The following is a testimony from Jennifer:
When my daughter completed the USFSA basic skills and freestyle programs a few years ago, the cost of her ice skating training skyrocketed.
First I tried to save a few dollars here and there.
- choosing a more affordable private coach (not such a good idea as it costs more time and money to fix bad habits)
- supplementing private lessons with jumps classes, juniors (semi private) lessons, and camps (very helpful)
- extra practice during summer public ice (freestyle ice time at our rink runs $15/50 minutes while public ice is $5/80 minutes once at day a noon)
- sewing my daughter’s skating dresses (this is where the story gets good)
A few years ago I thought I would attempt to sew my daughter a figure skating dress. I’ve always been able to sew, but the slippery lycra and power mesh (the see through — usually flesh tone — panels on skating dresses) took some time to master.
I made her first dress with some bright blue lycra, the wrong kind of elastic and my basic sewing machine. Once I added a few crystals, it didn’t look too bad, so I kept going.
A few dresses later (along with one overlock machine and some experiments with lining and specialty threads) I was making dresses for my daughter’s competitions and drafting my own patterns. Then I volunteered to make a few character dresses for my daughter’s synchro team’s spring show. They were a hit.
I started working with her coach, making all the team dresses in exchange for the cost of participating. Her coach provided the fabric, a higher-end overlock machine, an industrial coverlock machine, and a great opportunity to show off my designs.
I have since made dance dresses for a collegiate synchro team, dresses for learn-to-skate groups, and custom freestyle dresses that range from $150-$675. In the past 12 months, I have made 275 dresses!
My business has become a wonderful way to pay for my daughter’s skating and my son’s activities while still allowing me to be a stay-at-home-mom. It has also provided me with a fun creative outlet (and my daughter loves that I can make just about anything we can dream up)!