Here's how it started (if you don't want the full, AMAZING story)
I am Shelby, owner and designer behind SHE WHO IS. I launched my brand in the Spring of 2019 with the goal to empower women through what they wear. I have always wanted to design clothing, but it took me a long time and a lot of trial and error to realize how I wanted to use my talent for God. Through every trial and every downfall, God showed me along the way. I hope you continue to scroll down and see just exactly the amazing ways He did that. If not, have fun shopping!
Okay story people...
As you probably read above, I launched my brand in the Spring of 2019 with the goal to empower women through what they wear. The best outfit you can put on is one that makes you feel fantastic! I fully believe in this and believe that clothing should be an outward expression of your inner self.
Let me not get ahead of myself though, I want to go back to the beginning and explain why this brand is important to me and why I hope that it can become important to you.
Ever since I was able to hold a pencil, I have been drawing clothes. It was never a question of what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a designer. When I graduated high school, I enrolled in the fashion design program at Missouri State University and was set on designing Bridal Gowns. I did everything to work towards that goal. I interned for wedding gown designer, Hayley Paige, and did FOUR other internships in addition to that one. I decided that I was going to make it, even after being told that it would never happen. For senior thesis, we were required to design and make five full outfits and have at least three be approved by a jury to go on to show. I created six and showed six approved Bridal Gowns. When I tell you my mind was made up, I mean it. I knew that the wedding industry is where I wanted to be. But I was pursuing two degrees, and though I had completed my design degree, I still had a year left for my merchandising degree. So what pulled me away from what I fully believed I was meant to do?
One night in my last year at Missouri State, I was at a worship service, listening to the music and to the people singing. I noticed one of the women on stage had a voice that was truly moving. I thought, "wow, I wish I had a talent that could draw people closer to God. I'm not a great speaker, I don't have a perfect story or testimony to share, I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but I wish I had a gift that enabled people to see God working in me". And as I stood there focused on myself when I shouldn't have been, feeling like I had nothing to offer, I felt God telling me, "I have given you talent and you can use it for me". I thought about that for a second and let my mind focus back on God but kept hearing "Proverbs 31, Proverbs 31". Though I have gone to church my whole life and study the Bible regularly on my own, to be honest, I couldn't tell you off the top of my head what Proverbs 31 was. I got out my Bible right there and looked it up, to see a passage I had read many times before and had forgotten about: the story of the Virtuous Woman. I knew right when I saw those words in a new light that I needed to use the talents I was given for the right reasons.
That night, I went home and applied to show at Kansas City Fashion Week that Spring. I had no sketches, no concrete ideas, I just knew that I was going to create clothing for Him. I knew of the Christian female empowerment clothing I had seen before, and I knew I wanted to create something that someone like me wanted to wear. I had just barely made the application deadline to apply, and spent all my spare time sketching for what would be my first twelve outfit collection. My application got approved, and I went to Kansas City to interview. Before I knew it, I was a designer for KCFW. The feedback and interest I got from my collection after my looks walked the runway was more than I ever anticipated. I was so excited the reactions my collection, "Chapter 31", was getting.
My brand had gained a lot of industry attention, and I got an invite to show with a production company at New York Fashion Week for Fall 2019. I jumped at the opportunity and showed ten looks at fall KCFW and six at NYFW. I showed more looks inspired by Proverbs 31. And then people wanted to buy my clothing. A boutique owner inquired how she can carry "Chapter 31" in her store. I had orders coming in that I didn't know how to fill and didn't have the funds to invest in manufacturing. Yikes. It felt like a mountain I would have to climb and I got scared. So I thought maybe I should just use my collection and runway experience and think about the wedding industry again. I felt like I was running back to the safety of what I knew how to do. I didn't know how to manufacture clothes or produce at bulk. I didn't know how to start my own business. But I knew I could get a job at a company. Safety.
Two months before graduating, (shortly before my fall 2019 collections showed) I had a very promising interview lined up with one of the largest Bridal Companies in the wedding industry. I had two very successful interviews and a trial day in the time that passed from then until my graduation date. Shortly after graduating, though I thought the job was about to be mine, I found out I didn't get the job. I got the call that I didn't get it the day after I met who is now my husband, Michael (another crazy detail!). My Michael, though we had just met said, "Shelby, God is closing that door for a reason. Just wait".
That is when I knew, I am supposed to use my talent for him. So I dove in, doing research, finding out how to create clothes people feel inspired by and how to actually get it to them. And now we are here, a full clothing brand, SHE WHO IS. All because I had been told I wouldn't be successful, and because I was feeling like SHE WHO IS NOT talented, SHE WHO WOULD NOT make a difference. I don't want any woman who wears my clothing to feel that way. I want anyone who wears SHE WHO IS to know that her clothing has purpose and that she is someone WHO IS loved by God, WHO WILL not fail, and WHO IS created for a purpose. I know that is a long, long story. But it is important. Because every step of the road here was nothing BUT GOD.