How long have you been designing for?
I started designing bridal gowns for my friends and family on nights and weekends about 30 years ago while I raised my family and worked in the corporate world. In late 2010, I left the corporate world and started designing full time and haven't looked back.
Where did you learn to design?
I'm basically self taught, although I did take a few courses in college. I'm still learning and look for every opportunity possible to learn about the business. Being a self employed designer is much more than just designing a garment. It entails business principles as well.
The internet has opened up a vast array of opportunities for me, but is also one of the biggest challenges as well with social media morphing into so many ways to reach the right customer. One has to be versed in business finances and accounting, employee management, production systems, fabric and manufacturing sourcing, to name a few.
Who or what brands do you look to for inspiration? I always look to the tried and true designers,
Vera Wang, Monique Llulier, Sposabella and Claire Pettibone. However, the newer designers on the stage offer a way to dial up your thought processes.
What type of customer or clientele would wear your brand?
My customer is the fashion forward twenty/thirty something. She has a definite idea of what expresses her personal style and has a hard time finding it in the retail store. She knows and appreciates value and quality. She appreciates custom sewing techniques to create an heirloom quality gown.
"Designing in Denver is more challenging here than on the coasts… [but] opportunities are expanding here in Colorado and I'm excited to see what happens in the near future. Demand will dictate the future for designers in Denver." – Maggie Burns aka Marie-Margot Courture
What advice would you have for young designers based out of Denver?
Persevere or move. Designing in Denver is more challenging here than on the coasts due to lack of local manufacturing and fabric and trim sources. However, manufacturing opportunities are starting to present themselves in Colorado through hard work and the efforts of many including the Rocky Mountain Makers and Manufacturers Association, Colorado State University, Art Institute of Colorado, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and numerous others working diligently to reshore apparel manufacturing.
Opportunities are expanding here in Colorado and I'm excited to see what happens in the near future. Demand will dictate the future for designers in Denver. Young designers just need to figure out what they're willing to endure and what opportunities they can make for themselves here.