On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about building a handmade clothing brand with my guest, Courtney Chu, of the handmade clothing brand CourtneyCourtney.
Courtney Chu was trained as an industrial designer and worked as a children’s fashion designer. She’s obsessed with transforming and saving clothing from landfills through children’s and pet clothing. Currently, she’s creating memorable, lasting pieces that enhance any adventure through her brand, Courtney Courtney!
I’ve been a fan and customer of CourtneyCourtney for a long time. My daughters have worn and treasured CourtneyCourtney dresses for many years, including on their birthdays.
My daughter oldest daughter, Roxanne, wearing a CourtneyCourtney dress at her 5th birthday in 2009.
It was so awesome to be able to interview Courtney and learn more about her business. She’s given very few interviews, despite being in business for more than a decade so this truly was a treat.
According to Courtney, every color goes together, or she makes them go together. I love this mantra!
Courtney Chu in her studio.
We talk about how Courtney first began silk screening t-shirts during a summer pre-college textiles program at RISD, got a sewing machine soon after, and began creating unique upcycled clothing before she even began college. She majored in Industrial Design at Carnegie Mellon mostly because she just loved to make things, and continued to create upcycled clothing for her friends throughout school.
CourtneyCourtney’s August 2018 inventory.
Courtney talks about her first job after college designing for a children’s clothing brand and how she transitioned slowly to pursuing her own business full-time. Today, she goes thrift shopping about twice a month and her parents, who are both retired, also go thrift shopping for her.
A men’s extra-large shirt becomes six CourtneyCourtney girls dresses.
Courtney has done an excellent job at cultivating a community of customers who share pictures of their children and pets wearing her garments (see a gallery of customer photos here). We talk about how she went about doing this. We also talk about her newsletter and Instagram strategy, and about the challenges of hiring help when you’re a one-person business. We also talk about her typical day and how much time she spends sewing vs. in front of the computer.
Courtney surrounded by thrifted shirts.
We refer to:
And, of course, I ask Courtney to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Courtney recommends:
- Kacey Musgraves music
- Sean Baker films, especially The Florida Project
- reading Wall Street Journal to stay current on fashion trends
Today’s episode is sponsored by Amy Barickman founder of Indygo Junction. IndygoJunction.com is your source for books & patterns in both print & PDF format. Indygo Junction produces designs for home & fashion as well as an extensive selection of apparel patterns including their popular Indygo Essentials line. Be sure to visit Indygo Junction’s blog for fabric & notions giveaways celebrating as well as inspiring projects, videos, and tutorials! Join the Indygo Junction Sewing Pattern Facebook Group community of creative spirits sewing and sharing Indygo Junction patterns! Sign up for Indygo Junction’s newsletter to receive a 20% off coupon code.
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