Today we’d like to introduce you to Ed Concepcion.
Ed, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Soon after the economic collapse of 2008, I had to find a job, or even a new job skill just to survive. So a friend of mine gave me a crash course in sewing, and that all night lesson was the start of a new career as a Women’s and Men’s Resort Wear Designer.
I continued learning from friends and on YouTube because I didn’t have enough money to attend design school or a trade school. I never had more than a couple hundred dollars in my bank account and I was two mos behind on rent. But things started to look as I started sewing maxi dresses and wrap dresses. You can preview my current design on www.edconcepcion.etsy.com and on Instagram: @shopconcepcion. I started selling at Farmers Markets at first, then progressed to Art and Wine Festivals, then ten years later to stores…
Now it’s 2020, and we’re once again in another worldwide economic collapse. But I still remembered where I began and the problems that COVID19 would ensue, so I started producing safety masks with two other designers from San Francisco. Our mission was to supply face masks FREE OF CHARGE for the frontline responders including hospital clerical workers, doctors and nurses.
Donations came rolling in once I posted on Facebook and on Instagram. Then Heather Lake, a news reporter FOX News San Diego helped us spread the word and more fabric and financial donations came rolling in. We supply 4 Kaiser Hospitals and clinics in San Diego, one pharmacy, the BEVERLY Hospital in Montebello, and four other hospitals in New York including Elmhurst Hospital, the New York Hospital in Queens at the center of the epidemic.
We are still making masks for the hospitals but have added Senior Centers and Farmers Markets. We hope the economy gets back up soon but in the meantime, we will rely on our donors to keep our mission going of providing FREE masks to our doctors and nurses.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The first five years were a serious struggle because not only did I not go to design school, but I was competing with other designs that had. I didn’t understand mass production, pattern making of wholesale distribution, but with the lack of funds and knowledge I had to start small and smart.
The years selling at Farmer’s markets were pivotal. I was selling between $400-$600 a day 4x a week, learning the craft and meeting customers that would end up becoming long time customers to this day. In 2014, business started looking up and I started selling at Festivals that brought in $3k a weekend and in 2018, I started whole selling to stores.
Now, I’m not saying I’ve made it, the business is still a learning experience, but the opportunity this job has afforded me is the ability to give back to the community. And that’s what I plan to do when, where or what the next epidemic or financial or economic collapse will be.
Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
My company is special to me because I still run it out of my Downtown Los Angeles apartment. Some production is outsourced but mainly done in house.
I specialize in women’s resort wear, meaning maxi dresses, wrap dresses, bikini cover ups and caftans. Our best sellers are our Multicolor printed halter dresses and wrap dresses. These two staples is what started the business and still maintains a majority of the sales. Being a Resort Wear Designer is a unique niche in fashion because there are no rules in regards to color, or cuts. My imagination, and ability to pick patterns is my driving force. Color and prints can be scary for some, but within the right context, people are willing to take the risk.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
In my business, the two people that helped me start out were my two sewing teachers: Mod Khamhanphol and Marina Kudrusky. They taught me how to stitch a straight line and become detailed… then the support of returning customers is another layer of the overall foundation of the business.
If you’re speaking about our mask making business that started in March 2020, my two sewing partners that deserve huge accolades would be Angela Flaviani (Leather Accessories Designer) from San Francisco and Victoria Dg Af. With their help, we managed to produce between 150-400 masks a week for doctors and nurses.
- Prices will vary from $65-$150
- Website: www.edconcepcion.etsy.com
- Phone: 3106636384
- Email: email@example.com