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Check Out Arly Stroben’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arly Stroben.

Hi Arly, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My story began five years ago when I received a sewing machine for my birthday. I was a frequent festival goer and wanted to be able to make my own outfits. I signed up for a beginning class that summer and by the end I had started an Etsy and opened a business.

Since I was still learning at this time and wasn’t too experienced, I began with upcycling. I would take apart items from thrift stores and spruce them up to my aesthetic. I sewed just about everyday to gain more experience. The more pieces I made, the more I learned and the better I got.

I would sell these items online and at pop-up shows all around San Diego for my first few years. I began my own annual event called “The Festival Market” at Spin Nightclub which was focused strictly around shopping. Then I got an opportunity in 2019 to open a brick & mortar store in downtown Carlsbad.

I closed my store a year later around the time Covid hit and scaled back my operations. I had to get creative during this time since I no longer had my store or festivals to rely on. Luckily by this point, my experience and skill was able to take on new areas of sewing like bridal and embroidery.

Now, five years later my business offers custom made clothing for special occasions, as well as my original designs, any type of alterations, bridal pieces and embroidery. I have also begun working with Spin Nightclub regularly as their vendor coordinator to host shopping markets at their events.

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?
I’d like to think it’s been a smooth road along the way but the truth is you are going to hit some bumps with any journey, especially business.

One of my biggest struggles for a long time was finding a healthy balance between my work and personal life. Many people are able to go to their job, clock in and clock out at the end of the day.

However, when you are self-employed it is a bit different. You are constantly working and most of the time you feel as if you didn’t get enough done in a day. Your social life can be non-existent because you are always preoccupied. You don’t really take breaks or vacations because you feel guilty leaving work behind. Sometimes it can even begin taking a toll on your health because you’re putting your business’s needs before your own.

All of those things have happened to me and it took me four years to find an actual balance. In reality, you need a healthy personal life to flourish in your business. As rewarding as it can be, it is very draining if you don’t take care of yourself.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My work revolves around all sorts of sewing but first and foremost, I specialize in custom one-of-a-kind clothing. Many people come to me to have outfits they have seen recreated and personalized to them. I make a lot of bell bottoms, crop tops, matching sets, loungewear, costumes, bathing suits, men’s shorts, bridal wear, embroidery etc.

My upcycled work is what I am known for though, it is how I began and how I gained my audience. People love seeing the possibilities of what you can do to a garment and the process behind it. You see so many things at the store where you love the fabric or accents but don’t like how it fits or looks on you. That is the beauty of upcycling, you can completely transform a piece.

Out of all the sewing, I am most proud of my bell bottoms and costume work. I drafted my first pair of pants in school around three years ago and have made hundreds of pairs since. They were recently featured in a roller-skating music video by the artist Jazzy Jane for her new single “Disco Lemonade” on Spotify and YouTube.

I also made the Dynamo’s costumes for the Mamma Mia Production put on by Coronado Playhouse at the end of 2019. The costumes were a hit and highlighted in many local articles, theater reviews and even debuted on KUSI Good Morning San Diego.

What sets me apart from the rest is my broad area of expertise and determination. Many people pick one area of sewing and stick to it but I have chosen to work within multiple areas and am dedicated to learning it all. When I get an idea in my head, I usually don’t rest until I make it happen.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck has played a big role in this journey. I have had the good and the bad but all in all, I have been very prosperous so far.

As for good luck, how I got into the craft was very unexpected. I never intended on taking up sewing until I was given my first machine. That gift of good fortune truly changed my life. Granted a lot of hard work has gotten me to where I am at but I have gone far beyond than I ever imagined possible.

Like any person though, I have also been dealt some bad cards. I mentioned earlier that I got an opportunity to open a store and it seemed like a great idea in the beginning but it proved itself not to be. I was in a partnership where the other side didn’t have my business’s best interest. The consequences of this really put me in a bad place for a period of time. I made the decision to pull out of the store and about three weeks after I closed, Covid hit, closing all non-essential businesses. It felt like I had dodged a bullet which reminded me that luck presents itself in many different ways.

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Image Credits:

Samuel Freeman Heidi Peinthor Haley Busch Sarah McAllister

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