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Meet Mandy Seal of Monster Under Your Bed Clothing in East LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mandy Seal.

Mandy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As a young kid, maybe 7 or so, my mom would take my siblings and I to goodwill. We’d find a lot of cool clothing-lots of retro styles even for us kiddos. I’d always look at the styles and I’d admire the differences in the modern and vintage styles. When we’d get home, I’d be thinking about some of the clothing I had come across and wanted to spruce up my plain t-shirts to look differently than your run of the mill tees. My grandma taught me how to thread a needle, so I had that part down. I remember taking craft feathers and sewing them onto one of my plain red shirts. It wasn’t much to anyone else’s eye, but I got such a kick out of that yellow feather with its red backdrop, and the fact that I did that – it was my idea, and design & I never wanted to lose that moment.

Years passed and I did little things such as the “feather shirt” here and there and even took a short sewing class in middle school where I was introduced to the electrical sewing machine (what a game changer). My family was a lower middle class, and we didn’t have funds to put forth on bold gifts and random objects, so I never was able to get my own sewing machine until I was about 20 and had given birth to my son the previous year. I needed a hobby, and after a long battle with anxiety and depression, a light clicked. One day I realized I had had a passion once: sewing.

So I took to the mighty eBay and ordered myself a $50 sewing machine. After a few days it came in, and I spent the next few days relearning the techniques I once was taught ages ago. I tried out every stitch the machine offered to get a feel again. It didn’t take long to click. I’m stubborn and didn’t want to use any patterns or watch YouTube videos, so I totally learned the long and hard way. It’s just something I’m about – knowing I taught myself without any help and being somewhat of an “anarchist” seamstress totally sails my ship, haha! No rules, No musts written in stone. I freehand my work, and every piece is 100% one of a kind and made to order. I’m a visual learner, so this process just works for me.

It’s been a steady gig for the past 6.5 years, and I still learn so much every day. Some choose to make aprons, some make baby clothes, as for me I don’t want to be pushed into a generalization of branding or themes. I make it all. I want to be that one go-to girl for your every idea. And in the future I hope to never turn down anyone for the reasoning that I do not know how to do a certain style or technique – I want to be the one who can help actualize your visions & make your dreams into reality. 🙂

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I spent a large portion of my mid-teens to adulthood with a severe anxiety disorder. I feel these years could have been super beneficial for me to start this journey earlier. I don’t look back there, though. It’s gone, and I’m moving forward to further my dreams and career.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Monster Under Your Bed Clothing – what should we know?
I am super proud of myself for being an anarchist seamstress. Yeah, maybe it’s beneficial to have these “rules and regulations” in sewing, but not following a book and having a feel for my own needs and preferences in this work is super amazing. I’ll always have my own way about things; no general stencil anyone can buy or special terms for things. I’m working in Mandyland and I am my own boss.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Kindness. I attend a lot of events where I sell my work. I meet many amazing artists and creators, and I’ll tell you there are some jerks. I just have this thing where even if you are an amazing and talented artist; if you show disrespect or belittlement (is the a word?) to your fans, you lose all my respect. Society will make you or break you. Treat those who respect your game with the same respect back.

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