As many of you know, I love sewing for my granddaughter, Amelia, and have shared with you some of her dresses that I have made for various occasions. Now that she is 4, she loves the bright fabrics that are so wonderful today. Several months ago I shared with you the story of Riley Blake Fabrics, and just a few days ago I received the fabric update from Riley Blake. On the newsletter was the cutest coat that I cherished. As I did some investigating, I found that the pattern was designed by Laura Johnson of Ellie Inspired.
I love to feature entrepreneurs on this blog so I contacted Laura to inquire. She graciously shares her story with us. There are many of us who have talents and have turned them into businesses. Let Laura’s story inspire you as it has inspired me.
Phyllis: From where did the name of your business come?
Laura: After having three boys, I was surprised to find out my fourth child was a girl. I panicked a little because I had nothing for a girl! So, I started sewing for her. This led me down all kinds of wonderful paths of meeting fantastic people and eventually beginning my business. Her name is Ellie so it is “Ellie Inspired.”
Phyllis: Tell your story, for I know behind every business there is a great story.
Laura: I learned to sew when I was very young. I have lots of memories of sewing with my mom and lots of pictures of dresses that she made my sister and me. I also remember my grandma making doll clothes for me when I was little and teaching me to love sewing as well. It is such a beautiful thing now for me to pass that legacy down to my daughter. My sewing really started to take on a new life when I had Elisabeth, my fourth child and only girl. A good friend invited me to a sewing forum where I encountered sewing like I had never seen before. I remember just being amazed and soaking up all the heirloom sewing skills as fast as I could. I learned to smock and fell in love with it. The more I learn, the more I realize that I have yet to learn, and that is what makes sewing so exciting to me.
I never set out to create patterns. I feel that it is a path God has led me to, and it is an incredible blessing to me. I have met so many amazing and talented women through this journey, and I am very thankful for it. I started sewing samples for an heirloom fabric shop in 2009. When she found out that I rarely used a pattern when I sent her the samples, she asked me if I had ever taken the time to write my patterns down. She offered to sell them in her shop if I ever decided to start creating patterns, and with excitement and a great deal of fear, I decided to go for it. I studied and studied and studied, took online courses, and enrolled in local classes to finish up my degree in fashion design.
I discovered that creating patterns is an incredible passion of mine! I had such a wonderful and tremendous response to my first two patterns that I kept adding to my collection. Now, almost five years later, I have written well over 150 patterns for dolls, infants, toddlers, girls and boys, and now women. I describe my patterns on my website as “love clothes” for your little blessing because that is truly what it is when you sew for a child. Love is wrapped in every stitch.
The verse I have claimed for my business has always been Ephesians 3:20: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” He definitely has been at work more than I could have asked or imagined.
In 2014, I made some big changes to Ellie Inspired knowing that “to achieve something you’ve never had before, you must do something you’ve never done before.” The verses I claimed this year because of how God has taught me to trust since starting my business are Isaiah 54:2-3 “Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your pegs. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities.” It’s scary to take risks in business, but in every decision from finishing my schooling to starting a new business to hiring more help this year, I have covered it in prayer, and I know that He wants me to reach further than I have before. Reaching and stretching are the building blocks of faith, but sometimes I hold back because of fear. His plan may not be to multiply my business this year, but I know I will be changed as a result of putting Him first and reaching out in faith.
Amazing things have happened at Ellie Inspired this year, including teaching hundreds of women to smock for the first time, being published in a couple of magazines, building a team of talented and dependable women, publishing many, many new patterns, and starting some sister pattern companies. The heart of my business is always to teach women to sew so that they can build relationships that span generations, help them be able to provide for their families, and to build each other up.
Thank you so very much for having me on your blog. You have long been an inspiration to me, and Hoffman Media is very near to my heart.
Who are some of your favorite fabric and fashion designers?
I am so inspired by this story to pursue my dreams because God has truly blessed us all with gifts and given us talents. Thanks for being an example to me and those who are either fearful to step out or many of us who cast our gifts to the side because of the cares of life. Thanks!
Laura has put God in every nook and cranny of her life and what a blessing she’s received . Thanks for featuring such wonderful examples!
As a retired Home Economics teacher it is a pleasure to see so many women returning to the satisfaction
of sewing, a continued love of my own. Southern Lady is my favorite magazine, much loved and always
saved, thank you for this blog Phyllis.
I love that Laura Johnson shares not only her amazing talent with fabric, but her faith!!!
Yes, Kathleen, I agree! What a woman of God…very inspiring!
Thank you so much for everything you post; I love getting your e-mails and look forward to all of your magazines.
Great interview! ; )
I have come To love everything about Laura’s patterns! And now reading all this just makes me love them more!
What a blessing to read about this wonderful lady and the work that she has been doing. Phyllis, I am so thankful to have joined this “Blog” of yours as you have so many interesting stories to tell us about. Love all your magazines also.
I enjoyed reading this! I love that Laura’s patterns are classic yet contemporary. Thanks for featuring a great heirloom designer!
Her words are beautiful. What a thankful and Talented person Laura Johnson is
I love everything you send out. I love to sew and this has been a joy to read. I truly love the scriptures.