“I had recently been in Los Angeles, and was feeling particularly insecure in a super-hip boutique full of ultra glamorous hollywood types, when a gal commented on how much she liked a top I was wearing. It happened to be one I had designed and made for myself, so with that mini ego boost at just the right time in my life, I decided my sewing skills would be the ones to propel me into the making something of myself. I started out doing custom bridesmaid dresses, but one thing led to another, and Happy Yellow Dress was born. Almost 6 years later, and Happy Yellow Dress is still alive and kicking!” As explained by Debbie Murray – founder of Happy Yellow Dress – who we had the pleasure of interviewing to hear more about her story!
Personal – About You
Where were your born and raised, and how did it shape you?
I was born in Victoria BC. My earliest memories were playing in Beacon Hill Park. I always loved all the pretty flowers/gardens, and the old world charm of Victoria. Grew up mid Island in Courtenay BC. It was verrrrrry small, and I couldn’t wait to get out and see the world. Lots of escapism in books, would eventually lead to world travel!
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
A detective… still want to be 🙂
What traits are you most proud of?
My intelligence, loyalty, integrity, and my silly weirdo personality
Name a woman whom you admire and explain why.
Malala Yousafzai. Even at such a young age she stood up to the scariest people imaginable. She is so courageous and went through something very few would ever live to tell about, and is using that horrendous experience to do so much good for the world.
If you were given 5 more hours in a day what would you do with them?
Try and stay off my phone 🙂 Probably lots and lots of wandering and adventuring with my husband.
Design – About Your Collection
At what point in your life did you find an interest in fashion design?
I first started sewing at age 7. Mostly doll clothes. As I got older it was hard to find clothes that fit my awkward gangly teen body at the time, so I would sketch and then sew my own clothes.
Who or what inspires you in design?
Alfred Hitchcck/Edith Head. I used to love watching those old movies, and looking at all the pretty clothes the leading ladies wore back then.
How do you want women to feel wearing your latest collection?
Very feminine and classicly pretty, without feeling like they’re wearing a costume.
How would you describe your brand to those who are being introduced to it for the first time?
Happy colourful feminine clothes that set you a notch above the rest 😉
When you hit a creative rut, what do you do to get out of it?
Watch some good old classic movies!
Business – About Life as an Entrepreneur
What was the best business advice you were given when you were starting out?
Not to listen to business advice unless it’s from someone with a successful business 😉
What does success mean to you?
Being able to work for yourself. Even if it’s not making you rich, having the freedom to do your own thang and be happy doing it is the greatest success I can imagine.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in running your own business?
How to ignore fear and not let “what ifs” dictate your decisions.
What is your favorite thing to come home to after a long day at work?
A precious cup of teeeea… and my husband… mostly my husband… mmmbut also the tea…
What has been your most useful tool in business?
The thick skin I grew by being one of 10 siblings. It has given me the will to carry on after a million “NOs”, and the strength to not allow myself to be taken advantage of.