Fashion Designer Talks Juggling a Successful Small Business and Working Full-time Job

Malacia Anderson, Founder of Li’s Li's Creations explains how she manages full time job and client demands

(Image: Rickey Allen)

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all rule for starting your own business. While some entrepreneurs have successfully walked away from their jobs on a whim, there are others who have juggled full time jobs until they could make a reasonable salary from their business. If the idea of taking the leap from employee to entrepreneur keeps you awake at night, meet Malacia Anderson, Fashion Designer and Owner of Li’s Li’s Creations. By day she’s an International Customer Accounts Manager for a world renowned bridal company. But during nights and weekend she’s designing and sewing dresses, “made to measurement” by hand using beautiful bold African prints and colors.

[Related: Bridesmaid for Hire: Monetize Your Place at the Alter]

Currently, Anderson is on a mission  of becoming a full-time entrepreneur within the next 36 months. Black Enterprise caught up with her to learn some  tips for dealing with client demands, and the inspiration behind her best selling designs —The Hodari collection which means to have courage in Swahili.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with an Associate’s degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising and Temple University with a BA in Business Administration.

I’ve been sewing since I was 10-years-old. I learned how to sew through 4-H Services in my local town of Roosevelt, NY. In honing my sewing skills I competed and won the opportunity to show my work at NY State Fair in 1983. I took an interest in designing during my last year of high school. My art teacher, Mr. Hunt, assisted me in getting into F.I.T. I also took 1-½ years of Fashion Design.

Learning to sew through 4-H has been my only formal training in sewing. It provided the strong foundation needed. I have also taken classes in pattern making to further enhance my skills in providing proper garment construction.

I have always loved dresses. Since the time I learned how to sew making skirts and dresses has been my favorite thing to do. Through the years as a seamstress, I have done weddings, prom gowns, men’s ties, vests and the like. When deciding to start selling my handmade items on Etsy and seeing what others were offering, I felt doing dresses would allow me to express my love for them as well as set me apart from others.

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