Sydney Vidito, 24, said the pandemic gave her more time to work on her creativity and grow a small business.
“I started just selling hats in my free time. But then once the pandemic hit, I had way more time on my hands.”
Vidito then created her small business called SV Designs. She’s sold hats, keychains and other resin-based items, but her focus has now shifted onto corsets.
She started by making a corset for herself this past summer. After seeing the end results, a friend of hers was eager to have one. When finishing her friends’, Vidito fell in love with making clothing. She decided to focus her time and business on corsets.
“Over the pandemic, I definitely started to explore a little bit more. I don’t think I would have gone this far out of my comfort zone if it wasn’t for all that spare time,” said Vidito.
The fourth-year psychology student at Memorial University of Newfoundland said she’s lived all over the Atlantic provinces since both parents worked in the military. Her family moved back to New Brunswick two years ago and she’s since lived on her own in Oromocto working part-time at the Junior Ranks Bar on the base.
She started selling her products last December, right before the pandemic started affecting lives in Canada.
Vidito said she made 10 corsets since she started her business. She charges $150 as a flat rate. Add-ons can be made to the corset such as specialty fabric for $20, up to $30 for removable sleeves, $15 for removable straps and $8 for a matching mask.
Tracy Austin, the coordinating instructor of the fashion department at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, said corsets were originally made to be able to hold up a ball gown in the early 1800s. Although corsets have been worn in ancient Egypt, they are better known in the early Victorian era. Women were seen more as an aesthetic, so corsets were made to sculpt the body and show a tight figure.
She said she feels these fashion trends are making a comeback because people are becoming more and more comfortable with society and the way they can express themselves.
“People are now looking at garments in a way that they are not disposable. You take care of these pieces and invest into them,” said Austin.
Austin said she thinks Vidito has a lot of potential with her business and enjoys seeing young people stepping out into the fashion world.
Corsets, said Vidito, can be made to fit different styles and shapes.
Vidito has been taking custom orders every two weeks in order to have plenty of time on each corset to fulfill the customer’s needs. She’s only recently started taking custom orders and has very much enjoyed the process.
Vidito said she starts her custom orders by sending customers a diagram of the measurements she needs. She then has her dress form ready and checks to see if any alterations will need to be made. Customers provide swatches of fabric or pictures of inspiration to give Vidito an idea of what they want. After returning from local fabric stores, she then consults with the customer the different types of fabric and ideas. Her customers are involved through her process from start to finish.
“The cool thing about custom orders is that the customer gets to feel like they are 100 per cent involved the whole way through,” she said.
To make things more sustainable, Vidito creates her corsets with detachable sleeves to offer more style preferences. This technique helps customers get more use and hold on to the garment for a longer period.
Although Vidito is new to the fashion industry, she’s enjoying her experience and the chances she is receiving to grow.
“I’m definitely still learning so it’s by no means perfect, but I’m hoping I can accommodate anyone’s body specifications,” she said.
Vidito said she enjoys the relationships she’s been able to engage in with each customer and the personalizations of each package. She feels that is the greatest thing about small businesses and hopes to never lose that close-knit relationship with customers.
“I want my customers to feel like they are getting a gift from a friend,” she said.
Vidito said she never wants to lose the personal connection with her customers and the intimacy that a small business holds.
“I’m definitely interested in just keeping down this road. I would definitely consider joining in and bringing more people in. But for right now I kind of like that I have all the control.”