My 12 Step Program

Posted: Apr 14 2014

I’m sure many of you are scratching your heads and wondering how this whole “start my own clothing line” idea came about. Believe me, I’m often scratching my head about this very subject as well. Soooo, I thought I’d outline my own twelve step program for starting a clothing line, just in case any of you are thinking of starting your own! (Of course if this actually works I will be marketing it as a seminar and taking it out on the road!)

Step One

  • Have a bit of a mid life crisis and a bout of homesickness.
  • Move:

    From here, Los Angeles, where there is a fabulous garment district and loads and loads of resources...

    To here, Chicago, where there is a fading fashion industry, but what’s left is very supportive, knowledgeable, and helpful. But damn it’s cold in the winter.

    (Not a lot of cold weather and supportive help, in LA, by the way)

Step Two

  • Get sick of looking like this when slipping into the sheets at night.

Step Three

  • Start searching the World Wide Web (happy 25th anniversary by the way, the card is in the mail) for something cute, practical, and not trashy, to sleep in and realize there is NOTHING!
  • Say to yourself, “Hey self, if you can’t find it then maybe you should make it!"
  • Then say to yourself, “HEY SELF, maybe if you want it there are others that want it too!”

Step Four

  • Watch lots and lots of classic movies and television.
  • Dream of looking this good as I lay my head to sleep.

Step Five

  • Realize that although you’ve been sewing for 30 years, you really don’t know what you are doing or how to get started.
  • Go back to school.

    Harper College Fashion Department!

  • Realize you are old enough to be the mother of 90% of the student body!

Step Six

  • Surround yourself with a great group of supportive and creative friends, who tell you constantly that they love your idea.

Step Seven

  • Find yourself some great mentors.

    While strolling in a medieval village in France two years ago, I told fashion designer Dan Nusinov, about my idea. Not only did he not laugh at me, but encouraged me to go back to school and do it. And then gave me loads of advice and encouragement. Not only is he easy on the eyes, he is a fabulous artist! You can gaze at his beautiful paintings by clicking here.

    The Talented Pilar Saiki (sure she hits your knuckles a few times with a see through ruler when you are doing it wrong – but you learn so much that way!)

Step Eight

  • Make lots and lots of these until you finally com up with something you LOVE!


Step Nine

  • Have an incredible support team! It really helps to have people in your life who say, “Hey, how can I help?”

    Super Sexy Sweetheart, who also happens to be a Software Engineer and will build your web site

    A great kid whose going to art school and can design your logo. You can watch one of her creative and funny puppet videos by clicking here


    A dad that can not only give you his name for your company, but also be your CEO and do all of your accounting.

    A sexy and talented friend who happens to be a great photographer and is willing to take great photos of your collection.


    Gorgeous and talented friends who are willing to do hair and make-up, act as dressers and assistants, who are photographers and who are willing to model.

    Your son’s girlfriend, who happens to be going to school for television production and is willing to make your KickStarter video (and she brings along a friend!)


    A sexy and talented GBF who is willing to go to trade shows with you in NYC and drool over scrumptious fabrics. (And, who not only helps you decorate your apartment, but will also tell you if that dress makes you look fat).

    A BFF who happens to be a Hollywood publicist and helps you with all your PR.

Step Ten

  • Have a secondary support team.

    A cat that likes late nights (even though you don’t) and will watch you sew, judging and second-guessing you at all times.

    A cute Chihuahua (YES, she's a Chihuahua!) that lets you cry in her fat belly when you are totally stressed out and filled with self-doubt.


    Lots and lots of delicious chocolate chip cookies to eat when you are totally stressed out. (Beware, if you eat to many of these you can no longer fit in your vintage clothes, a mistake that I sadly made)

Step Eleven

    • After much toil and tears come up with a first collection that you are really proud of


Step Twelve

(Whew, it took a long time to get here!)

    • Finally you need lots of great people (like you!) who you can shake down ask to generously donate to your KickStarter campaign, in order to get funding to launch your line.


So there you go, easy peasy. So get on out there and get creative! Feel free to email with any questions and/or advice you might need!

PS: The Maddy James KickStarter campaign is just finishing its first week and we're already one-third of the way there thanks to all of the generous support from you!

We're not home yet though, so please spread the word to anyone you know who loves vintage or is just sick of sleeping sloppily!

Sweet Dreams in your Decade!


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing