made in Chicago.
In addition, Quirky Threadz was featured in December at the One of a Kind show and sale in Chicago that attracted nearly 55,000 shoppers.
“My business gives me a great sense of self-worth. I hope that as it continues to grow I will be able to empower other women to follow their dreams and give them flexibility and stability in their own lives. I love seeing little girls looking like little girls,” she said.
“I sketched clothes every Sunday in church as a child, never even thinking of designing clothes for a living. I had no education in this area until I started seeking out help. I just had to find the confidence and believe in myself."