ABOUT CYNTHIA JAMIN: Designer / Co-Owner
I didn't have a childhood. Seven years of abuse took that away. I felt ashamed, invisible, ugly, and unworthy of feeling joy. So when my two daughters were little, I decided to give them something that I never had: a happy childhood memory.
My idea was to sew them a beautiful, super-comfortable twirly dress. Something that would make them twirl with joy. I enrolled in some sewing classes and came up with a design for a reversible dress. Fortunately, I live close to the Los Angeles Fashion district, so I was able to find some amazing fabrics. Everything about my creation was costly: the high quality fabric, the 4 thread stitching, the way the itchy seams were sandwiched away from their bodies… but so what? This was a special gift, so no expense was spared.
My daughters absolutely loved their reversible twirly dresses (the Original Reversible Twirly Dress®) and wore them to school every day. Soon other moms were asking me to sew dresses for their kids. I told them how much I’d have to charge, but they didn’t care. They immediately recognized the quality and the joy my dresses brought. A business was born. I called it “TwirlyGirl.”
It didn’t take long before a local boutique heard about my dresses and called to place an order. At first, I hand sewed them all on my dining room table. When demand took off, I found local sewers to do the work. Things were getting serious!
The first time the sewers delivered samples for my approval, I wasn’t too happy. Even though they were professionals who had sewn for major brands, I found their construction techniques to be a little shoddy. I told them how I wanted my dresses sewn with the same love and attention to detail I used on my daughters’ dresses, even though it would surely increase labor costs. They were a shocked. Most brands look for ways to cut costs by creating disposable clothing. But I’m not most brands. I never set out to create a children’s clothing line. I set out to create a happy childhood memory.
Today, TwirlyGirl is worn by children all across the world. Even though I didn’t have a happy childhood, I get to experience that joy through the photos and videos that customers send us.
People sometimes say there’s no reason to buy quality clothes for their children, because they’re just going to outgrow them. We use stretchy fabrics and design our styles with growing room. Most customers tell us their kids are able to wear our clothes for 2+ years. But yes, eventually they will outgrow their TwirlyGirl dress. They’ll also outgrow fairies, cardboard rocket ships, and the magic of wearing a twirly dress. This thing called childhood is all too short. I say, let them enjoy the magic of their favorite dress while they still can.
I’m grateful that my daughters got to experience the joy of a TwirlyGirl dress, and I hope your children will too. I believe it will be the dress of their childhood.
Designer / Co-Owner
ABOUT MICHAEL JAMIN: Director of Marketing / Co-Owner
As her husband, I really wanted to support Cynthia on her journey to create TwirlyGirl. But as a sitcom writer, I knew absolutely nothing about fashion, eCommerce, retail, or business. Or math. Or good manners. Or anything that requires behaving like an adult. I was probably the least qualified person to help her, but I was willing to work for free. Suddenly, I jumped to the top of the list.
There’s an old saying: when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. My only tool was words, so I began writing for TwirlyGirl.
At the time, Cynthia had just introduced the Treasure Pocket Jacket. So I wrote a little poem about it and suggested we include it with the jacket. When Cynthia read it, she started crying. I don’t know if she loved the poem, or just loved the fact that I made such an effort.
This got us talking about how Cynthia saw the TwirlyGirl brand. She wanted it to be joyful, creative, and magical. Basically, she wanted TwirlyGirl to be the Willy Wonka of girls dresses.
With that, I started writing stories for all of our styles. There were dozens of them, so it was a huge undertaking. Because I wanted to outdo myself, the stories became more and more outlandish. For inspiration, I imagined how Lewis Carol, Roald Dahl, Rudyard Kipling, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss would’ve written for TwirlyGirl. I didn’t approach their level of genius, but I had fun trying.
We also wanted our customers to have a truly unique experience at every single touchpoint. So I tackled the less obvious aspects of our business: order confirmation notices, FAQ pages, shipping labels.
Then I tried writing something even more ambitious: a commercial for TwirlyGirl. I don’t have a background in advertising or marketing, so the prospect was a little intimidating. I just kept picturing Cynthia as Willy Wonka, running her magical dress factory. I wrote a script, hired some super-talented high school kids to shoot it, and put the final video on Facebook. It went viral! Orders poured in, and more than a few people contacted us, asking if they could work in our magic dress factory! Maybe they were unemployed Oompa-Loopas, I don’t know. I probably should’ve asked.
So why go through all this effort? Because even though we sell children’s dresses, we’re not in the children’s dress business. We’re in the “Happy Childhood Memories” business… and the smile from a happy childhood memory can be worn for a lifetime.
Director of Marketing / Co-Owner
And here is more about Cynthia's story... We share this with the hope that it will motivate others to reach out, help, and share. Please click the play button below.
(Warning: Mature subject matter may not be appropriate for younger viewers)