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Custom sewing business has larger ideas

Cynthia Willoughby

By Marcus Wright

Cynthia Willoughby founded Jasper Custom Sewing in 1995. Willoughby said she really likes sewing and needed to do something relaxing. “I was trying to quit smoking and sewing helped, although I didn’t quit (smoking) until 2003,” Willoughby said.

Jasper Custom Sewing produces custom designed clothing made from original fabric including mud cloth. “I design and produce the items at home and sell them at the Russell Bazaar,” Willoughby said.

Jasper Custom Sewing sells baby carriers, market bags, wrist bags, quilts and throws. Throws are two pieces of material cut from the same cloth measuring a square yard. The ends of the two pieces are cut and tied together. Willoughby said throws are one of her bestsellers as are mud cloth bags.

“I like sewing,” Willoughby said. “I’m working on developing a product line so I don’t produce a hodgepodge of things selling all over the place.”

Willoughby has two employees, a student and a former co-worker. She also has a partner, Lavonne Boyd who owns Boydee Girls Strings & Things. Boyd crochets caps and other items, and she also holds children beading classes. (More detailed story on Boydee Girls String & Things next week).

Willoughby said she is working to develop a program to teach marketable skills to returning citizens. “I haven’t fully developed the idea or laid it out as a business plan,” Willoughby said. “I [will] retire from the State in several years and when I do I can devote more time to my business and my plan.”

Jasper Custom Sewing is located at 1600 Clay #309. For more information call 313.366.5722

Photo Courtesy of Marcus Wright


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