Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Sandoval.
Tina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was raised in Buffalo, NY and like many young kids hated school. I excelled in academics but always had the reoccurring problem that I hated being told what to do classic “problem with authority”. I knew whatever I was going to do with my future it was not going to be a classic 9-5. I tried cosmetology threw high school and went to school for Graphic Design in NYC for college always searching for that right path for me.
While living in NYC, I had one of my first introductions to the fashion world. My roommate at the time was a fashion design major, we would take trips to the fabric district all the time collecting fabric swatches for her schooling. I would admire the pattern drafting she would do and the overall design work but never thought anything of it.
College ended and I had no real direction in what I wanted to really do. While I excelled at graphic design, even interning for Island Def Jam during college it just never gave me that spark. I lined up interviews for Starbucks Design team in Washington because getting a job was the obvious next step. I was practically a shoe in for the job but when it came time I couldn’t do it I knew this just wasn’t it for me.
I ended up in Alpine, CA living with my mom who had relocated to San Diego from Buffalo so she could be closer to her tribe (Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians). I later met my now husband and we have three daughters together. After my first daughter, I decided to tap into my teachings and knowledge from before to relearn to sew. This started out as a small hobby just for me and my kids. Making baby blankets shoes and accessories and later turned into clothing and more traditional native Bird Dresses and Shirts. Crafting and Sewing quickly turned into my own personal therapy to get me threw the rough overwhelming moments of motherhood. Friends and Family soon took notice to this growing hobby and I was constantly told “you need to start selling this stuff”. I lacked the confidence in my sewing, doubting anyone would possibly ever want something I made.
As my girls started getting a little older and clothes became a very large part of our budget particularly when it came to try and get them to match and coordinate for family photos, I noticed something 1. It’s so expensive 2. These expensive clothes are sewed like crap! As a stay at home mom you often lack a feeling of purpose because you are labeled as just a mom with no real financial contribution to the family. That’s when the wheels started turning if I can make this into something.
In December 2018, I made the leap of faith bought the proper equipment with so many doubts that I could do this as a real business. I was full of anxiety that I may really have just thrown 800 dollars down the drain on starting this thing know now as 3 Fancy Feathers.
I opened in January 2019 with a few ready to ship items of only one style. Flash to now, I have over 30 different styles and the most amazing customer base I could ever ask for.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh gosh, absolutely I went threw so many challenges! When you’re a retailer, especially a web-based one you are constantly battling the trends and to just be seen on social media! I’m still struggling with marketing!
My biggest challenge was finding my niche. With a thousands of other retailers online to choose from I had to find the right market for me. Anyone can buy a dress but how does your item stand out? For me that was customs and altering clothing to fit those more challenging body types like slim and petite or curvy kids and women!
My biggest advice to anyone is just perseverance and believing in yourself and what you have to offer. There is only one you and what you have to offer is amazing. Don’t compare yourself to someone in their stage 10 when you’re at stage 1. That was a huge mistake I made in the beginning and really had to just put my blinders on and stay in my own lane.
We’d love to hear more about 3 Fancy Feathers.
So I am an online brand of custom-designed clothing. I run everything threw social media where women and kids can make and design their own clothing. The most rewarding times for me is when I get the messages of “My daughter loves your leggings they are the only thing that fits her”. This is because they were custom fit and made just for her! I get these messages all the time whether it is a dress, leggings or even custom making items for children that struggle with fit and fabrication of clothing.
My other specialty is mommy and me sets! It is so hard to find outfits for families that have kids in a variety of sizes. Women can pick their print from my in stock options or I even work with them to select something special and unique. They can then tell me exactly how they want each item and in a few days to a few weeks the items arrive at their doorsteps!
I am most proud of my overall growth and standing true to my overall goal. I wanted to be a company that offered quality clothing and I have definitely upgraded my machines along the way, constantly learning new techniques to give my customers the best of the best!
I also never jacked up my prices like many boutiques do after becoming more successful. I have my own personal formula on how I price my items and I have always stuck to it in attempts of making my clothing more affordable for everyday families which honestly you don’t see specifically when each item is tailored to my customers and their measurements.
Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Growing up, I had parents that worked so hard to provide. My mother would work overnights, do odd jobs even work multiple jobs at once. The same goes for my father, he would work two jobs and then a side gig on the weekends just to make those ends meet, so I grew up watching the struggle and hustle. When you have these strong role models of how a parent should be and how hard you should always work it definitely rubs off on you.
I have always had that strong work ethic like them I got my first job at 15 and throughout most of my life maintained a job until motherhood. But even during motherhood, I felt like being a mom was a full-time job in and of itself but I always wanted more, I needed to feel like I was helping my household and that is what ultimately made me create this company. I work from home while my kids are at school and then later while they are sleeping. It is always my priority to be there for my kids as much as possible. I pick them up most days from school, make every single school performance and try to be a super present mother. My kids also know mommy works, my machines are all set up in the house with closets of fabric. They constantly see me working as hard as I can and I really want my kids to have a role model that mommy’s can work and mommies can still be present and work super hard! Im constantly asked how I juggle it all and I really feel like it comes directly from my parents and seeing that strong work ethic. Failure for me just isn’t an option when you have your family as motivation
Little Blue Bow Photography