From the Phoenix Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/print-edition/2010/12/31/dresses-for-daughter-launchesbiz.html
Dresses for daughter was first step in Ella-ov-e apparel line Premium content from Phoenix Business Journal - by Jan Buchholz Date: Friday, December 31, 2010, 4:00am MST
Jim Poulin/Phoenix Business Journal Cedar Onchi‟s designer apparel knowledge stretches from Phoenix all the way to Boston, where she first went to work at a Ralph Lauren store. The Vermont native felt pulled toward retail apparel from an early age. “I always loved to sew. My mom was a seamstress, and so was my grandmother,” Onchi said. But for many years, it was just a hobby. After moving to Phoenix in 2004 to work for Ralph Lauren at Biltmore Fashion Park, she took an entirely new direction: She went to work in the commercial real estate field. Onchi eventually became assistant to Cassidy Turley/BRE Commercial President Bryon Carney. After holding that position for six years, she resigned in recent weeks to commit herself fully to a hand-sewn apparel line called Ella-O-V-E, named after her 2-year-old daughter, Ella. “After I had her, I‟d make her dresses and diaper covers and people would stop me and say, „Where did you get that?‟ I began to think about what my options should be,” Onchi said. At first, she remained low-key, giving away items she made to friends and asking them to report feedback they received.
“My friends said, „People are stopping me right and left,‟” she said. In September, Onchi created a website and started formally taking orders, primarily from friends and family. In October she expanded into trunk shows, participating in several each week. She‟s been slammed ever since. The 31-year-old entrepreneur designs and stitches her creations in a sunny sewing room in the family‟s two-story townhouse. The room is meticulously organized with fabrics and samples and other accoutrements associated with fashion design, mostly for little girls. Onchi creates a few pieces for boys and for moms. Everything is 100 percent cotton and machine-washable. The core of the collection is four dress styles, primarily sizes three months to girls‟ size 8. Some come with bloomers. For boys, she makes shorts and hoodies. For women, there are hobo bags, yoga bags and clutch purses. Onchi also makes belts, wine sleeves and key holders. Prices range from $12 to $54. Brian Hill, director of Phoenix Fashion Week, said micro businesses in the retail apparel field require sharp business acumen because of the fierce competition. He said he‟d pick a decent designer with strong business sense over a really good designer without it. But, he said, Onchi seems to have found a niche where competition might not be as tough. “There are a million dressmakers for the 27-year-old, so (Onchi) is in a really good place,” Hill said. Her goal is to open an artisan studio where buyers can see her apparel being made by several expert seamstresses. She also plans to distribute her collection through fine clothiers in the Phoenix market and in New England. In the meantime, she‟s happy to have generated strong interest so quickly. “I feel fortunate ... in this down economy,” she said.