By Edward Henderson
You can learn anything from YouTube these days. The information age has birthed digital savants worldwide without an ounce of formal training. Mesha Thomas, creator of Unique Boutique, learned how to sew and create her original African themed clothing online. She’s beginning to take her digital hustle to another level as the demand for her creations are increasing locally.
Born in San Diego and raised in City Heights, Thomas’ desire to learn how to sew started while she was on maternity leave in 2013. She wanted to make a pillow and blanket for her unborn son, so she took to the internet to learn how. After she completed those items, Thomas’ daughter asked her to make a tank top dress that she had seen online.
“Youtube was my best friend,” said Thomas. “I watched video after video and that’s how my daughter found the idea for her dress. She used her own clothes, traced the pattern, I sewed it.”
Thomas posted the completed dress on Facebook and it wasn’t long until people began asking for clothes of their own. A friend sent a picture of an African print shirt she saw online and wanted to have made, but Thomas was hesitant at first.
“I said no because I didn’t know if I could, but she wouldn’t let it go so I said yes. I found the Youtube video on how to make the skirt, I did, and everything started from there.”
Thomas sews everyday creating two or three dashiki print skirts a week, which have become popular requests of her business. If Thomas has the fabric she needs, it takes about 2 hours to make a skirt. If she need to order it, it takes 2 days to receive, then she makes it the next day.
“The people love the fact that they can come, get measured and get their skirt versus seeing it online. They get to see the material and pick out the material. Also they love the fact that I pick fabrics that aren’t the average print you see everybody else with.”
In the future, Thomas plans on taking classes and maybe going to fashion school to solidify her skills before eventually opening her own physical location. Having created dashikis and bow ties for men, she also plans on expanding her offerings in that department as well. Along with her success, Thomas has learned some vital lessons along the way that she would like to pass on to other entrepreneurs looking to get started.
“Family and friends are separate. Once you start a business of course your family and friends feel like you’re supposed to just give stuff away. You have to have the mindset and be strong in what you say. This is going to be business only.”
You can find more of Unique Boutique’s offerings on Instagram @nique.boutiquesd or contact Mesha on Facebook.