Over the last two months, I've had the amazing opportunity to work with the lovely ladies of Made By, a newly founded online boutique that provides a modest wardrobe for the new millennium while embracing the current and upcoming trends. (See how I styled this Made By skirt earlier this month in this post.) I could not refuse their offer to live out every blogger's dream: to have a garment designed by and made for me to be featured in an online shop!
When the owners of Made By reached out to me in May, I immediately knew that I wanted to work with the brand because its design aesthetic is so classic, feminine and fun, kind of like how I view my own personal style. I opted to create a dress, and after an enjoyable design process with Made By's team, it's finally finished! I've posted a few teasers on Instagram, and plan to reveal it this week. However, before I do, I thought it would be a good idea for you to get to know the beauty and brains of both of the women behind Made By a little better via an interview I conducted. Meet Samantha Hylton and Julia Storey...
JS – My name is Julia Storey. I was born in New York but raised in the heart of Florida. I earned my degree in Legal Studies but later found a calling in creating modest apparel. It was then that I shifted my focus to sewing and teamed up with Samantha in relaunching her modest clothing line now called Made By. I am happily married to the most wonderful man in the world and have been blessed by God with four amazing little ones. My family truly inspires me to do my best in everything that I put my mind to. I love doing DIYs with my little ones in my free time.
SH – My name is Samantha Hylton. I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and currently reside in the sunshine state of Florida. I have always had an eye and passion for fashion that lead me to pursue my degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising. In the midst of working and pursuing my education I married the love of my life. We are currently heavily involved in ministry at First Pentecostal Ministries (FPM) of Orlando. During our free time, we like bike riding and catching up on some good ole’ fashioned classics.
TS – Can you briefly explain the concept of your brand, how you came up with the name, and what prompted you to start the company?
SH – The concept of our brand is to conserve modesty. I have noticed that as time has passed, the value to modesty is disappearing in the fashion industry. Standards of modesty vary by culture and/or generation, but Made By aims to maintain modesty in an Apostolic (UPC) point of view. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image He created them; male and female He created them.” We were MADE BY and in His image and as children of the King. Therefore, we, as believers, should dress ourselves in a manner that respects God’s work. I was prompted to start my company by my love for God and fashion. I also work closely with many young women and was inspired to create MADE BY after hearing from some of these ladies how hard it was find modern yet modest apparel.
TS – Did you face any challenges during the concept and launch phases of your company?
JS – Currently, I work from home as a full-time mom, and Sam works full-time in an office setting. Although the both of us are extremely involved in our church and work, we take time to focus on the store and our future ambitions. Our business plan and God’s grace are what keep us dedicated when challenges come our way.
SH – Finding time to talk with one another in person is always a challenge. However, being that we are in the 21st century, there is always a way to connect through phone or the Internet. We have faced other challenges on this new journey, but at the same time we have learned so many lessons over the past couple of months. One of our biggest goals right now is to provide the best customer support and satisfaction possible.
TS – What has been your favorite part about starting your own business? I gather that Made By is actually a relaunch. How has Made By changed from what was previously FineTwined Linen?
SH – Yes it is! Unlike FineTwined Linen, we no longer sell just vintage apparel. Instead, we now sell our own apparel in different sizes and colors. We launched our first line in February of 2014 that consisted of women’s clothing and accessories. Our favorite part was watching each of our sketches come to life. We’re both very creative and it’s great to express that through our brand with each item we create.
TS – What is Made By's design aesthetic? What do you think makes your clothing unique?
JS – For starters, all our items are handmade in the United States, and aside from the occasional collaboration, everything is designed in-house by Made By creations. Therefore, you’re looking at a fashion line that is designed and manufactured within the country.
In regards to the actual look of our products, I would describe the aesthetic as being a mix of what you find at Zara, J.Crew and Anthropology while still the tasteful level of modesty our clients are looking for. We believe that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice cutting edge looks to wear something that supports your faith. You can have both.
TS – Right now you offer a wide selection of skirts and hair accessories, and your website tells us that the men's department is coming soon. What is the next step for Made By?
SH – Yes, we currently have been focusing on women’s attire however in the near future we plan to add men's, children's and bridal wear. A long-term goal we have is to open a local boutique in our area. In the meantime, we are excited that we have a few collaborations with style icons and bloggers as well as some pop up shops planned.
I'd like to give special thanks to Samantha and Julia for considering me for Made By's latest blogger collaboration project, and for taking the time to interview for this post. Check out their fabulous designs and clothing line at www.shopmadeby.com.