My name is Alison and I am the designer and owner of a small fashion accessories brand called Grace. I operate my business from my home in Toronto, Canada.
I learned to sew in a ninth grade home economics class. I started making accessories fifteen years ago, after returning from an exhilarating journey through India. While I was there, I accumulated a backpack full of sari silk, and I liked the idea of telling my story through the fabric. Shortly after, I went on a few more trips and started to accumulate more textiles from all over the globe.
The fabrics I use are sourced from contacts and shops I discovered on my travels. These fabrics guide my process, and I am often surprised by what’s out there. Nothing excites me more than uncovering some amazing piece that is completely new and fresh, and imagining how I can use or transform it. I also find colors very inspiring , especially when I see an unusual pairing that I had never envisioned before.
I really love scouting for found objects and seeing possibility in places others might not. People are often astonished to learn that the majority of the fabrics I use originate from Japan, and some are more than a hundred years old. I choose to keep my designs simple and let the fabrics shine. They’re just so unique; I think that is what people really gravitate towards.
When I started selling my pieces, the Internet did not exist as we know it now. I literally went door to door giving samples and brochures to stores to get my work out there. Etsy was a complete game-changer: I wasn’t limited to two or three craft sales a year and local shops. Instead, I was shipping items all over the world and people were actually finding me, not the other way around.
I cherish the fact that my work holds immense meaning for me. Every aspect is a reflection of who I am, my journey, my values and my passions. I enjoy this process very much – seeing and shaping my business as a whole. Though at times overwhelming, it is very holistic and satisfying to infuse my personality in every aspect of my work.