by Gloria Welton
Gord and Sara Beaton and their three children moved back to PEI after Gord was offered employment on the Island last summer. “It seemed like the perfect time to move back home and be close to family,” says Sara.
The family has since built a home and now Sara has once again set up her home-based custom commercial sewing business. “I worked with a custom medical-based company in Moncton for years until our third child came along, and we decided that I would work from home.
“I do contract-based custom work, which is a little bit of everything. I have work from my contacts in New Brunswick, but I am also trying to build a clientele on PEI.”
“I have learned so much from my work experience and educational background about pattern development, customizing products, and getting products ready for production. I love the variety and the challenge.”
Sara says sewing has always been an interest. “My mom is creative and she always made what we needed such as Halloween costumes, and she let us be creative as well.
“After graduating from high school, I took a year off to travel and I was trying to figure out what to do for a career. I really liked the idea of making my own clothes. I decided to take a three-year fashion design program at New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton.
“The college was the most wonderful place, offering so much learning about pottery, jewelry making, fashion graphic, textiles, and they have expanded to many more areas. I would love to go back now.”
Sara and a friend started a business after they graduated. “We made items such as clothing and handbags, which were sold across Canada. We stopped the business after we both started to have children.
“Then I started working for a family-run medical-based company in Moncton. The lady who owned it had such a heart for the work. She started the company by making sheets for nursing homes and expanded to items for pressure sores, custom pieces to help elevate feet and heels, and then expanded to a product line that is still going today. I helped to create the product line which was an incredible experience.
“I really enjoyed the work. We were working with doctors and occupational therapists and meeting one-on-one with clients to learn what they needed, such as ostomy belts and incontinence products.
“I worked closely with companies to take a product from the beginning stages, drafting the design, to a sample product, to production. I learned a ton and I loved custom design and the challenge of producing designs and products.”
Contracts and business focus for PEI
“I still do some medical product work for various companies I connected with over the years. Right now, I have a contract with the New Brunswick school board and have made over 200 puppets so far. It is fun to have such variety.”
Sara will be working on a boat cover and is also making carryall bags for the back of a Jeep.
“Now that we are settled on PEI, I am looking to expand my connections. I don’t take on alterations such as hemming pants or wedding dresses, but I am wide open to more custom work.
“I can take orders by phone or online. All I need is the measurements and pictures, so there is limited need to meet customers in person, which makes my work COVID-19 friendly.
“I believe the aging population has generated a great need for custom medical products needed for assistive equipment such as wheelchairs, braces, and bedding to alleviate pressure points.
“There are not a lot of companies that do this type of custom work and the wait time for some orders can be long. I provide a service that is very rewarding, and it feels good to design and provide items that help people live more comfortably.
“I hope to build my contacts, and I look forward to making more partnerships and seeing what is possible here on PEI.”
For more about the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, visit www.nbccd.ca