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Rising Stars: Meet Krista Terranova

Today we’d like to introduce you to Krista Terranova.

Hi Krista, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I learned to sew when I was a pre-teen, mainly learning to quilt with my grandma, and made a few clothing items here and there through my early high school years. When I was a junior in high school, I became more and more interested in fashion design and was quickly drawn to the wedding industry.

I had a couple of friends who also showed interest in the industry and we would chat and fantasize about me being a worldwide designer, the next Vera Wang, and they would be the amazing wedding planners and photographers alongside me.

After high school, I was dissuaded to enter the world of design by people around me. I heard things like “you won’t make any money”, “It’s not a stable career path”, and “Is that really the best use of your money and time?” I know they didn’t mean any harm, they were just looking out for me and wanted me to be successful.

I ended up going to BYU for a time and bounced from one major to the next until one day I was sitting in class and just thought, “This isn’t what I want to do. I’m wasting my time here.” At the time, I was recently married, working as a seamstress/sales consultant, and just felt this pull to pursue my dream of design. My husband, Josh, was the one who pushed me to quit BYU and go to school for fashion design.

SLCC was the only real option for schooling for us at the time, and it was a great experience. I attended for 3 semesters and learned a lot in that time. I ended my schooling at SLCC when I got pregnant with my oldest daughter in February of 2018. After I got pregnant and finished that semester, the ball started rolling. I had been wanting to sew for actual clients but it felt so scary and I thought, “Who is going to trust me, a wanna-be designer, to make the most important dress in their life?” and then it happened.

I had a FB listing for alterations and got a message from a girl inquiring if I knew anyone who could make a custom dress. I saw the opportunity and told her I could do it. Her budget was low, so I figured it was the best-case scenario. She got a custom-made dress and I got my first client! She was the best first client I could have asked for, she was patient, easy-going and so very kind. Her dress turned out beautifully and jump-started J. Avery Designs.

Since then, I’ve been primarily self-taught as I continue to work with a variety of beautiful women looking for the perfect dress. Most of my clients are in-state but have had a few out-of-state clients as well. It’s been such a joy to learn new techniques with each dress and watch my own skillset flourish. I’ve been so blessed with the best clients, including two family members. Every dress I make gives me opportunities to learn and become a better seamstress and business owner.

I also try to make sure I have time to make original designs as a part of the creative process. Every creative needs a good passion project, and I love when I get to make a new design or challenge myself with a new technique.

As of right now, J. Avery is a one-woman show that is run from my home. I have two young girls and my first full-time job is raising them. It’s always been important to me to be home with my babies, so working from home without any help definitely has its trials, but I can’t really imagine being happy leaving my girls every day to work. So for now, this is what it looks like to be a designer and a mom.

One day, I’d love to have my own design studio where I can work and have client fittings, and maybe even a small storefront for sample gowns. Until then, I’m just taking it one day, one client, and one dress at a time!

Alright, 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?
Definitely not! It is a constant battle to know how to be successful, how to manage my girls and my business, how to fix problems when they arise, etc. It feels like there is a never-ending list of things that make the road “bumpy”.

I think finding time to dedicate to sewing each day is the biggest obstacle! Anytime my girls are asleep, I’m sewing! Some days I get to work more than others and am glad I can do it on my own time, but it can prove difficult.

Social media is also one of the things that always looms over my head! It’s such an important business tool in the world we live in, but it doesn’t always come naturally to me! It’s a love-hate relationship for sure.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in custom wedding gowns. I also create my own designs but am not as well known for those, since I get more clientele for custom gowns.

I honestly am proud of every dress I’ve made! They have all pushed me in different ways. Between difficult designs, short time frames, and fabric shortages, the completion of each dress makes all the hard parts worth it.

I feel like my designs are classic and contemporary. I strive to create for the unconventional bride who wants timeless beauty mixed with unique details. This year has been particularly exciting since one of my dresses is featured in the Utah Valley Bride summer issue for 2022!

It’s such an honor to be noticed by the biggest bridal magazine in Utah!

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I’ve always been artistic and creative for as long as I can remember!

I LOVED to color, draw, paint, basically anything that was a creative outlet I was doing it! My parents always told me I just had an eye for that kind of thing. I have a very distinct memory of coming upstairs into the kitchen where my mom was, wearing a Kelly green shirt with a blue and red striped skirt.

My mom made a comment about how she would never look so good mixing colors and patterns as I was doing. I already loved that outfit, but I loved it, even more, when I felt like I had a unique perspective that was noticed. I have always thrived off of being noticeably unique!

Personality-wise, I have always been loud and focused on fun! I am definitely an extrovert and can’t handle life without social gatherings and interacting with others! I think meeting new brides is one of my favorite parts of my job, every bride has such an interesting background and I’m into it!

Pricing:

  • Custom gowns start at $1700
  • Original designs range from $1100-1600

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Tia Moe @Tiarosephoto, Emily @Emisformemories, Kaylie Gainer @photos.by.kaylie, and Kaeli Kirby @kaelikirbyphotography

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