Generation Now: Dalia Lenard – The Dressmaker
by Lou-Ann Jordan Feb 18, 2019
Welcome back to Generation Now, Yello’s exciting series that allows our readers to share in the stories of amazing people of Generation Y and Z.
In this instalment, Yello had a chance to speak with the undeniably skilful Dalia Lenard, founder of Dali’s Sewing Services. Though this may appear a traditional career path, it is anything but. With dynamism and entrepreneurial acumen, Dalia has forged a noteworthy business, brilliantly monetising her incredible talent as a fashion designer.
Here’s what this formidable 32-year-old had to share her adventurous journey, as she established Dali’s Sewing Services.
What sparked your interest in fashion design?
My interest sparked in fashion design when I converted to Christianity. I found it very difficult, when shopping, to find clothing I considered modest but still trendy. In an attempt to satisfy my fashion needs, I resorted to purchasing fabric and visiting tailors and seamstresses, but each time I was never really satisfied with the finished product. I felt they kept sewing for their styles, not mine. That propelled me to pursue sewing and fashion designing.
Briefly share your entrepreneurial journey to owning Dali’s Sewing Services?
My entrepreneurial journey started very simply. It began with a sewing machine, a stool and $50. Despite such a beginning, I had faith, and I was hopeful. I continued to persevere. No matter how much fabric I spoiled, I persisted. Slowly I improved, and I gained a clientele which eventually began to increase.
To whom does Dali’s Sewing Services cater?
We cater to the family: men, women, and children. Our apparel lines are for all occasions; from casual outfits to wedding attire.
What current international fashion trends are influencing your work?
Presently the international fashion trend influencing my work is Ankara fashion. Ankara fashion uses African wax print that is colourful and vibrant. I’ve really taken to it. Also, classic designs that are sophisticated and modest influence my work.
How is Grenada’s landscape or culture featured in your designs?
Grenada’s culture plays a significant role in my designs. Grenada’s national colours, red, green and gold exudes positive energies, radiance, and beauty. In my designs, I work to create those three elements, as well as the fact that I have designed a line of apparel that features the national colours. This National Colours Day, men women and children will have an opportunity to wear our clothes.
What has been the most impactful lesson you’ve learned since you started Dali’s Sewing Services?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that failure is only the beginning of great success. When I failed, I retraced my steps and created innovative ideas to try again. Of course, failure is costly. Among other things, it cost me time. However, with each failure, I had a chance to exercise patience, perseverance and great faith. The best part is I can look back and smile because each time I failed it was merely stepping stones to a brighter beginning.
Starting a business can seem daunting if one focuses on acquiring start-up capital. What was your approach?
My approach to starting my business was simply to use the resources I had which were: $50 and my faith. I had no one to turn to so I happily invested my last $50 in purchasing fabric to create a garment I could sell. Once completed, I made a satisfactory profit and excited reinvested knowing without any doubt that my little business would blossom from that first experience.
What changes would you like to make in Grenada’s fashion?
I don’t desire to change Grenada’s fashion per se because I can appreciate that people’s tastes differ. However, if given the opportunity I’d love to add more variety to Grenada’s fashion scene. I want to add more couture, and design that display elegance, sophistication, and modesty — all with a unique stamp that says Dali’s Sewing Services.
In what way is Dali’s Sewing Services developing in the way you imagined?
It certainly has. From my $50 and one sewing machine, I now own a variety of sewing machines. Not only has my clientele grown but they place their confidence and faith in me and my work. I’m incredibly appreciative of that. Also, my skills have elevated tremendously allowing me to customers’ needs. There’s nothing better than being able to create something that was only imagined by the customer.
Who has been your biggest influence and why?
A Biblical character, a seamstress, named Dorcas, inspires me. She was very charitable and many found her inspiring. In the story, when she died those whose lives she had touched refused to bury her but instead sought out the apostles to bring her back to life. I have always loved her story, and from inception, my work was influenced by her. She was a phenomenal woman.
What advice would you give to other young people who have a dream to become an entrepreneur?
My advice to anyone striving to become an entrepreneur is to seek and rely on God to direct you to your destiny. That said if you fail, get up and try again; persevere. We were given life because we are strong enough to live it and every new day is a unique opportunity to try again.
Yello wishes Dali’s Sewing Services continued success.