By Edward Henderson
It takes a certain amount of swagger to pull off wearing a bow tie. People who wear them are making a statement of individuality and flair with their fashion choice, often choosing loud colors and patterns to make their presence known even more. Bow tie enthusiasts can take even more pride in their bow ties when they know the stories behind their creators. Gloria Pettis pours more than every inch of creative ability she has into the bow ties she creates. The ‘Grammy’s Work’ owner is fueled by a past of struggle and overcoming odds to make a name for herself in her passion for fashion.
Pettis was born and raised in Mississippi until she ran away from home as a teenager.
“I wanted better things for myself and my daughter,” said Pettis. “I was pregnant at 16. It was always my dream to come [to California] since I was a little kid. It wasn’t easy but I fought it out.”
Pettis eventually made her way out to the Bay Area. The young mother didn’t have extended family in the area, so she spent time homeless on the street. Determined to succeed, Pettis enrolled in college often taking her one year old daughter to class because she couldn’t find a babysitter. After graduating, she got a job with the federal government as a budget analyst.
“I didn’t give up. I could keep moving forward or stay with the homeless. I decided to keep pushing.”
San Diego became Pettis’ new home after marrying her husband who was a marine who was stationed here. Her journey towards independence continued in 2000 when she purchased a home on her own after their divorce. After 36 years of working for the federal government, Pettis was looking for a change of pace.
“My Granddaughter had on a bow and I thought I could make that so I started making girls bows. Then I thought I could do males as well and noticed they were selling faster. Now I focus on the male bow tie.”
As demand for her bow ties grew, Pettis decided to turn it into a full time business. The name ‘Grammy’s Work’ was recommended by her Granddaughter and has stuck ever since.
Pettis learned how to sew in her home economics class in high school and picked up the craft again a few years back. The process to create a bow tie takes about 30 minutes. After buying fabric, Pettis makes it stiffer and sews it in sewing machine. The last step is to do hand stiches for the strap. To make her bow ties stand out, Pettis uses fabric with bright and unique patters. She understands the clientele she’s targeting have a different taste when it comes to their fashion choices.
“They’re outside of the box. Everyone else is wearing ties, so if they’re wearing a bow tie they’re smart. People who are creating stuff that isn’t created yet.”
Pettis’ bow ties will be a featured vendor at the Harvest Festival Original Art and Craft Show in Del Mar October 21-23. Her booth will be aptly located in the “Rising Star” section. She will bring 300 male bow ties, 60 female bow ties and 12 baby bows.
“I always go and I notice there are no AA vendors there. It’s a lot of work behind the scenes, but it’s worth it. I’m just going to go for it and see how it’s going to work out.”
To check out ‘Grammy’s Work’ visit her Etsy site: www.etsy.com/shop/GrammysWork