Meridian seamstress offers clothing on demand

adutton@idahostatesman.comJanuary 15, 2014 

Casey Hess makes a pattern for a multilayered gown she's designing based on a dress from 1745. Although her business, As You Wish Clothiers in Meridian, has been open for just a month, she's been doing alterations for 15 years.

KATHERINE JONES — kjones@idahostatesman.com

  • Address: 124 E. Idaho Ave., Meridian

    Opened: Dec. 2

    Type of business: LLC

    Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday; closed Friday and Sunday. Plans for expanded hours in spring.

    Phone: (208) 595-4465

    Website: www.facebook.com/asyouwishclothiers

    Owners: Casey Hess, managing owner, Meridian; Dena Stanger, friend and past co-worker, Emmett; Cathi Schmitz, mother, Boise; Gina Hess, sister, Boise

    Startup costs: $12,000 for furniture, equipment, décor, state and local government filings, security deposit for the lease

    Projected first-year revenue: $135,000

    Prices: Alteration $5 and up, depending on the work; custom sewing and design $50 per hour.

Casey Hess opened Meridian’s As You Wish Clothiers in early December with help from her mother and sister in Boise and a friend who lives in Emmett.

Hess, the managing owner and sole employee for now, custom-designs clothing and does alterations by hand at the shop.

“Our goal is to fill in the gap between the picture a customer sees in their head and the choices available in the current marketplace,” she says. “We encourage our customers to bring in pictures of different design elements they would like to see in their finished garment.”

Say a woman wants a wedding gown that incorporates parts of her mother’s or grandmother’s dress. Hess makes that happen.

The Meridian resident worked for several years as the alterations manager for a national wedding gown retailer. She wanted to go out on her own. So she used savings and a business line of credit to open As You Wish Clothiers.

Q: What led you to open the business?

A: I have been sewing since I was 8 years old. Being from a family of women who sewed, it just seemed natural. Around that same time, I got a Fashion Plates toy as a gift, and I still remember making paper dolls in every conceivable combination of blouse and skirt — regardless of how unlikely it was that a woman would wear a peasant blouse, running shorts and roller skates at the same time. So, growing up, I would make clothes for myself and as gifts for family members. Then, when I went to college, I decided to study fashion design and patternmaking, in the hopes of eventually opening my own shop, never wanting to be a designer for a big design house. And now here I am.

Q: What challenges have you had?

A: I have worked mostly with large corporations and therefore was unaware of some of the behind-the-scenes things that must be done in order to legally start a business and occupy a retail location. Luckily with the assistance of friends and family members, and a lot of research on the Internet, we have been able to get everything taken care of.

Q: What sets your business apart from its competition?

A: Unlike traditional wedding gown and formal retailers, who either have samples of styles available to order or have gowns available off-the-rack, our customers will be an integral part of the design process from the original drawing to finishing details.

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Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey

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