New Hampshire mother Carli Grant picked up sewing a couple of years ago. She’s always loved learning new things, but she had no idea that sewing would completely change her life.
“Before sewing and before kids, I worked in an elementary school,” Carli tells Babble. “My life has turned in a totally different direction and I couldn’t be happier.”
It all started when she was sewing baby clothes for her newborn, Elliot. Carli was hoping to save some money for her family, so she stocked a wardrobe full of homemade onesies, pants, and shirts for her son. Then one day, she decided on a whim to start making dresses for her 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Amelia.
“It was addicting to see a beautiful final product and then to see her ecstatic face when I told her it was for her,” says Carli. “She always strips right down to try things on right when I finish.”
The more dresses she made, the more money she found herself spending on fabric! Looking for a possible solution, Carli started going through donation piles and the closets in her home to find old shirts that she could turn into new dresses for her daughter. Sitting in one of the piles was a particular shirt that held great sentimental value for the family. It was a red and black checkered flannel that her husband Josh wore on the day Amelia was born.
As soon as the mom laid eyes on that shirt, she knew she had to turn it into a very special dress for her daughter.
“I had tears in my eyes sewing the dress, I had tears in my eyes seeing her in the dress, and then I had more tears seeing Josh holding her … telling her how pretty she was and why the dress was so special,” says Carli. “It was such an adorable moment in time.”
Carli was totally surprised at what happened next. With Amelia still in his arms, her husband passionately suggested that she take her hobby and turn it into a business.
“In the moment of Josh holding Amelia in that dress, he looked at me and told me, ‘This could really be something,’” the mom says. “He posted a picture collage on Reddit to see a reaction and if people liked the idea. They loved it.”
To the couple’s delight, Josh’s Reddit post went viral. By the next day, the couple had received several emails from people interested in repurposing their loved one’s clothing.
“My husband set up a website for me and we have been partners in business ever since!” she shares. “It was literally all overnight.”
Shortly after, the parents came up with a name for their business that completely summed up the heartwarming experience they had shared together. Refashioned Memories has gone on to become a source of great joy for both for their customers and Carli herself, who loves helping each family memorialize their most special moments.
A majority of Carli’s order requests come from loved ones wanting to honor family members, such as grandparents who have passed away and military parents who are stationed far away from their children. As moms and dads have recently been sending their children off to school, Carli has also been selling tons of refashioned pillows and blankets with sweet messages like, “With You Always” and “Forever” embroidered on the top.
“I get to work with wonderful people. Hear such powerful stories. Seeing how an article of clothing can hold so much meaning and quickly recreate feelings of a moment of time is incredible,” she writes on the company website.
While the bulk of the orders are done by Carli herself, the mom also calls on other parents in the neighborhood to help her complete requests as they pile up.
“The team is a few friends who also sew, [are] my age, and have kids the same ages as mine,” she says. “A team of mamas!”
Looking at the website, it’s easy to see how many beautiful options there are for girls, but Carli also assures parents that a boys’ line is on the way.
At the end of her busy days juggling her business and family, Carli feels an overwhelming amount of gratitude for the person who inspired her to start Refashioned Memories in the first place. While Carli handles the social media, emails, and — of course! — the sewing, Josh handles just about everything else.
“He’s the backend of everything you see on the website,” she says. “This business wouldn’t be possible without Josh!”
Congratulations to the Grant family on their inspiring creative teamwork!