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Spotlight on Top Business Owners in
Apparel, Grooming & Beauty

 

Modique Couture

Name: Eris Swanstrom

Location: Raleigh, NC 

Type of Business:
Handmade Slow Fashion, Alternative Knitwear, Sustainable Clothing


What does your business do?
Modique Couture creates knit fabric on obsolete, manually-operated, vintage looms called “knitting machines.” The knit fabric is shaped into garments on the loom with no cutting, and is finished by hand. Sustainable, luxury fiber is sourced locally, from across the U.S., and from Canada; almost all of it is hand- dyed in collaboration with DebbieDuckYarns in Fuquay-Varina, NC. Eris Swanstrom creates these garments using stream-of-consciousness design, producing one-of-a-kind embellishments for your personality.

When and why did you start the biz?
I have been traditionally knitting and crocheting for 28 years and grew tired of the results and the inability to bring handmade knitwear to market at a reasonable price. In 2014, I stumbled upon a manually-operated, vintage loom that allowed one to make knit fabric at a significantly faster pace than hand-knitting, while yet remaining slow- fashion and handmade. I discovered these looms were made for only about 50 years and so I began researching and collecting them, both in need of repair and in working condition. The looms are very difficult to use, but produce incredible fabric that can be shaped at the same time the fabric is being made. It took a year to repair and learn how to use the looms, and then took me another year to learn how to make clothing on the looms. By 2016, I had begun to develop my own style of clothing and had started doing pop-up markets, all to great success. I have since developed several styles of clothing, all one-of-a-kind pieces, and made the decision to consciously source sustainable fiber and have it locally dyed to my specifications. I now source all my fiber in the U.S. and Canada and have it dyed by a small, independent hand-dyer in Fuquay- Varina, NC. I am still doing pop-up markets, and seeking independent boutiques to carry my clothing. I would like to open a storefront in the near future, where I can host my workshop and give tours and demonstrations, offer my clothing for purchase, and educate my community about slow, sustainable fashion.

How Many People are in your Company?
1

Where's your office?
My studio is currently in a 500sqft sunroom off the back of my house! I have 4 looms currently in production that age in range from 1966-1988.

What's the toughest part of running your biz?
The toughest part is finding the right audience for my price point, honestly. While my knitwear is certainly affordable compared to hand-knitwear, it's still pretty high.

What's the most fun part?
The most fun part is getting a new shipment of yarn from my dyer and sitting down to start drawing ideas of what to do with it! That's how the process begins. But really, I love every step of the process.

Anything you would have done differently?
I would have found better photography and created lookbooks for each year. Plans.

What's next on the horizon for your biz?
A storefront with an open workshop!

What advice do you have for others?
Do pop-up markets! It's low commitment, low cost, and is a great way to get positive reinforcement, network, and sell your art.

How do you use Idea Cafe to help your biz?
I'm excited to see what I can learn from all the resources! And I'm definitely looking for grants, so it's been super helpful there. Also, filling out this profile has helped me put some important things into words, which I kept to use again!

School (where, still in school, degree)?
Dropped out of college :/

Prior jobs or business?
Graphic designer

Favorite Food?
fruit with my shoes off!

What are your pets' names?
Luker, India, Frinquls

Do any of these pets help with your biz?
Luker is quality control, India is a model and muse, and Frinquls is the manager.

Is there any one person or event in your life that led you to go into business for yourself?
I was inspired by my boyfriend's endeavor to live as an artist, and thought, damn, I could do that too!

Anyone you publicly want to thank?
Jon Pitts and Angie Bagley! Much inspiration and support!

Contact Info:
Eris Swanstrom
625 Penncross Dr
Raleigh, NC 27610
9196969314
eris@modiquecouture.com

Website:
http://www.modiquecouture.com


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