I honestly haven’t seen my daughter this excited to get dressed and ready for school. Today is different. Today she is wearing a dress her best friend Sofie’s mom made by hand. And she wants it to be a surprise.
At a recent Girls on the Run practice, I noticed Sofie’s T-shirt was turned into a designer masterpiece with multiple fabrics surrounding a square of the T-shirt. “Wait, Sofie, did your mom make that?” I said, and she replied, “Yup, she did. She has an online store.” I asked if I could order one, and she cheerfully replied, “Sure.” And that’s how I was introduced to Sugar Sauce.
After exchanging a few emails, I found out that mom of four Kim Demeno officially opened up shop. She is living her dream, making the most adorable children’s clothing. It was at the Girls on the Run race when Kim handed me a very pretty wrapped package with the most adorable button type logo made of wood. When she surprised me with the dress (it was just a few days earlier that I had asked her about it). My mom saw the package, and before seeing the dress she was equally impressed with the way it was packaged. But when you are creating high end fashion for kids, you wouldn’t want to miss one detail. And believe me, Kim has put a lot of thought into her newest venture.
Going from home schooling your kids, and always being ‘available’ to them to running your own business has helped Kim focus on what’s important and work very hard.
How did you get started? I really feel like I am just now at the starting point. My husband has been nudging me to start a clothing business for a couple of years, but I didn’t have the confidence to take the plunge. I did reserve the sugar sauce name on Etsy two years ago, but just opened up shop last Christmas (2013). I made a couple of sales right away and that helped to motivate me.
How did you come up with the name? Sugar Sauce is a name that came from indecision. I wanted a name that started with an ‘S’ because I used to appliqué the letter on all the clothes I made Sofie when she was little. At the time I came up with Sugar Sauce, I was considering starting a blog and didn’t want to be trapped into one thing. I love to bake and cook as well as sew and I wanted a name that could cover all of that.
Have you always been into sewing? My mom taught me to sew when I was a girl. My mom was really into sewing and I loved to hang out with her, listening to the fabric racing through her machine. She taught me to sew clothing and how to pick out fabric. I continued to sew a few things here and there over the years but was inspired when my daughter, Sofia, was young. I knew I could sew cute skirts, dresses and pants. So, I really buckled down at my sewing machine and figured it all out. I have spent many, many hours at my machine, now with my own daughter by my side, just as I was with my mom so many years ago.
Tell me about your kids, do they inspire you? I have three boys and a girl. I did sew a tiny bit for my boys before Sofie was born, but having a daughter really kicked my desire to sew into gear. I saw all the cute ruffle baby girl clothes and knew I could do it. It was so satisfying to dress my little girl in something all hand made and get compliments on how adorable her clothes looked.
What is your biggest challenge? Self doubt. Being critical of my work and not sure if it is cute enough, good enough, sewn well enough.
What goal have you set and accomplished so far? Opening up a shop, selling something and having that person thrilled with their purchase.
How do you get your ideas? I’m always looking at kids fashion, lots of inspiration there. Plus, I just watch my daughter to see what works for her. If a dress always has to be adjusted or is hard to put on or wear while going about regular activities, I figure out how to change the design so it does work.
Do you make all of the designs yourself? Yes. I do use some patterns, but also draft many myself. I do all my own sewing.
How do you find work/life balance? I’m still working on that. It has not been an easy transition going from full-time mom to working mom. My family really expects me to be available all of the time, and since I am home it is hard to set aside work time. I think with a good schedule and some boundaries it will work.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start a home business? Just do it. I know it sounds cliché, but for me that was a big hurdle. I had my own home based business before having kids so I had some idea of what I was getting into, but it can be intimidating. There is so much to do when you are starting something on your own, and ultimately you are the one responsible for all of it. The only way to know if your business is going to work is to just start. Then, work hard.
Do you think you’ll always work from home or are you considering getting a studio? For now, I am completely happy working at home, although a beautiful sewing room would be great!
My daughter received a ton of compliments on her dress, and the material is really soft so no wonder she practically lives in it. And, she and her best friend are already talking about wearing ‘matching’ outfits from, you guessed it, Sugar Sauce. Check out Sugar Sauce on Facebook!