Stitching together a boutique

Sophomore Lana Elsamad experiments with fabric for her newest accessory sold at her online boutique: a ruffle puff satin purse with gold chain and pearls. “My favorite part about sewing is the end result when I get to try it on for the first time,” Elsamad said. “Sometimes it doesn’t look as I expected, but most of the time I put it on and it looks great and I feel so accomplished.”

A needle and a thread: miniscule tools, yet enough to build an entire business. Only two weeks after opening her Instagram boutique store selling handmade clothes and accessories, Sophomore Lana Elsamad received her first order, the first milestone of many to come.

Elsamad began sewing and creating clothes mid-quarantine and opened her shop on March 18. She receives orders through direct messages on her Instagram account, @boutique_lana, where customers are able to customize clothes based on their measurements and preference. She also puts in the effort to demonstrate how to take clothing measurements in order to ensure her product fits perfectly.

“When I received my first order I felt a sudden burst of joy and complete shock,” Elsamad said. “It was on the first day I started my business and I did not expect an order so soon. I got so excited and wanted to plan it right away.”

Elsamad’s shop is broad in categories and sells clothes that are caught up with current trends. Utilizing Pinterest and YouTube for inspiration, she has many ideas and intends to experiment with them all.

“I’ve been selling anything that I’ve been personally wanting to make and would come across, and think it was cute,” Elsamad said. “I will definitely try and improve my products. I want to get more complex over time, like [getting] bigger and fancier clothes and [getting]more variety to my shop.”

Elsamad currently has 74 followers and is on her way to building a larger audience. She has a set routine in order to reach this goal.

“I like to post online pretty frequently, so people don’t forget about the shop,” Elsamad said. “After school, once homework is done, I usually start to sew right away to make sure I have new things to post.”

She begins her work process by gathering basic materials such as fabric, scissors, thread and a needle. A few extra detailing items include ribbon, chains, pearls and zippers. Then, she undergoes the process of learning different stitch patterns and ensures she stays consistent with each stitch. Finally afterwards, she models and posts her product herself on Instagram and TikTok.

“The hardest part about starting is to get people to see your work because you know that you can make the products there’s just many people who don’t see,” Elsamad said. “You have to post a lot — sometimes you will barely get any likes and no one will notice — but you just have to keep going and stay consistent until one day, someone comes across your shop.

From this lengthy experience, Elsamad has found a new confidence in her abilities outside of making clothes. She tries to apply what she learns to her daily life.

“I’ve learned to be more independent because if you’re starting a business, you can’t wait on someone else, you have to be your own boss,” Elsamad said.

Opening a new business is a learning experience for Elsamad and although it requires an extensive amount of work, she is motivated by her customers. Elsamad reminds others that they can create anything out of something they love.

“The most rewarding part is just making something knowing that it’s not for you,” Elsamad said. “This whole time I’ve just been making clothes for either me or my family, so to make something for someone else, it just feels really nice.”

By Remy Wong, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Lana Elsamad