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Graham turns talent into new business
By STEVEN THOMAS
, Staff Reporter
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:00 AM
Caitlin Graham, left, and her daughter, Braylee, pose with their sewing machines. Caitlin started Rebellious Charm after taking a sewing class at the Career-Tech Center.
What started out as a fun way to pass the time has grown into a worthwhile business venture for seamstress Caitlin Graham.
Graham, a 22-year-old wife and mother, is the owner and sole employee of Rebellious Charm, a made-to-order clothing business she operates from her home.
She makes and sells everything from children's ruffle pants to scarves and towels.
Customer Harlie Herring has nothing but good things to say about Graham's business.
She has purchased several items including hand towels, outfits and even curtains.
"She's a very talented girl," Herring said. "She'll work with you and will make anything you want. Everything she makes is so cute. I want one of everything."
Graham started sewing last October when she took a class at the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Career-Tech Center.
"I had taken one in school so I already knew a little going in but I wanted to learn more," she said, noting that she originally had considered cosmetology school.
At the time Graham was a stay-at-home mom taking care of her two children: Braylee, 4, and Easton, who was less than a year old at the time. He is now 14-months-old.
"I wanted to do something besides just sitting around at home taking care of the kids," she said. "The hardest thing to learn was how to sew a straight line."
Taking the class helped hone her skills and after finishing in November, Graham decided to start selling her creations over Facebook.
She eventually asked people on Facebook to help name her new business venture.
"I had 10 names and asked everyone which was the best," she said. "Rebellious Charm had 200 likes."
The first thing she made was a pair of kid's ruffle pants, which became her most popular item, followed by appliqué towels and scarves. All can be quickly sewn.
"I can do 20 small pieces in a day but it would take me six hours to do something as big as a comforter," Graham said, noting that her work is made to order.
"I stay with the kids 24/7," she said. "It's hectic but fun. It's been awesome and it gives me something to do."
Graham doesn't always work alone, as daughter Braylee likes to assist.
"She wanted to go to the class with me but I couldn't take her," Graham said. "After I finished, I started teaching her to sew."
Braylee received her own fully functional sewing machine from Santa.
The youngster uses scrap pieces of fabric when she works with her mother.
"She made a blanket for her baby doll," Graham said. "She loves it."
Response to her work has been good with many praising her quality and style.
"She's made a good bit for me and I plan on her making more," said satisfied customer Jessica Ingram, who has purchased everything from scarves and outfits to pillows and a blanket made by Graham.
Ingram added that as a friend of Graham's she saw the Facebook page and knew she would be ordering a few things.
"When I learned what she would be doing I knew I wanted her to do a few things for my kids," she said.
Graham's prices are fairly reasonable with a pair of custom pants being $25 and towels $10.
She noted that she only makes kid's clothes with sizes ranging from 2-8.
Despite her success, Graham doesn't plan to expand her business, saying she'll just "stick to this."
If she did expand, however, it would be by adding more appliqué items and getting a large embroidery machine.
"To properly do appliqué you need a bigger, tighter stitch and it's easier to do with the machine," she said. "I would definitely do more [if I had the machine]. I hope to get it one day because it saves a lot of time."
Her friends and family have helped support her in this venture.
Husband Will, who works on a land rig in Pennsylvania, has supported her despite a few annoyances.
"He thought it was a good idea to take the class," Graham said. "But afterwards I set up on the dining room table at home. He hates that because it's in his way."
One of her most recent creations was Braylee's outfit for the Queen of Hearts Pageant. It consisted of a peasant top and ruffle pants. She won People's Choice award.
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