I’m always enamored with off-beat style; individuals who own their look and aren’t afraid to be themselves. This goes in fashion and interiors. Of course, I love a dash of vintage, romance, humor and tradition thrown into the mix for good measure too. Luxury bridal and clothing designer, Veronica Sheaffer, represents thinking about fashion in your own way and is currently multi-tasking with a mission across several platforms. Her current fashion message, “the world says you’re old, but you’re still hot AF.”
Not only does Veronica have a line of custom bridal and intimates, a fashion blog for women over 35, and an incredibly well-decorated apartment, she’s also given away her entire wardrobe (undies too!) in an attempt to create a high-fashion wardrobe for herself (a personal project after so much sewing for others). Veronica can also spot good vintage from a mile away, and happens to be from Sandwich IL, which is known for a huge summer flea market series – don’t miss it if your local!
I’ve been admiring her bridal line for several years and it was a treat to visit Veronica at her home and studio. We even collaborated on a very fringy DIY coming up soon! Photos are by Chicago-based wedding and portrait photographer Anna Sodziak. Enjoy the interview and remember you are HOT as F**K.
Centered By Design: Women Who MAKE Interview – VERONICA SHEAFFER
- Name: Veronica Sheaffer
- Age: 37
- Current title/company name: Designer, President / Veronica Sheaffer Inc.
- Years in operation: 7+
What are your first memories of making/being creative?
I would play around with cross-stitch when I was in grade school, which is probably my first experience with a needle and thread, but before that – probably second and third grade – I was making my own paper dolls with endless wardrobes. I’ve always loved clothing and fabric and making something, anything, is so satisfying. In high school I started acting, which took me to NYC when I was eighteen (I studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts), and I stuck with that for many years. If I think about the arts that I love most – sewing, fashion, interior design, acting – they’re all very transformative. I supposed that’s at the root of my interests, although I’m not sure what that says about me, haha.
How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a small business owner?
When I was studying in NY, I somehow landed a receptionist position at a television post-production house, and that led to a series of “day jobs” in administrative positions, while I tried to make a go of acting. Of course I hated it at the time, but I learned so much. One of my early employers sent me to an email workshop (this was obviously a million years ago), and that was such a gift. All of that experience made the day-to-day tasks of running a business, and interacting with other businesses, second nature. The actual confidence to strike out on my own is baffling to me, since I spend half of my time thinking of myself as a failure. I guess I should thank my parents for stuffing the confidence deep into my psyche somewhere.
Tell us about the process of launching your business. Best parts? Biggest challenge?
A friend and I took a leap and made a couple of women’s ready-to-wear collections, while I was still acting a bit. We did pretty well, considering I had zero experience with production (I had only sewn for myself up to that point), and that led to some requests for custom bridal gowns. I loved making those really special, emotional pieces, and my reputation in bridal started to grow quickly. It was only a couple of years before I launched my first full collection (2010). I was writing a blog at the time (My Hands Made It), which was fairly successful, and that helped spread the word. It was right at the beginning of the big blog/DIY/wedding/Pinterest boom – the timing was great. Then I had a baby, haha. Running a business and being a mom is HARD. There’s never enough time! Truly, there is not. You have to be so fluid – constantly making adjustments – because the day never goes as planned. NOTHING goes as planned. I’m so beyond lucky to have a husband who is fully invested in whatever I’m trying to create – he helps me so much.