Fashion designer opens clothing store in Glade Springs – Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog)
GLADE SPRING, Va. â- Local entrepreneur Stephen Curd said hanging out the handmade sign on his new Glade Spring business was one of the best feelings heâs experienced.
âItâs been a crazy, beautiful journey and it just shows what hard work can do,â said Curd, who will open a clothing manufacturing business in downtown Glade Spring on April 1. Eventually, the business will create jobs for local residents.
Lavelle Manufacturing will make custom denim jeans and high-end clothing, leather goods, and handmade jewelry, all of which will be produced in the town. The business is an answer to a life-long dream for the designer, whose goal is to produce sustainable American-made products.
Curd plans to start manufacturing his line of apparel by mid-April, and filling orders heâs already received from clients throughout the U.S. He wants to market his clothing to retailers in the Tri-Cities region by this fall.
The Lavelle label is the sister child of Garic Stephens, a tailored-made menswear collection Curd started while living in Chicago. The designer, who relocated to Southwest Virginia two years ago, said Lavelle Manufacturing is about creating clothing that is made in the United States.
âItâs something that you can invest in that will last forever,â he said.
âThere needs to be a resurgence of local manufacturing in the Southeast and our plan is be a part of bringing American-made clothing back to this country, one jean or jacket at a time,â said Curd, who spent a year studying how to make a pair of jeans from a seamstress at a local manufacturing plant.
The business is located on Main Street in building space previously occupied by Glade Green Grocer. Curd remodeled the space to resemble a metropolitan marketplace.
Â âI wanted the store to have this New York vibe so we built walls, tables, ladders and shelving and have filled the store with ready-to-purchase goods and antique furniture that makes the store feel fresh and fun.â
Customers can make appointments Monday through Wednesday for consultations for custom clothing. The store will be open to the public on Thursday through Saturday.
âDuring the consultation, the customer and I will discuss what they are looking for and we will come up with a plan to design a piece made for them. This includes fittings, fabric choices and a finished product. I offer a one-on-one service to every client,â he said.
Quality fabrics for the store have been purchased from North Carolina, New York and during his trips to Italy and Barcelona, Spain.
âI have a whole section in the shop for clients to get fitted, try clothing on, and relax and chat about our creations. Itâs my own fashion oasis,â Curd said.
âMy main focus is creating pieces that are timeless, not faddish,â said Curd, who creates original designs, some are unisex and can be worn by both men and women.
His Lavelle denim line was launched with the idea of bringing custom denim to the masses.
âI know a lot of people have a hard time finding jeans that fit them. Now I have an alternative for them. I had a tough time finding clothes that fit me when I was growing up, so thatâs also inspired me to make clothing that is tailored to any shape and size,â he said.
For now, Curd will do the sewing, but his plan is to hire three to six seamstresses he will train to make many of the storeâs handmade products while he concentrates on working solely on the Garic Stephens label.
Curd said the start-up costs for the business include the investment of five industrial machines to make jeans.
âEach one performs a specific step in making each pair of jeans,â he said. âI also have five table machines for my custom pieces.â
The Lavelle label is named after Curdâs grandmother, Eva Lavelle Curd, who taught him to sew at an early age and supported his career as a fashion designer.
âShe wanted her grandchildren to know the basics of sewing on a button or darning a sock. She is the reason I am a designer, and the person I am today,â Curd said. Â âThe Lavelle label is my tribute to her, a beautiful soul and one of my best friends.â
Glade Spring Vice Mayor Jerry Coleman said he believes the new business is the next step in regaining momentum after the closings of some businesses in town. He said it will generate tax revenue and provide jobs during a challenging time.
Nancy Williams, who serves on the townâs Economic Development Management Team, said Curd has had fashion shows in New York, Chicago, California, Nashville and Asheville. She said she believes the business will attract customers specifically seeking his line of clothing to Glade Spring.
âIâm so glad we have a space here in Glade Spring to attract a young entrepreneur in the fashion industry because Glade Spring is so far removed from the fashion industry,â Williams said. âIf Stephen can make a name for the town in the fashion industry, it would be a star in our crown.â
During the grand opening, customers will receive a 10 percent discount off merchandise in the store, and custom-made jeans will be reduced from $168 to $140.
Appointments for consultations can be made by contacting Curd at (276) 608-5594.