Join Karen as she welcomes her FIRST international guest to Silver Linings! In this episode, she talks with Gailene Green from Ottawa, Ontario in Canada. Gailene is an incredibly talented designer and seamstress whose business is Designs by Gailene. She describes herself as a life-long seamstress but became a full-time one 7 years ago.
Back in the day when she was in 7th and 8th grade, Gailene took a Home Economics class along with her fellow girl students (boys took mechanics in those days). Many of her classmates were not very good at sewing but were required to sew different garments. Since Gailene was known to have this talent, many of the girls would meet her after school, give her their fabrics, and pay her to make their clothing projects for the class!
Actually, Gailene started making her own clothing at age 8 and began sewing for others when she was 13. Creations she sewed made up about 95% of her wardrobe; however, she doesn’t sew much for herself now that it’s her full-time job. As they say, “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot.”
Gailene’s training in engineering dovetails into what she’s doing now. Seeing an object completed before it’s actually created is a special skill most people don’t possess. She explained to previous co-workers, “It’s all about three dimensional space and how you can visualize in three dimensions.” When she was an engineer, her ability to do this made her designs, “very unique, very workable, and very usable.” When Gailene runs into other people who have this ability she thinks, “There’s another person like me and I want to latch onto them because they understand how it is that you can actually see how these things go together.”
Gailene thinks it takes a special kind of personality to start a business, especially for women. “It can be very scary. There are no promises…you can do all the planning you want, but we all know the old adage, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.‘” It takes a certain kind of personality and strength to say, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” This is her, Gailene said!
Gailene designs just about anything, Her tagline is “Bring me your dreams and I’ll turn them into reality.” She even made a costume for a man who dressed as “The Ultimate Canadian” complete with a spandex bodysuit, cape, and hood mask which she made from scratch! See a photo of this costume on her 7-1-18 Facebook page post. She also creates a lot of garments from photographs. Gailene can take different parts of garments from photos and combine them all into one garment.
Closing with some words of advice for people 50+, Gailene said, “If you’re 50-years old, and you’re on the fence about where you’re going next…jump! Take an early retirement, whatever. Make the leap. Get yourself started doing that thing that you’ve always considered ‘just your hobby’. Stop calling it that and make it your business.”