Deidre Lozier is the founder and creative director of Mountain Honey Clothier, based in Rutland. Founding the company in 2013 after she began making clothing for her own children, Lozier sews love into every design. Here she discusses more details and the philosophy behind her business.
What is the nature of your business?
I make hand-crafted, heirloom children’s clothing, toys and accessories. My star item is the Signature Bonnet, featuring removable, interchangeable animal ears.
What was the inspiration behind creating your business?
The company began as a side job when I was getting my degree in biology. My mother taught me to sew as a young child, and I always enjoyed helping to make my own Halloween costumes, little toys, and holiday decorations. My mother made the most beautiful dresses for my sister and me as kids. I remember her taking me to a market with her one year where she sold these adorable handmade dolls. When I had my own children I was inspired to begin sewing again. I started off by creating clothing, Halloween costumes, and blankets for them. I taught myself to make my own patterns and design my own pieces. Clothing design is as much math and science as it is art. Before I knew it, my hobby had blossomed into a sweet little business that I found incredibly fulfilling.
How did you get to where you are today?
There has been a lot of trial and error, along the way, and also some really great folks that have helped to steer me in the right direction. When I first began, I tried to sew what I thought other people wanted me to make, and that didn’t work as well as I thought it would. I quickly learned that I had to gear my line towards what inspired me and what I loved! My line is much more refined now, and features a smaller selection of really special items. Even though there are fewer offerings, the time and attention I put into each piece really shows, and it’s this quality that has helped me find a wonderful customer base that is happy to invest in a handmade treasure. Instagram has become a surprisingly big piece of my business. Mountain Honey has found a community of shops, fellow store owners, and customers on Instagram that is incredibly connected and supportive. I’ve also spent a great deal of time taking my line to markets around New England. Meeting my customers in person is always an amazing experience.
What makes your company unique? What is the most interesting aspect of your company?
My line is inspired by the natural world and by the wonder of childhood. I create pieces that celebrate the whimsy and joy of being a kid. There is a bit of vintage appeal and simplicity to my pieces that reminds parents of a time in their lives when things were a bit simpler. Another unique aspect of my line is my commitment to keeping my business small & handmade. As demand has grown for my creations I’ve been faced with some tough decisions about how to move my line forward. Ultimately I have forgone the rapid growth I could attain through outsourcing and mass producing my products, for a more sustainable approach. The handmade aspect, and heirloom quality of my line, is what makes it so special. It’s what makes a bonnet feel like a little piece of your little one’s childhood and turns it into a fond memory and a hand-me-down, instead of just another article of clothing. I believe this can only be accomplished by putting actual love and care into the process. Sure, this means my company grows slowly, but it also means it grows in a sustainable way. I’m all about small-batch production, and I do not intend for that to change.
I grew up in this town; I have only lived away from Rutland for six months of my 35 years of life. Vermont is a great place to raise kids, and Vermonters are also committed to many of the values of sustainability and small business that my company is all about.
As a business-owner, what is the most important lesson you have learned?
One of the more important lessons I’ve learned is how to balance life with work. As a small-business owner, your business tends to become your life, and it is incredibly easy to get sucked into investing time in it that should be spent with family and taking care of yourself. Making sure you strike a balance prevents you from getting burnt out.
Find us on Instagram: @mountainhoneyclothier_
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Joanna Tebbs Young is a freelance writer and writing workshop facilitator living in Rutland. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, wisdomwithinink.com, facebook.com/TheWritersRoomatAllenHouse or on Twitter at @jtebbsyoung.