Megan Sooley wanted to be a fashion designer, and that’s how she became an entrepreneur. Sooley Designs produces custom women’s wear using fabric that Megan travels the world to source. “My products,” she explains, “are unique pieces created for women. We do it all by hand, right here. Custom clothes—I can make anything for any size, any shape.”
Sooley Designs releases two collections a year and several mini-collections. Their clothing includes wedding dresses, graduation dresses, and ready-to-wear lines.
Megan’s personality has helped build her success in the competitive world of fashion. “I am a driven and passionate person,” she acknowledges. And success for her has involved a combination of instinct and dedication—“going with my gut, going above and beyond for my client, and taking them out of their comfort zone.”
For inspiration, Megan looks to travel, art, and fabric. She’s also energized by her environment: “Newfoundland inspires me—the food, the entertainment, the landscape, everything.” Even her clients can be a source of inspiration and creativity: “When I meet people, I think about what colour they are, are they hard or soft, what is their personality . . . and normally I’m right.”
A commitment to marketing makes Sooley Designs stand out. Megan tries to post on Instagram every day, whether she’s cutting fabric, going to the gym, or leaving for a family holiday. And she’s not shy about asking other people to model. Megan ropes in family and friends, but she also finds people on the street; she’ll approach strangers at a dinner party and ask them to model. It takes someone who is comfortable in front of the camera, someone who will feel good in the clothes.
"Make sure you’re doing something you absolutely love, because it's a 24/7 job. It doesn't stop."
Megan’s advice for new entrepreneurs? “Make sure you’re doing something you absolutely love, because it’s a 24/7 job. It doesn’t stop.” Megan has heard plenty of advice since she started in business, and she recommends listening carefully. “Take it all in,” she says. In the end, though, when a decision needs to be made, she trusts her instincts.
Two big challenges are fabric and staff. Megan travels extensively to find the right piece of fabric: “Creatively, I’m obsessed with fabric. Absolutely, utterly over the top. Fabric gives me an outlet to create what I want.” And the people are as important as the raw material. She needs skilled workers who have a talent and a desire to succeed.
Megan’s greatest achievement, she says, is always the last dress she created. “Every creation I make is my greatest achievement to that point. I made a wedding dress that took—just hand sewing the appliqué on—took three of us seven days. I love it, that’s my last dress.”
What’s in the future for Sooley Designs? “I’m always pushing myself forward: something new, something different. I love bridal, it’s one of my favorite things, I love the whole fairy tale of it all.” It’s that ability to dream—along with a lot of hard work—that has propelled Megan Sooley into a successful business career.
Young Entrepreneur recognizes an entrepreneur 35 years of age or younger as of March 31, 2018, who has owned and operated a profitable business for at least two years. Sponsored by College of the North Atlantic