Interview: Ebone & Ivory

You know those brands that you find that feel like they were specifically made for you? The ones that, as you look through their items, you could see yourself wearing every item? And you can't even choose what to get because you want everything? That's how I felt the first time I found Ebone & Ivory.

Of course, I know that Ebone Whitney, the creator of the brand, isn't designing for me personally, which is evident by the numerous influencers sharing her shop lately. Filled with vintage inspired patterns for fit-and-flare dresses, a-line skirts, and more, Ebone's items are made-to-order and one of a kind. Due to the custom nature, she's glad to accept design ideas, requests, and special fabrics, making each piece feel particularly special. When you purchase an item, you can choose your fabric and length, and with the pandemic still occuring, she'll even include a matching face mask with each order. Getting one of her pieces in the mail feels far more exciting than an item from a mass retailer, and I know this for a fact because I personally purchased my first from her recently and am already scouting out my next one.

It was so fun to read more about how Ebone turned her fashion experience into a business of her own and what's she's learned along the way. Enjoy our interview below and then go pick out a handmade piece to buy for yourself!

My pick: If you haven't seen this Strawberry dress (no, not that strawberry dress) that she custom made for Dana of @fluffy.bunny yet, you're missing out.

Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?

A: I actually learned to sew from my mom and my aunt around the age of 9 and beyond that I'm completely self-taught. Like most people, I struggled to find clothes that spoke to me and was at the mercy of *trendy* (aka disposable) fast fashion. I wanted a way to express my personal style and quickly realized that I had every resource to create my own wardrobe available to me at home! Altogether I've got about 5+ years of professional experience working in retail, fashion production, and bridal alterations. Started a lil shop on Etsy in 2015 just to see if I had what it takes to be an independent businesswoman (nailed it!) Once my confidence was up I turned it into a full-time dream in 2019!

Q: Was there a moment when you felt like this was something that was going to take off and become a success for you?

A: There were quite a few moments where I thought Hmmm, this might just work out for me. Like the stars were aligning, showing me a clear pathway to what could be my future; hours being reduced at my day job, landing one professional fashion job after another, and the support and encouragement of my close friends. The one moment that truly set me on the path and gave me all the confidence I needed was doing the production for my friend Jenny (formerly @shelovesdresses) Her dress collection “Moving Castles” was one of the biggest jobs of my career! I’ve always looked up to her for SO many reasons and the fact that she believed in my skills and admired my work enough to hire me gave me the confirmation and validation that I needed! I’m forever grateful for that opportunity.

Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting this as a career or a business? Were you nervous to share it?

A: Most of them thought it was a perfect fit and completely inevitable. I wasn’t really nervous about it actually because sewing, wearing what I’ve made, and sharing that (in real life and online) was something that I’ve always done. The only difference was asking for money haha! The worst that could happen was that no one would buy anything but it didn’t matter because I would honestly do this for free. Then… I would've done it for free then, not now lol Girls’ gotta pay the bills y’know what I’m sayin?