The Accessories Studio is located in the former-garment-district of Leslieville. Their space is unique, and when we enter the Accessories Studio we’re immediately taken by the abundance of natural light, the timeless aesthetics of the space, and the television that’s paused in the corner (everyone gets their dose of Netflix in while they sew; multi-tasking at its finest).
Angela, France and Kendra met up with the founder, Cheryl, to talk about what they do, what they create and how they got their start. We hope you enjoy the interview and photographs of the space below.
How did you get your start?
CHERYL: Like so many other moms out there, after having my son in 2012, I was faced with the daunting prospect of going back to work. As much as I had previously loved the thrill and excitement of my 60hr/week fashion career, I was not looking forward to jumping back into that particular grind after my maternity leave ended. So, I quit. My little home based business started out of frustration - I just couldn’t find pants for my son that were both comfortable and fashion forward. So, out came the sewing machine and after cutting up a really cool t-shirt of mine, the perfect pair of leggings were born. Now with my son in pre-school I am able to jump back into that grind of the fashion industry I loved, but with a brand I am much more passionate about: My own.
When our brand began to grow, I was faced with a decision – do I continue to manufacture my own goods, or do I look elsewhere for a manufacturer. This decision was frustrating, I was unable to find a manufacturer that would work with a small company who had a lot of potential to grow, but couldn’t meet their minimums at the time. In the end, I decided to start my own manufacturing company to produce my own goods. This year, we opened our doors to other small businesses to give them the help I wish I had. We focus on small run manufacturing for Canadian businesses looking to grow.
What do you enjoy most about it?
CHERYL: I enjoy just being in the studio each day. When I’m in my studio, I feel a mixture of stress, freedom, happiness and anxiety all wrapped up inside of me. Since we grew so fast, every day brings new challenges, excitement and opportunities, so there is never a dull moment.
What’s your favourite thing to sew?
CHERYL: I love working on new projects because each new piece gives me and my team an amazing opportunity for learning new skills or improving.
Where do you buy your clothes?
CHERYL: I love shopping online and to support other small businesses. If I had to wear the same thing every day, I would wear skinny jeans, a white tee shirt and a cool hat. You would think someone that’s been in the fashion industry for over 25 years would have a better answer to that question - lol!
Why do you think we should support Canadian-Made clothes?
CHERYL: Supporting Canadian – Made clothes creates more jobs locally and helps companies, like us, hire and train the next generation of manufacturers in Canada. We support the Fashion Programs at both Ryerson and George Brown, in fact, everyone that works with us is currently a student or a recent graduate from these programs. I think it’s important to keep the dollars in the local economy and to preserve and support one of a kind businesses, like Encircled.
What are your passions?
CHERYL: Being a Mom is my greatest passion. Since the brand was created for my son, he continues to inspire me daily. Each collection I release has a special meaning to him and I, and he’s often my best and worst critic.
What do you love about working with us?
CHERYL: I really look up to Kristi and the team at Encircled. Encircled encompasses everything that I love about this industry – they are doing something different and fashion should be different. They care about making their products locally and ethically and they sincerely care about their customers. It has been a pleasure working with their team.
That concludes our interview with Cheryl and the tour of the Accessories Sewing Studio. This is the end, for now, of our sewing studio tours, but we hope to add more soon!
Encircled has worked with Cheryl for a while now, and we sincerely love her team’s attention to detail. They’re always up for a challenge (she wasn’t kidding about that!) and they don’t settle until the piece is absolutely perfect. Cheryl goes above and beyond with her commitment to Canadian Made products, and we really admire everything she’s doing for the industry. She and her team are always so willing to test out new patterns and designs, and they’re always a pleasure to work with.
WHAT'S MADE HERE
All photos are copyright Encircled. Contact us for permissions/rights to re-use or repost images.