Handcrafted Clothing Designed for Little Divas
Welcome! My name is Julie Derby and I am the co-founder (along with my mom) of Derby Divas Boutique. I would like to share with you my journey from lobbying Capitol Hill to designing and creating Derby Divas. I am the sole parent to three beautiful children who are my reason for breathing. About 8 years ago my life changed dramatically and I left my career to stay home and care for my disabled child. This is my story...
My son Brady was diagnosed with a severe form of autism and a cranial defect when he was three years old. I had known that he was "different"from the time he was an infant but I was terrified to acknowledge it. In what now seems like a flash, my entire world was turned upside down. The doctors told me that Brady would probably never speak, that he may be in diapers forever, and that he would never be able to live on his own. In a way, this meant that I too would never live on my own again. While I watched the future of my career in government and politics fade away before my eyes, I struggled not to lose myself completely in the heartbreak and depression that was filling the space all around me. All that I really knew at the time was that my son needed full-time care and that I wanted to be the one providing it.
Desperately searching for a way to support my family, I dipped my toes in several home based businesses that eventually led me to my true passion. I began with an Ebay business where I would sell items that I purchased at thrift stores for a small profit online. I liked it, but I didn't love it. By this time my children and I were now occupying the lower level of my parents home and space was tight. Year after year my sales continued to drop and I decided that it was time to try something new. Next, I opened an Etsy shop and listed hand knitted hats along with jewelry that I had made from vintage buttons. Six months went by and I was yet to make a sale. I really enjoyed the crafting and I was determined to stick with it. I learned about a craft show that was going to be at the convention
center near my home. I applied to be a vendor. It was terrifying and I was sick to my stomach the day that I paid the $350 for the booth space. Although I had applied to be a "jewelry" vendor, all of the spots for that category had already been filled. The show director agreed to let me participate if I could dedicate half of my booth to something other than jewelry. Since my daughter had been born I had taken up sewing again and had created some cute reversible dresses for her. I wanted to do the craft show, so I made about 18 dresses and agreed to put them up for sale in my booth.
My mom and I set up our first craft show in April of 2017. Our booth was about 75% jewelry and one small rack of dresses. These were the earliest versions of my dresses, they were much more plain and were either not embroidered or had a simple embroidery design on one side. Although we only sold a few pieces of jewelry, much to our surprise we sold more than half of the dresses. It wasn't a huge win, but we made enough to apply for another show. By the time we finished our second show we knew that it was time to move on from the jewelry. The dresses had literally stolen the show at each event. We did a total of 6 craft shows in 2017 and each was better than the last. My collection of dresses has evolved and grown significantly in the past year and we have been accepted into much bigger and better shows for 2018.
This venture has allowed me to have a creative outlet, to be able to have something positive in my life, and most importantly I can show my daughter that a woman really can do it all! To my amazing customers and admirers, I appreciate every word of kindness and encouragement that you have given me! To my Mom, my partner in crime, thank you for EVERYTHING, and for never giving up on me. I'm so excited to see where the next steps take us!
Thank you for reading my story and for visiting our online store. And as always, Thank You for Having Great Taste!!