The girl behind the ruffles

Leaving her journalism career behind, CMU alumni Gussy Sews now designs and sells her unique and vibrant accessories.

Who would have known that a journalism and art degree would lead her to opening a fashion business? Meet Gussy Sews, a 2007 CMU graduate who turned her cant’s into cans, and her dreams into plans.

Well, it didn’t happen overnight. Like many other postgraduates, she pursued her field of study and worked as a publishing intern at Serendipity. While her publishing career may have seemed right at the time, Sews found herself moving to Minneapolis with her husband. She accepted a temporary freelance position which eventually turned into a full-time job. During all of these transitions, she knew little of her hidden passion.

photo provided by Gussy Sews

It wasn’t until November of 2008 when Sews met her new best friend that changed her life — her sewing machine. After discovering, she was surprisingly impressed by the women her age who were sewing and making an income out of it. It didn’t take long for her motivation to kick in before she was rushing to the library to check out sewing books. Who says that you need to start sewing when you are five years old, or to be born with the natural talent? All you need is a willing heart, and a strong passion for what you are doing.

About thirty library books and a countless amount of YouTube videos later, Sews became connected with her hidden passion. She held a specific interest for accessories, especially handbags and purses. Once she began designing ruffles and incorporating them into her products, she realized that it would be her signature look.

“The ruffles stand as a symbol of my motivation and passion throughout the process,” Sews said.

She essentially took this as an inspiration and fled with her ideas.

After attending an important conference “Blissdom,” Sews noted this event to be a turning point in her career.  Although she graduated with an intention of a Journalism career, Sews knew it was time to follow her heart and dreams.

“I knew I had to quit. It wasn’t for me. It was just another position to add to my experience,” she admitted.

Sews’ unhappiness with her career direction is what led her to what is now known as “Gussy Sews.” With her accessories having an emphasis on vivid colors and exciting prints, she wishes to see more girls carrying around a Gussy Sews handbag.

How did she describe the girl behind a Gussy Sews handbag?

“Any girl who loves to carry a unique product,” Sews said.

It may seem ideal for things in life to come to us quickly and easily, but it is not always the case. Her success did not happen overnight. In the end it all came down to her persistence, passion, and motivation. She also stated how important it is to always establish your goals and to pursue them. As her company continues to grow, she stands as an inspiration and encouragement to many.

“My main goal is to encourage women to fulfill their passions. It’s easy to intimidate yourself. I want to give confidence to those who don’t know how to make their passions long-term,” she said.

Sews offers this advice to those who are considering starting their own business: “Just get started. The longer you delay, it’s time that you can’t get back,” she said.

As college students, the big picture of our future can leave us frightened or even intimidated. Gussy reminds us how important it is to have big dreams, but it is even more significant to actually follow them. The girl behind the ruffles, Gussy Sews, inspires us to stay true to our deepest passions, and we will be amazed with where it can take us in life.