Today I'm featuring one of my favorite local designers: Jessilyn Poole from EVE + ENOCH! I first met Jessilyn and her sister Megan (now a partner in her business) back in 2011 at an Edmonton fashion design contest when she was just 20 years old, fresh out of college (she went to Marvel) and having recently started her label only a couple months before. After seeing the Sherwood Park resident's cute and contemporary dresses at the event, I remember thinking to myself, "I would totally wear her clothing!" Fast forward four years later and the EVE + ENOCH brand is now available to the masses online, at Bamboo Ballroom and J. Lea Fashion House opening this fall in Windermere. Scroll down to read my interview with this bright-eyed beauty about how she got started, what obstacles she's had to overcome starting a business from scratch and what she thinks about Edmonton's fashion industry.
How old were you when you first started sewing?
It started back when I was five, sewing with a needle and thread. I then jumped on a machine at 7 years old. My mom says she only showed me how to use it once and then I was off!
What or who inspired you to create your own line of clothing?
I was inspired by my ability to create clothing. I get an adrenaline rush from seeing my ideas come to life, I just love designing clothing, so I had to try it out! I wanted to work for myself so I just went for it.
How would you describe your designs?
My clothing is very wearable and comfortable. It's trendy, but I don't sacrifice comfort or fit. I make clothing that will last and transition into several seasons.
What obstacles have you had to overcome in order to start your own business?
Always an obstacle when starting a business is finding funds. I've had to work part time jobs on top of running the business and it's exhausting! Another big obstacle has been that Edmonton is not set up for clothing manufacturing. I have to source everything from elsewhere. I try to source Canadian (Vancouver and Montreal), however even that is difficult. Sometimes I have to get my fabric from the US or overseas.
What do you love about the local fashion community here in Edmonton?
I love that Edmonton loves to support their local designers and artisans. It's a great community.
What do you feel are the benefits of buying local?
I feel like buying local helps you to value your purchases. Our retail industry is very detached and when you can put a face to the items you buy, they have more meaning and you value them. They become less disposable.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would love to be in stores across Canada, employing several people, and starting a small production factory/studio.
Any advice for people who want to start their own business?
Go for it! You won't know until you try it!
Jessilyn Poole of EVE + ENOCH