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Published: Saturday, 6/21/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

Toledo custom clothing business continues to grow

BY RONEISHA MULLEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
From left, master seamstress Paula Hudson, of Toledo, and owners Alicia Lawson and Arlinda Williams, both of Holland. Shapemyjeans, formerly Shapemejeans, is growing, so it has moved to a larger space inside Franklin Park Mall. From left, master seamstress Paula Hudson, of Toledo, and owners Alicia Lawson and Arlinda Williams, both of Holland. Shapemyjeans, formerly Shapemejeans, is growing, so it has moved to a larger space inside Franklin Park Mall.
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Toledo folks know what they want.

And judging by the growth and expansion of a local boutique, Toledoans want jeans. Not just any jeans; they want “Shapemyjeans.“

Since being featured in The Blade in November, business has more than doubled for Arlinda Williams and Alicia Lawson, the mother-daughter duo who co-own the business, located in the Macy‘‍s wing of Franklin Park Mall.

”It was a big boost for us,“ Mrs. Lawson, 44 of Holland said. ”We’‍ve stayed busy. Our clients and the community have been really supportive.“

Since the story, the business has undergone a number of changes, including a name change and a move to a larger and more prominent location in the mall. In addition to jeans, the shop now designs shorts, dresses, skirts and tops and now serves men and children, too.

”We talked to our customers, and this is what they wanted; more fabrics, different colors, dresses and skirts,“ Ms. Williams said. ”They asked and we delivered.“

Now it‘‍s their turn to ask. In an effort to further grow their business, Mrs. Lawson and Ms. Williams will make an appearance on a popular television show. (They have been asked not to name the show until it airs.) They’‍re asking the community to further support their business and improve their chances of securing financial backing. The goal is to have 1,500 pre-orders by the end of August.

”We want to show them that our community believes in us and supports our product,“ said Ms. Williams, 27 of Holland. ”Right now, we need more of their support. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.“

Pre-orders are $25 and cover the fitting, the start of the jean making process. Finished jeans start at $119 per pair and increase with the addition of add-ons like pockets, custom stitching and designs, belt loops and embroidery.

A portion of the pre-order proceeds, will be donated to support after-school programs in Springfield, Maumee and Sylvania schools, districts that showed interest in working with the store. Dance teams from each of the schools will compete against local dance studios in the ”Dance Your ‘‍Shapemyjeans’‍ Off“ dance off in August.

”This is our way of supporting a community that has supported us,“ Ms. Williams said. ”We’‍re invested in this community and its important that our clients know that.“

The new location allows space for industrial size sewing machines and fitting rooms, which previously weren‘‍t available. The store now carries 22 fabrics and 30 different colors, up from five fabrics and six colors when it opened last September.

To date, more than 1,200 pairs of jeans have been ordered. Business is appointment based and clients can leave with a custom pair of jeans in as little as two hours, depending on the design, which is left in the hands of the customers, who get to select everything from the fit to the shape, custom designs and thread color.

Unlike store bought jeans, Shapemyjeans are custom made for each buyer. Denim panels are molded to the hips and waist of each client, creating a shape all your own, and a fit that cannot be rivaled.

”If you have a favorite pair of jeans or a skirt, we can mock it and do whatever you want to customize it,“ Ms. Williams said. ”Simple slacks, funky designs with the thread, anything you want, we can do it.“

Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: rmullen@theblade.com or 419-724-6133.



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