I had the opportunity to come to Connecticut for both fashion and healthcare — a weird combination, but it brought me here. Today I work both at Cigna and as a fashion designer.
My grandfather was from Connecticut, and he always told me how much potential there was here. In Connecticut you’re close to New York and get all the resources of the big city without the dog-eat-dog culture.
Connecticut is where I’m growing my fashion empire. I’m designing, creating clothing lines, working with clients – all right here.
I previously lived in Florida and there was no support system there. Connecticut has great small business incubators which allowed me to start my fashion company before having a brick-and-mortar store. I started at an incubator called reSET, which provides startups with great resources such as access to networking events, informational workshops and more. Luckily, reSET is located right in the Parkville area, a neighborhood that attracts creators, so I was able to connect with other artists and entrepreneurs there.
With the support from reSET, I obtained my brick-and-mortar location about 4 years ago; there I can create fashion at a higher pace and volume. Since then, I’ve had many opportunities including the invitation to show in Paris Fashion Week!
I design to solve problems. I try to create functional, wearable clothing – a dress that hides imperfections, garments with pockets. When I designed for Paris Fashion Week, I created fresh pieces with an international appeal and incorporated my knowledge of European designs.
Typically, I design collections for each season, but I do a lot more too. During the pandemic I made about 2,000 masks for nursing homes and hospitals; I do bridal dresses, B2B products and more.
I like to take advantage of Connecticut’s outdoor offerings with my son. I love the parks and the trail in Farmington. I also like to attend events put on by other area artists at spots like Real Art Ways, Art Space, Pratt Street, The Mark Twain Museum, and The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.
A lot of people think Connecticut doesn’t have an arts community. But we do – you just have to go find it. No matter where you are, you have to make your goals happen for yourself.
There’s a lot you can do in Connecticut and it’s a great place to build a foundation, find resources, and grow your skills. Find what you love and surround yourself with people who are doing those things. There are so many employers in Connecticut, and they support you by offering the work/life balance you may not get in a big city, which allows you to pursue your passions and dreams on the side.