The secret of success in today’s business climate is to recognize a need, and to fulfill that need.
Theresa Drazba of Hannibal set out to do just that. Three years ago she started a business, “Love My Jean Skirt.” While working out of a little shop on North Third Street in downtown Hannibal, she has aspirations of reaching out to a global market.
This spring, she took a major step in that direction.
Drazba, who sews modest skirts from used jeans, attended a Christian homeschool conference in St. Louis, setting up a booth to promote her product line to a target market.
After registering for the conference, she learned that a well-known family would be in attendance: The Duggars of the reality TV show: 19 Kids and Counting.
“I was pretty excited,” Theresa said. “If I could make skirts for Duggar girls, it would be great. They all wear skirts, you see them in a lot of denim.”
On the second day of the conference, the Duggars were participating in a book signing. “They were all sitting there, and we started talking. I told one of the girls I had a booth, and she said that they had heard about me and knew about my business. That was pretty exciting.”
At the end of the line was Michelle Duggar, mother of the 19 children. “I was telling Michelle that I would really love to make the girls skirts. She said that was really sweet, and I invited her back to the booth to look at my skirts. We were able to spend time together. The next day I ran into Michelle, and she said she wanted to come back to my booth. She wanted a picture of the skirt with a scripture on it. I ended up sending about 13 skirts with them.
“They asked me if they could put a link from their web site to mine. It is really cool.”
They have stayed in touch since their meeting at the conference. “I feel like she is my friend. People ask me if she is as sweet and if they are as genuine as they come off. Absolutely.
“I always thought we would hit it off because I have 10 kids. She is a very, very caring person. I watched her interact with others and was really impressed with her.”
Theresa will have been in business three years this coming July. “It has been rough, but we are growing and I’ve shipped skirts to the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Germany. A lady from Malaysia is trying to order right now. I have more demand than what I can keep up with.
“Looking at state of economy and type of business, I’ve had to create all the systems; we’re going strong and I think we’re going to make it. I’m strong and passionate. It takes time to get the word out.
“I have a lot of children, and I know how difficult it is to find nice modest skirts. I have 7 girls myself; realizing that the Duggars are a large family with 9 girls, I thought it would be really great if they could wear my skirts.
“They have worn them to church; they advertised on their Facebook. I gave them 13 skirts at the first conference and Michelle said next time they would be buying them. The girls really love them.
“It has validated me.” Theresa said.
“I’ve been through a lot of personal stuff the last three years,” she said. Running a business “it is not for the weak, the faint, for those who give up easily. You have to have a true passion when everyone is telling you to throw up your hands and quit. In the end I give God all the glory.
“My goal has always been for ‘Love My Jean Skirt’ to be a household name. I have a big vision, big dreams, big plans. I believe in what I’m doing just as much now as I did when I started. That’s what true passion is; that what keeps you going.”
Now that business has picked up, she’s in the market for a seamstress to help her keep up with the demand.