Bra-A-Week: Week 24 and a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Hi All,
This week I don’t have a bra or bathing suit for you. This week I have incredible news instead.
You might have noticed me making little hints and comments about behind-the-scenes projects and things that I’ve been working on, and I’m so excited to finally announce everything.
I am so excited to announce that I am launching my own business and opening my own studio!!
The Emerald Studio
*sobs with happy tears*
So how did all of this happen?
This April I decided that I needed a change. I was living in Hamilton, far away from my family, barely paying my rent, juggling work, my blog, driving home to see my family and making lovely friends in Hamilton. And I had a long think about what I wanted to do with my life and my goals and dreams. And I realized that I love my blog, I love sewing, I love bra making and swimwear, I love pattern drafting and most importantly I love everyone in this amazing community. I have so much passion for this, and so many people tell me that my eyes light up when I start talking about it. Β And I came to the definite conclusion that I wanted to be in this amazing creative sewing field the rest of my life- and that my best option was to start my own business.
So, with much pacing, anxiety and biting of bullets, I quit my job, moved back home and went about starting a business. And I haven’t looked back for a second.
As soon as I got home I decided to start thinking about exactly what I wanted my business to be- An online store to sell my patterns and kits, a place to make and sell custom bras and swimwear, and somewhere that I could teach classes.
Then my mom told me about youth business grants that are available in the area. So I called up the Small Business Centre, told them my idea, and they had me come in right away! After a frantic 3 weeks of business plan writing, survey making -remember my giveaway survey πŸ˜‰ – form filling and more decisions than I’ve ever had in my life, I applied for a small business grant and I got it!! Yay $5000 to help start my business!
But then, just when I was leaving my grant application in the office, they stopped me and asked if I would want to enter their contest- Pitch this Place, for a chance to win 1 year of free rent in a shop in downtown Belleville (20 minutes from my hometown)!!! And long story short- after more gruelling business plans, and a pitch (when was the last time you had to make a speech to a panel of judges? *sweating*) But all that hard work paid off and on Friday June 26th they announced that I won!!!
So I will be opening my studio, The Emerald Studio, in downtown Belleville. *Cries happy tears*
Β (Photo courtesy of the Small Business Centre)
A special thank you to the Small Business Centre, Trenval Business Development Corporation, the BDIA, the City of BellevilleΒ and my new landlord Mr. Paul Dinkel!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
This is going to be a place for my classroom so I can share the art of swimwear, bra and corset making! It’s going to be a fitting and consultation area for me to meet with you and plan out custom bra and swimwear orders, it’s gong to be a sewing workshop for me to sew all my bras and draft all my patterns, and it’s going to be a lovely little photography studio in the back to take my blog pictures!
(It’s this little shop beside a bridal boutique! And they are taking down all the wood and having a solid window front!!)
The shop used to be an old lane-way between buildings downtown, making it 10 feet wide by 80 feet long- crazy! and it’s all exposed brick and hardwood floors- I’m completely smitten!
I can’t even begin to describe how overwhelmed I am with all the kindness, generosity and support that I’ve been given in the last three months. To think that I moved home mid-April, with no set plan, only the skills I’ve built and a readiness to take every opportunity that came my way and give it 110% effort. And now I have grant money to start a business, and I have a studio. It is dream come true, and I am so thankful to everyone who has helped me, and everyone who is continuing to support me on this journey. I am truly blessed.
And I’m most excited to have you all come along with me on my journey of creating The Emerald Studio, to be part of the launch and to have you come to my studio when it opens!!
Β I get the studio on July 1st (that’s Wednesday!) and I’m hoping to open my doors on August 1st! So instead of the Bra-A-Week Challenge this summer I’m going to be posting constantly about putting my studio together, how my business is coming together, tutorials, DIYs and all these new challenges that are going to come with opening my business. I have never been so excited, scared and happy in my whole life!! So if you have any questions or comments about this exciting news then please ask and share!!
And now that you’re all excited from the news- I present to you some gorgeous submissions to the challenge this week!

First we have this very fun bra from Sofia of Silver Lining Atelier!

This is Sofia’s ‘Catrina Soft Bra’, a lovely simple soft bra with two darts, power mesh back, a little lace on the bottom and contrasting straps that go to a ‘V’ in the back. But the showstopper of this bra is definitely the print- oh the print!!

You know I love a good sugar skull! Sofia is planning on showing this off through sheer shirts or layered under v-neck t-shirts. Love it! Don’t forget to check out Sofia’s post over on her blog!

Next we have these two beautiful bras from Andie of Sew Pretty in Pink!

Andie made these two lovely bras using a clone of a RTW Elomi bra. She made this beautiful and delicate one to wear on her wedding day, and the black and fuchsia as a practice- Lovely job!

She made these bras using duoplex, powernet and lace, tweaking the fit until it was perfect! Fantastic- and may I say that you are going to be a beautiful bride in this bra! πŸ™‚ Don’t forget to check out Andie’s post over on her blog!

Next we have a very lovely set from Maddy of Miss Maddy Sews!

Maddy made this set using the Merckwaerdigh MIX30, in pink lycra and white lace she got from one of their kits!

How pretty is this- I absolutely love the mix of this fabric and lace- it has a real vintage feel to me! And I love the lace placement on these panties. Major points for squeezing a pair of panties out of your kit too it’s fantastic when you can do that!! Don’t forget to check out Maddy’s post about this lovely set over on her blog!

Next we have very pretty bikini top from David of Bonnet Bleu!

David made this bikini top using pretty sheer floral fabric and black lace. It is a nice halter style with a delicate back. David said it was inspired by Japanese lingerie and made for long walks on the beach πŸ™‚ sounds lovely to me!


David is a freelance lingerie designer, label:Β Bonnet BlueFacebook Page

dpolrolniczak (at) wp (dot) pl

And last but not least we have a beautiful bra from my good friend France!

France made this gorgeous bra for her mom πŸ™‚ using a self-drafted pattern. She made it using cut & sew foam covered with navy supplex, fold over elastic to finish the edges and some 15 denier to stabilize the bridge. And those buttons- how lovely is that?!

She also made the back a full back using supplex for extra comfort. Beautiful work! And she has plans to make lots more in the future in some beautiful bright colours- You’re mom must be so happy! πŸ™‚


Wow- really fantastic submissions today! You are all such talented bra makers, it’s truly awe inspiring! πŸ™‚

As always don’t forget to check out theΒ Pinterest board, and theΒ Flickr GroupΒ if you enjoy those platforms! Grab aΒ challenge buttonΒ and send your bra for next week toΒ [email protected] by Friday for the next Sunday post!!

And with that I will pass on the torch for the summer to the lovely Michelle, of Michelle’s Creations!!

In case you missed my post update on June 11th–Β I’m going to be taking a summer break from hosting the Bra-A-Week Challenge and passing it over to the lovely Michelle- she is going to do a fantastic job! Please continue to send all submission to [email protected]Β all the submissions will be forwarded to Michelle!

I’ll have a small preview of the posts on my blog every Sunday to link to Michelle’s post- and you can see the post over on her blog. Some weeks I might have a bra or swimsuit to contribute but I’m going to be quite busy preparing The Emerald Studio!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

So for the next two months you can look forward to lots and lots of posts about my business, getting The Emerald Studio together, launching my website and other social media (how do I not have instagram yet?!), along with some tutorials and fun things.

I am truly overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that I have received over the past three months. I cannot believe this is all happening, that I am launching my business and opening my studio. If you had of told me a year ago that I would be here today, I would not have believed it. This is a dream come true. And I’m so excited to be sharing this journey with you all πŸ™‚

xo erin

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  • Anonymous

    So proud of you. A lot of talent, hard work, and dedication. I can't wait to visit the store and I know it's going to be a great success!!

    – Claire

  • Reply

    WONDERFUL news! I'm so happy for you.(tears in my eyes by reading your story) Go Girl! Best of luck. There will be brides be in your store too, for bridal lingerie. πŸ™‚

    • Reply

      Thanks Diana!! I'm so happy to be opening a studio! I can't wait to make bridal lingerie, and mastectomy bras and everything!! YAY!! and to be sharing it with everyone online too πŸ™‚ It's so nice to have so much support <3

  • Reply

    Wonderful and exciting news, Erin! All the best to you in your new life adventure. You are very talented, so I am sure you will do very well.

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    Wow! That's very exciting news indeed. Best of luck!

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    It sounds like it was meant to be from the get-go πŸ™‚ good job on all your hard work! Cannot wait to continue tuning in to see what the future holds from your blog.

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    Exciting news! I wish you all the best for your new venture. And the next time I pass through Belleville, I'll be sure to stop in.

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    That is wonderful news, Erin! On our trips from Fredericton to Toronto to see our children, we will schedule a trip in to visit your new studio. Best of luck–the passion you bring to your work will pay off, especially since you continue to develop the social media end of things, as well as a storefront. And hats off to the BDIA, and the Small Business Development people for investing in our youthful entrepreneurs. Now let's get out and support small businesses!

  • Reply

    Congratulations. and nextdoor to a bridal shop – you could not get more appropriate than that. I am still researching and about to start sewing my first Watson bra and brief set. I am so pleased to have found the forum on facebook and all the blogs and information out there on he web on lingerie sewing. So pleased for you and will watch your progress with eagerness.
    Kind regards
    Sue (London UK)

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    I'm so thrilled for you Erin! I need to start planning a trip to Canada asap! I'm sure you'll do fabulously, and I am so looking forward to watching your progress over the coming months – everything I've seen you do so far is brilliant, and I'm sure this will be no different πŸ™‚ (also, if patterns and online shopping are to come, you can 100% count me in as a customer!) Congratulations again, and all the best for your venture!

    Also, thank you so much for all the work you have put into this challenge so far – it has been so inspiring and you and your blog were one of the main things that motivated me to really get stuck into blogging and bra-making πŸ™‚

    • Reply

      Thanks Maddy! Please please please come to Canada!!

      I have loved doing this challenge so much- and I can't wait to share everything about my business this summer and all of my progress with you!! I'm so glad I motivated you to join this community! aren't we awesome!! πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Hi Erin,
    Congratulations!! And good luck with your own store! I hope you will also start a little online business so we can buy things from you on the other side of the ocean πŸ˜€


  • Reply

    Congratulations! That's AMAZING news! And to be next to a bridal salon is such a great location, brides want custom undergarments, no? (You could totally work that into your signage or display)

    you have inspired me to look into my local BIA for grants or contests. My homebased bra sewing and general seamstress for hire is slow going (I have a FT job and a family, so I'm not putting a lot of effort into it right now, it's just "gravy" pay and a chance to make pretty bras without having to pay for the materials myself).

    Congratulations again!

    • Reply

      Thanks Mandy! I will definitely have to make a sign to attract all the brides!

      I would definitely check out your BIA for grants- they are SO helpful and even if there aren't grants at the moment, they will let you know if any come up and are so helpful to offer any resources!

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    Goodness Erin! Congratulations! I wish you much success!! Bellville is at least closer to Montreal than Hamilton, so hopefully I will be able to come down for a workshop over a weekend, if you have any in mind. πŸ˜‰
    All the best!

    • Reply

      Thanks Monserrat!! I would love for you join one of my classes! I'll let you know as soon as I get a schedule together!! Let me know what class you would be interested in!

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    So happy for you girl!
    That takes guts!
    Next the book deal…..!

    • Reply

      Thanks! It has definitely taken all the guts that I have so far- but honestly I've never felt so happy or free! I'm not sure about a book yet- but maybe in the future πŸ™‚

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    wow congratulations! bet it feels amazing to be able to put together your own workplace πŸ™‚

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    You go girl! Follow your dreams! What a fantastic start you've made.

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    Erin, what incredibly exciting new that you won the Pitch this Place contest! Just fabulous! I can't wait to read more about what's happening, and see it all take shape. And I'll have to get back to my old stomping grounds and come visit. I have family in Belleville. I'll send them your way.

    Wonderful submissions this week – all so very lovely!


  • Reply

    Congratulations Erin!! You are home with family, have a new business opening, and a place to open it! Wow! You have accomplished great things πŸ™‚

    I have learned so much from you through your blog – it means so much to have all of your ideas, pictures, guidance, and skill – it is hard to express how much of a difference you make!

    Congratulations! I can hardly wait until you open!! Will you be selling fabric and findings? It is all so exciting πŸ™‚ Some of us are not on instagram – just e-mail and Facebook. πŸ™‚

    • Reply

      Thanks Darlene for your extremely kind word πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I am so glad that I've made a difference to you πŸ™‚ I can't tell you how happy it makes me to hear you say that πŸ™‚

      I will be selling fabric and findings kits for bras and swimwear! but details of that to come in the future! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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    Congratulations, Erin!!! I'm so happy for you! ^^ Oh, if only Barcelona wasn't so far away from Canada…. I would have been your very first customer! I wish you all the best with your business adventures!! πŸ™‚

    Also, this week submissions are great! Andie bras are lovely indeed, as well as Maddy set! The print on David's bra is amazing, and France has made a really nice job, as a seamstress and as a daughter!

    PS: You should definitely get an instagram account, and get it fast: there are lots of gorgeous pictures, and it's so addictive! πŸ˜‰

    • Reply

      Thanks Sofia! I wish Barcelona was closer too! But I'll do my best to keep everyone involved even if you're not in Canada! πŸ™‚ And I will get an instagram account ASAP!!

  • Reply

    Great news about your business. Congratulations! Your enthusiasm is infectious. Lovely submissions this week.

  • Reply

    Wow congratulations Erin!!! Thats such exciting news! I'm looking forward to seeing how the studio comes together

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    I'm absolutely thrilled for you Erin! I am so looking forward to watching your business grow and thrive, and I'm sure to be one of your frequent customers. Congratulations :D!

    Maddy, what a gorgeous Mix30 set! It's one of my niece's favorites, so I've made it a few times and enjoy making this pattern quite a lot — and those panties are so cute and (for me anyway) super comfy! Nicely done!

    Andie, I'm loving your bras this week too. France, your Mom is lucky — what a great bra you've designed!

  • Ilna

    Congratulations Erin! I can read the excitement in your words and I'm sure you are very excited in person. If I wasn't on the other side of the globe, I would have been one of your first customers! I can't wait to read about your progress and adventures as a business woman.

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    So excited to hear your news. I can't wait to take one of your classes!

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    Congratulations Erin!!! We are soo happy to have you home. πŸ™‚
    and excited to help make this studio amazing. xoxo

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