Yes, you've read from the title of this blog post correctly...By Samantha Melbourne was conceived in at the lowest part of my life- at a time where I had exhausted my energy and drive chasing corporate bliss and fulfillment.
This sounds a little dramatic doesn't it? Let me take you back and lead you through the journey that caused an over-zealous and strong-willed country girl who aspired to be an international ambassador to pursue a career in a fashion start-up with no formal training or know-how.
I grew up in a church home with big aspirations of becoming a roughy-tough missionary that changed the world, feed hungry people and righted life's wrongs. After a few missionary trips to India and Greece plus a few life lessons, I gave up on the idea of being a missionary. I have the upmost respect for those who've undertaken this path in life. For me however, I did a complete 180 and undertook a course of study to become an international ambassador with the grand ideas of 'changing the world'. Thinking that this would be the most fulfilling career I could hope for, I studied at Bond University in the Gold Coast for three years, then flew to Dubai to intern at the Australian Trade Commission. I had high hopes for this experience and thought that all of my apsirations and desires would be fulfilled in an instant... Its a sober moment realizing that what I hoped for was a construct of my own imagination and not that of an international government agency.This experience was one that changed the course of my life as I realised that the path to diplomacy wasn't the path for me.
Returning to Australia feeling burnt-out, discouraged and like I'd spent a tonne of time and money on a path that took me in a direction that wasn't personally fulfilling, I feel into a slump. So, like any other self respecting girl that had just gotten the wind knocked out of her, I spent a few months watching Foxtel and complained about how I had wasted time and money chasing hot air and random ideas of changing the world.
Now I know what you may be thinking, that this is an unproductive way to chart out a new future. However, it was while watching Foxtel that I became inspired by the spirit and tenacity of the brilliant Dianne Von Furstenburg. From a program she was starring in on a lifestyle channel, I learned of her gutsy nature, flair for fashion and philosophy of effortless style. I'd never seen such a capably fierce and bold woman that knew what she wanted and how to get it. I fell in love with this bossy and confident woman. Also, her eye for prints and timeless style were so refreshing.
Dianne's flagship style was the Wrap Dress- effortless fashion that was made for all body shapes - especially curves girls like me who felt like she looked like a sack of potatoes in whatever I wore! If she could make this tomboy of a girl ( yes, I'm inherently a tomboy) feel like a confident woman, I was sold. Unfortunately, I just didn't have $600 AUD to spend on one of her dresses. After much commiserating on the couch at the sorrow of not having the cash to splash, I decided to use my sewing skills to make myself a Wrap Dress inspired by the great DVF. In two hours it was made and I was amazed at how confident I felt and looked.
March 2015- The first Floral Wrap Dress made by moi!
After making my first Wrap Dress, I was hooked on making them for myself to suit my natural assets of booty and bust ( these assesses were more of a negative assets pre-Wrap Dresses). My friends started to notice my confidence and began to request that I make them dresses ( this is the modern struggle of many seamstresses that offer to make dresses for their girlfriends) , so I did as a hobby.
To my surprise, I started to receive a steady stream of orders from Australia and the world- orders from far flung places like Poland, to the croissant-endowed France, USA, Singapore, and New Zealand. I was in shock and couldn't keep up with the amount of orders for dresses I was receiving. I was working a full time job and considering a sea-change from the sea ( rural South East Queensland). So, in an effort to challenge myself and expand my horizons, I made the decision to move to Melbourne from Hervey Bay ,QLD and then quit my full time job to commit myself to turning The Giver & Co into the brand it could be. Without me realising it, this little hobby turned into a full time affair. Then after a few months and amazing women connecting me to the right people, I had manufacturers, interns, wholesalers and celeb interactions that have boosted my personal and business confidence to dream of international opportunities and heights.
February 2017 - Julia Morris in our Elizabeth Wrap Dress on Studio Ten
Two years on and we've done a fair bit with no formal fashion training- just operating out of gut feel, luck and intuition. This has seen us get to a happy place that is both exciting and unknown with room to grow and explore.
From here we will build on what we started as The Giver & Co, we'll rebrand into the premium lifestyle brand that empowers women to effortlessly fierce in all areas of their lives through our Melbourne-made Wrap Dress and Australian made products. 'By Samantha' will be releasing in mid April, so stay tuned for more news.
Thank you to all of those who've been apart of this journey- I'm very thankful for all of the input, support, introductions, cheer-ups, likes, follows and orders.
I'm so excited to continue on this journey to create some more beautiful dresses and promote Australian made products .