photo of Emily Hodge business item for profile written about them

Denim.by.em: Emily Hodge on Her Embroidery Business

Her Campus: What inspired you to begin embroidering clothing?

Emily Hodge: It started in quarantine because I was online shopping and I saw a pair of jeans that were half bleached and half normal and they were two-hundred dollars. I was telling my mom, ‘I wonder if I can just take an old pair of jeans and do this to them.’ I tried it and really liked how they turned out, so then I had the idea to embroider stuff all over it. I had never embroidered a ton, so I watched some videos that taught me how to do it. I embroidered a lightning bolt on the back pocket, and I remember really liking it so, I started adding stuff all over. I decided to make a pair of jeans for my best friend for her birthday and that gave me the idea of selling them on Instagram. 

HC: When did you begin to learn how to embroider?

EH: I began sewing in middle school because of pointe shoes, you have to sew the ribbons on everything. So, I started doing stuff like that then, but I began embroidering stuff majorly during quarantine. I did stuff beforehand, like in high school and when I was very young in elementary school, so I have always done a little bit of embroidery. I really started getting into it during quarantine because I wanted something to occupy my time. 

HC: What has been your favorite aspect of designing products for people?

EH: The thing I like most about embroidering is you just immediately see it come together which I really like because it is instant gratification. I like it when people send me their ideas and then seeing the end product is so satisfying for me. I also love seeing them when they open the package and get to wear it out. Getting to see my own art on people is really exciting and it’s nice because people get to customize. It’s hard to find something that’s really you, but people can tell me exactly what they want. If they want a puppy riding a skateboard, they get to have that. I like how custom it is to each person. 

HC: How do you incorporate sustainability into your work?

EH: Whenever people order jeans, I give them a few options. One of the options is to send your own pair of jeans to me. I really like it when people do that because that’s obviously a good option because a lot of people say, ‘oh I have an old pair of jeans that I haven’t worn in a while,’ and it helps them become new again. When I make my own jeans, I always use an old pair that I would normally throw out or donate. It refreshes them. I always go to thrift shops and buy a bunch of jeans and that’s how I do my pre-made jeans a lot of the time. Also, people started donating jeans from my hometown and texting me if they had old jeans that they didn’t want. It was really nice to upcycle them a little bit.

HC: Where would you like to see your company head towards in the future?

EH: I really want to continue doing this throughout college and beyond. My goal is to establish an Etsy page or a website. I don’t think that it’ll ever get big enough for that to be my one thing, but I always want to do it. I really care about my business and I don’t want it to just die out; I want to continue doing it. Hopefully, as an adult, I can do this on the side and continue making jeans and jackets for people.