Seamstress Hopes to Bounce Back from 2022 During Prom Season
For Elizabeth Aubin Manuel sewing is her life. "I adore it. It's like anytime that I'm going to make something I get so excited," said Aubin Manuel.
Originally from Ghana, Aubin Manuel started making her very own clothes when she was 16-years-old. She wound up studying fashion and design attending college. After she finished, she visited her brother in London, where she got her first professional sewing job.
"I met this older white lady who had been looking for anyone to help her sew,” she said. “And I'm like, I requested the job in the post office, and I'm like I can assist you too. She checked out me funny and I'm like just try me. So, I started dealing with her and I learned a lot about her."
After spending a few years in London, she went back to the place to find Ghana and opened her very own shop. Then she found the United States and began being employed as a seamstress at different businesses. Now, she owns her very own business.
"I make kids. I make casuals. I make plus sizes. I make smaller portions,” she said. “I even make unborn babies clothes before they're born."
Aubin Manuel particularly enjoys making custom dresses, specifically for prom.
"Last year was among my busiest years,” Aubin Manuel. “I think I had like 32, between 30 and 32 orders."
So once the pandemic place the brakes on prom this past year, Aubin Manuel felt the burn in her own pockets.
While a few of the girls still got their dresses, others were unable to.
"But all of those other gowns are hanging within the closet here,” she said. “So it's like, financially because I have a deposit to purchase the fabric or whatever and also have to put the time in and everything, and due to COVID, you don't know what their parents are dealing with. Some of them lost their jobs and stuff so I couldn't just force these phones to pay me everything."
The anxiety about the unknown using the virus and business was tough on her.
"I was scared, like, financially how am I going to manage," she said.
But she didn't stay down long.
"Seeing people wearing masks, I did one African print mask and wore it and set it on Facebook and, like, inside a week I got a lot of orders that held me," she said.
Now that prom season may happen this year, Aubbin Manuel is busy taking orders for custom dresses.
"So far I have five girls,” she said. “Yes. So I'm still posting on my small Facebook page that I'm making prom dresses for 2022."
She's moving into her very own office space after working in her own home, but she's excited to get back to making custom dresses.
Her favorite part of creating bridesmaid dresses is, "Everything. Everything it's like making people feel pretty and happy, and helping individuals with their self-confidence."
When she's finished creating a dress and sees her clients’ reactions, she gets there aren’t far better feelings.
"I seem like I'm along with the world," she said.
Aubin Manuel is hoping to make about 30 custom prom dresses this season. She also makes wedding dresses and said brides are booking her since wedding season is here.