I'm the biggest procrastinator when it comes to writing and it doesn't help that it's daunting to pen the first blog post. I could introduce the idea behind PILLOWBOOK or brag about our exposure (really, not much to brag about...) or even better, whisper what's coming up in the near future.
Rather, I feel there is recognition past due and she deserves the first spotlight: First couturier at PILLOWBOOK, 尹晓凤 pronounced Yin Xiao Feng and loosely translated, presumably, Phoenix at Dawn.
I remember interviewing her in the showroom which then, was still cluttered with my private life as it was recently converted from being a sampling room and even earlier, my living room (Oh, the frugal beginnings!) She left her previous job when it evolved into an assembly line- something she hates. She saw my samples, touched everything as her eyes widen like a girl in a candy castle and squealed, "Wah! This is difficult and I never sewn something like this before but I love working with silk. I will try my best."
This was 2 years ago and since, we grew fond of each other. She taught me sewing tricks while I trained her to scrutinize the little details, easily overlooked. She taught me Chinese, and I, English to her. The first phrase I taught her was "Yes, I can do it !" because she was filled with doubts. After many months of patience and determination of intensive training, I now trust her to sew alone in the studio when I'm away because she knows I'm annoyingly fussy about quality.
Factory seamstresses in China work minimum 10 hours a day, rests 2 days in a month (REPEAT: Off 2 days per month!) so always wanting to defy the stereotypes of "Made in China," I simply gave her the weekend off. It's a very basic necessity that we all take for granted actually but to Ms.Yin, the days off meant time to sew other things for herself such as qipao (aka cheongsam) because, well, she just loves to sew. What started as a weekend hobby has now bloomed into a string of clientele who commission her to. She never did it behind my back and in fact knowing that most companies will see this as a threat. I always encouraged and supported her passion because well, why not?
Earlier this month, she gave her resignation because she is starting a business in 2016. This will end and start a chapter.
Nothing feels better than to see someone grow and it's exciting to see woman being empowered to face the unknown and I very much look forward to seeing her succeed. That day she turned in her resignation, she was filled with doubt and fear and so I reminded her "Yes, I can do it!" and taught her another phrase: "Yes, I will be rich!"
Every piece created in the studio until end of January will be sewn and signed off by her and whoever is the lucky patron of these items, will see, in person, the exquisite craftsmanship and love she stitches into the PILLOWBOOK treasures. Even though she will never know, I will miss her, very dearly.
It feels comforting to know the hands behind every piece in PILLOWBOOK. Each stitch, each sweat, one story.
Couturier "Phoenix at Dawn" and me <3