As a kid, she loved designing clothes. By out of a pure need she's happily designing clothes for women.
Describe who you were as a kid.
I was a typical girl! I loved barbies and dolls and princesses! From the time I was little, I loved designing clothes though. My mom has pictures from when I was 6 or 7 of different shirts or dresses I drew. My best friend and I used to draw giant paper dolls and then design/cut out clothes for them. When I was in 4th grade I decided when I grew up I'd own my own clothing store in Valley West Mall even!
What's keeping you busy?
My family! My husband and I have 3 kids, Gianna-7, Cora-5, Dax-2. I adore them to pieces! Our family is very close and we love spending time together (most of the time! Ha!) Whenever I'm not working, I spend much of my times hanging with my family!
Walk us through the days leading up to starting your own thing?
Oh boy... that's hard to answer! When I was pregnant with Gianna (our oldest) I was so excited to shop for a girl; but I didn't love any of the clothes. Everything was too 'babyish' and I wanted to dress her like a mini-me; so I started designing and making her clothes. Slowly I got orders for custom kids birthday outfits, Christmas dresses, etc. I had fun sewing in my free time and it was a great creative outlet. Around the time my 2nd daughter was born I had a steady flow of orders and was loving it but I also knew I wanted to continue to grow and make a true name for myself. Fast forward a couple more years and baby #3 came along; and I was struggling to find clothes that fit my body. I've never been skinny but pregnancy definitely changed my shape and I hated shopping. I loved fashion and clothes, but nothing fit me right. I very much thought if I could just lose weight, I could love myself again and look cute & well put together.
Of course, that never happened and I started thinking about making clothes that fit my body rather than trying to get my body to fit clothes. After a few fails I found a single pattern that fit well, looked cute and was flattering! I made myself quite a few tops with different variations of that pattern and showed them off to my customers. Gia Rose grew drastically after that! I had orders coming out my ears for clothes that made women feel good about themselves! From there I knew that's what Gia Rose was meant to be; a women's clothing shop with apparel that help women feel attractive, comfortable and fashionable!
"I was so excited to shop for a girl, but I didn't love any of the clothes."
Talk to us about the biggest fear you’ve had recently.
Failing! What if I design and make all these clothes for market or the mall or whatever, and no one buys them?!
Talk to us about one problem you’ve been focused on solving and why.
Women's self-esteem! I am guilty too, but all too often I hear women say that 'wouldn't look good in that' or 'that doesn't come in my size'. Girl, that is such a lie! Gia Rose carries sizes XXS-3xPLUS! I make clothes that are flattering, yet comfy. Sure, not every style will look perfect for every body type. But I promise I can make any women, any size, shape or style, feel amazing in her own skin. It's just about finding what works for you!
Someone is starting a project for the first time, what’s your advice?
Why Des Moines? I grew up in Adel, which is just 15 minutes from Des Moines. I've never been a small town girl and after college, Des Moines just seemed like the right place to go! And now I don't think we could ever leave!
What’s one new thing in DSM that caught your eye?
I absolutely love that Jordan Creek Mall is showing so much love and support for makers & artists! West Elm, JCrew, etc invited makers to do mini pop-ups for the holiday weekends and JC is offering kiosk rentals for a single weekend. It's so great to see them support us! (Because lord knows I can't afford it for a whole month!)
"I just really want women, of every shape and size, to feel beautiful and confident!"
If you could grant the Des Moines one wish what would it be and why?
For all of us to live with Jesus in our hearts!
Someone just moved to DSM. What do they need to do first and why?
Meet their neighbors!
What is your favorite item or product you bought locally in DSM? Why should someone else buy it?
Do I really have to pick just one? There are so many great artists here! I've become obsessed with Lemon Drop Leather Shop Earrings. Cedar Street Rustics just made me this amazing wooden size; I sent them an idea I had for my besties birthday gift and she totally made it a reality. Oh and also The Fox and the Chalkboard, she does calligraphy art! Sorry, more than one but I love shopping local! Especially for gifts, it's so fun finding just the perfect gift for someone!
"I decided to step up and work harder to grow my business and bring in more income ..."
What are you most proud of and why?
I'm probably most proud of the ability to help support my family with my small business! My husband really wanted to go back to school to become a teacher but we never knew how we could afford that and raise our family. I decided to step up and work harder to grow my business and bring in more income to help supplement his so he could finish his degree! Now he graduates this year! I'm very proud of us for making this work!
In three months what do you hope to accomplish?
I applied to be a vendor at the Farmer's Market Downtown, I really hope to be approved and be able to showcase my designs down there this summer!
What’s one thing people need to know you really care about?
I just really want women, of every shape and size, to feel beautiful and confident! That's why I started Gia Rose and I hope I can continue to accomplish that goal!
Photo credit: Tina Ridgely of A Very Pretty Picture