RED WING -- Sheena Whitlock owns her own business, Cruz, which sells clothes for newborns to 12-year-old children.
Whitlock only began sewing in 2012, about five years after moving to Red Wing with her husband. While at a craft night held by her church, Whitlock saw other people sewing and she became interested.
“I started looking for a starter sewing machine and tutorials online. YouTube and Facebook groups really helped me out. I never had any formal lessons,” Whitlock explained.
As she learned to sew, Whitlock began making clothes for her four daughters and would post photos of the outfits and her daughters wearing them on social media.
“Friends and family started to notice and urged me to start a business so they could purchase one of my creations,” Whitlock said. So, she did.
Whitlock created a page on Etsy (a website that allows people to create stores through the website so that they can sell items that they make) and, after some thought, decided to name her new business “Cruz.”
“Cruz is my maiden name and when I started thinking about opening my Etsy shop, I wanted it to really mean something to me. For me, it represents who I am. I am an island girl from Guam with no family nearby, my grandmother had passed away while I was here and I was really devastated by her death. Therefore, the orchid flowers in my logo are for her because she loved having orchids all around her house.”
Customers are able to customize orders by choosing what size, pattern, colors, etc. that they want for the end product.
While each order that Whitlock receives through her Etsy store is unique, there is a common process that she follows to create the ordered items and send it to the customer. People choose their style, size and message her for any changes or requests.
"From there I would prewash my fabric, iron, cut pieces, sew, serge, iron some more, add finishing touches then package it in my cute little boxes with a personal note to ship.”
Whatever Whitlock is doing, it seems to be working.
Twenty-nine people have left reviews on Whitlock’s Etsy page. The lowest rating that she has received is four out of five stars. One of the most common things that people say in the review is the quality of Whitlock’s work.
Whitlock explained that she makes sure that everything is perfect before she sends the clothes out.
“Quality over quantity is what sets me apart from most. I want people to truly love my creations when they receive it and I also pride myself on the durability of my dresses,” the seamstress told the Eagle.
Currently, Whitlock has a few pieces in the Red Wing Artisan Collective and at Tootsie Too’s Boutique. She has also made a couple of pieces for Minnesota children. But the majority of her business comes from outside of the state. Clothes are frequently ordered by individuals living in California and Whitlock has received orders from as far as Australia.