Fabric is her canvas and working hand-in-hand with her clients, her passion. Dianna Fraser, owner of Nauticalmomma Designs based in Oak Bay, NB, tells us what inspired her to make unique clothing designs for children.
How did you get into this business?
I worked as a supply teacher in St. Stephen for approximately six years. I wanted to find something to do at home that could be fulfilling but still be here for my kids, and so I decided to test the waters with home-made designs to see where it would lead me.
Share some pros and cons for other upcoming entrepreneurs.
What I really love about having this custom design business is that it allows people to choose exactly what they want to see in their children’s clothing. Working hand-in-hand with mothers, and their kids, to go through prints and patterns to see what they like and then the delivery of the finished product is beyond gratifying. The best feedback I can get is when mothers tell me their kids don’t want to stop wearing what I made them. It’s that kind of encouragement, and the reaction from the kids wearing the clothes, that pushes me forward.
One of the biggest things I spend time on is researching fabric made in North America and finding sewing supplies. Knits and wovens just aren’t made here anymore. Having people recognize what you’re doing and seeing the value in what you’re offering can also be difficult. And finding the necessary guidance from either local shops or people with experience has been another challenging aspect of operating this business.
What is it about your work that inspires you?
What really helped sparked my interest into going into business dates back to when we were shopping for clothes for my son. I was chatting with a sales person in a big box store when I asked what they did with their clothes when they got to the end of season, and she told me they go to the garbage. That blew me away. As my kids have grown up, I’ve realized they tend to gravitate toward wearing the same few things, and that quality products will not only last, but can also be handed down. But also, I find inspiration in what can be created next. My brain never stops working.
Can you think of an example of how you support local?
I love looking at seeing what’s made locally and supporting what others are doing. I’m hoping to be able to form some partnerships with other companies at some point down the road.
Do you have any advice for others looking to start a business?
The best piece of advice I can offer is that you never know what can happen until you try. I grew up being very self-conscious and not able to make decisions. For me, it was a huge step to put myself “out there” socially and show others what I can do. Don’t worry about trying to appeal to everyone, just take that leap of faith and dream big.
As an entrepreneur, what would you say to others asking why you choose to live here and operate a business in NB?
For me, being close to family is important, so moving out of province isn’t an option. Uprooting my family to seek greener pastures elsewhere isn’t going to solve the problems our region is facing. More importantly, I want my kids to know their family and the history of where they come from. I want to teach my kids how to help make things better and that there’s a lot more to the province than what they might see on the surface.