Designer & Instructor Lenese Calleea Says “Your Network is your Networth, and I Have a Huge One!

You are AMAZING at what you do!!!! Please tell us a little bit about your life and when you first developed the passion for sewing?

I developed a passion for sewing at a very young age. My grandmother talk me how to sew when I was a 6. I developed the love for creating things at that point and I started my entrepreneur journey as a pillow maker lol. I made a killing in junior high during mothers day and fathers day. 

When did you develop the skills and passion for fashion? Tell us more about what you do now in general.

The passion was always there. I developed the skill during my undergrad. I attended Columbia College Chicago for fashion design. I initially wanted to just be a designer with a big name brand. That dream is still alive but I have found more passion in education and helping others get to their dreams. I have 3 businesses that contribute to this goal. LC Apparel consulting, the BlackNFashion Podcast and the Black Girls Designer Club Nonprofit. The companies were birthed as a resource for emerging fashion designers & creators in order to expand product-development and production for people of color. This goal is achieved via a blend of consult services & educational offerings. LC Apparel Consulting takes joy in educating clients, thereby empowering them to bring their Fashion Dreams to LIFE. In addition to product development, we offer production services, courses, mentorship, workshops and garment district tours and resources.

What would you say you enjoy most about specifically being a woman of color in the fashion arts industry?

To be transparent. What I enjoy the most is the other 200+ black women I have assisted in their journey into the fashion industry. There is no unity without community. 

What are some of the lessons you learned in taking your craft to pro status as a business?

I have learned to set boundaries, learn from my mistakes, stay focused and positive even through the tough times. I have learned to stand my ground and be confident.

Did you have any mentors or colleages that you looked to for advice along the way? Please share!

Everything I know, I learned from one of my college professors Lisa Newell and my first fashion industry job with Mark Baker. He is the owner of Truth of Touch outwear and accessories. I didn’t have may black teachers or employers during my college years or career. Lisa taught me the business and Mark gave me the practical experience. I owe the both of them a lot for their support over the years.

When did you know you wanted to teach and pour into other seamstresses and designers?

I knew I wanted to be a teacher very young because I value education. I would say the interest was there in high school but knew for sure in college. Excuse my french but I had some real shitty professors outside of Lisa. I didn’t feel that the educators really cared about the growth and learning of all of their students.

Teaching is a passion, not something you fall into because your fashion design career didn’t take off.

Lenese Calleea

When speaking of designers, how can they benefit from connecting with you?

Designers can benefit from connecting with me because I am the plug! LOL seriously! I am. I’m full of knowledge, resources and technical skills in the fashion business. I can teach you, coach you and create any garment you put in front of me. I can teach how to 360 your business and be profitable! Your network is your net worth and I have a huge one.

What are some of your favorite things to create and what do you enjoy most about them?

I love to create accessories, outwear and jumpsuits. I’m a simple girl but I love quality, color and functionality.

Are there any myths about sewing that you’d like to take the time to clear up here, on W2WT?

Myth 1: You don’t need a tech pack for product development! You need the tech pack when it is time for production. 

Myth 2: Never purchase fabric until after grading so you know the amount of yardage that goes into each size. 

Please leave us with a story about a time when you wanted to give up, but didn’t. – Also please share any upcoming announcements you may have and let us know how we can connect with and support you!

There are often times when I want to give up. I suffer from these thoughts daily.

Entrepreneurship is not easy and some times things completely fall apart. You can expect the first few years of business to have ups and downs and to face challenges and obstacles, but being a business owner is about taking risks. I have got to a place where I’m facing eviction from my home and thousands of dollars in debt, that I thought I would never be able to get ahead of.

I have been lied to, deceived and manipulating by people that I trusted. I relied and rely on the power of God to keep me moving forward and keeping the faith. If he brings you to it, he will bring you through it.

Look out for LC Apparel adding Shoes and Jewelry to our categories of service for product development and production.

Join me in LA for the Fashionpreneur Experience July 28th and 29th for an interactive fashion experience.

IG: @LC_ApparelConsulting

      @BlackNFashion Podcast