We left off with me as a stay-at-home mum with the girls who were now tweens, frustrated that finding age appropriate clothes for teen girls was as scarce as hen's teeth, but it was not for want of trying. (If you've just joined us now, you can catch the beginning of my story here.)
There was a gap in the market. I could hear rumblings all around me from frustrated mums and dads who couldn't find clothes for their teenage daughters, and who were especially concerned about the shorts that were cheeky short. Styles were too babyish or grown up and sizes were way off target. There were logos of everything from unicorns through to tigers...and their daughters didn't like any of those creatures. All they wanted was good quality basics for their teenage girls.
So I started researching and surveying teens. I looked for fabrics and manufacturers and I pulled in the expertise of my mum who had worked for many years in the fashion industry.
As I began putting my design ideas onto paper, I was reminded of the times when as a young teenage girl myself, I'd often tell mum about different clothing designs I had in my head. She would get me to put everything down on paper. I'd draw my design and explain the details to her - how I wanted it to sit like this at the hip or wanted the sleeves to be this shape and the hemline to end there. And mum, the clever, resourceful woman that she is, would whip my creation together and I would often wake up to find my drawing turn into a real outfit.
How ironic that decades later, I am still drawing designs that are in my head, and that some talented people that I am working with, then put it all together.
The designs are simple because that is what many teenage girls are looking for. Simple yet beautiful clothes to wear on the weekend, whether they are off bushwalking or to catch a movie with their friends. Clothes that exude comfort both in fabrics and style.
And so maybe it was meant to be after all, that my path wasn't to be an architect of buildings, but rather an architect of clothes for teenage girls. An architect that has had the experience of working with children, being creative, managing projects and owning a business.
As a designer, if my clothes can help a teen girl feel good about herself, boosting her confidence and self-esteem, rather than worrying about whether or not she looks good for her friends (or frenemies), then my dream job of being an 'architect' truly was worth the journey in getting there.