From neophyte seamstress outfitting her daughter to designer with international customers, Janet Lashley of Sassy Paisley Designs has covered quite a distance in only ten years! Originally from High Point, NC, Janet and her family moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 2000. When her oldest daughter, now 14, started preschool, all the other kids were dressed in cute but very expensive outfits so Janet decided it was time to learn to sew.
Janet says, “My mom made some of our clothes when I was little. When I was a tween I wanted to sew, and my mom tried to show me, but I think neither one of us had the patience for it. Back then all sewing patterns were on onion skin paper, and you had to first cut the pattern, then pin to fabric, and cut exactly. Let’s just say my attention span got in the way.” Years later, as a mom wanting to give her daughter the same adorable outfits she saw on other children, Janet bought a book on sewing (the well-known Sewing for Dummies).
When her nine-year-old wanted a designer purse, Janet thought she would try to make it herself. That bag turned out so well that Janet was soon making more for birthday presents and then to sell. And Sassy Paisley Designs (named after Janet’s younger daughter Jillian Paisley, now ten) was born.
With a modern style and a company motto that says “fashion should be fun,” Sassy Paisley specializes in fun colors that pop and funky prints. Choosing fabrics and designing products are Janet’s favorite parts of the business, and she says she also loves to use a retro look when she can. Janet’s favorite bag so far is a large tote bag made out of scraps. As the design is quite difficult to sew, it’s not for sale, but it’s definitely eye-catching!
Since she’s also a full-time CPA, Janet generally works into the wee hours of the night from her dining table, breaking down large amounts of work into categories to avoid getting overwhelmed. Janet says that sewing gives her a creative outlet, but that her customers keep her going as she wants them to be pleased with, and actively use her products. She says, “I have seen my purses everywhere being worn by girls and ladies. This makes me happy knowing that somebody appreciates the work I do.” Her purses have traveled all over the world, with happy customers sending bags as far afield as Japan, Korea, Australia, England, and even China!
By Monique Troth
Taken from Magnolia State of Mind 2014 edition. The official magazine of the Mississippi Craft Show. www.magnoliastateofmind.com
About the Mississippi Craft Show
Mississippi Craft Show – August. The state’s only 100% Mississippi Handmade art and craft show. Featuring handworks from Mississippi craftsmen. www.mscraftshow.com
Handmade USA Show – March. The same quality handworks you expect at the August show from Mississippi craftsmen and also from across the region. All 100% handmade in the USA. www.handmadeusashow.com