UGA’s alum blends fashion and convenience with the embroidery industry | Arts & Culture

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted almost every aspect of Laura Floyd’s life. Now a former alum of the University of Georgia, her income from her part-time work in music venues during school in Athens has been cut off. Revisiting a passion for embroidery that she discovered in high school, Floyd used his free time to make embroidered dresses for friends, thus renewing her brand, Dirty South Stitches.

Over the past year, with the help of winning the Atlanta Braves’ World Series, the UGA National Championship and reaching stands in various markets in Athens and Atlanta, Floyd’s small business has skyrocketed and continues to growing in popularity in the heart of the Athens Community.

In 2017, Floyd had college in mind. After deciding to attend UGA, Floyd began saving money he earned as a babysitter for an embroidery machine.

Laura Floyd’s business grew rapidly over the course of a few years, appearing in pop-up markets and partnering with local businesses in Athens. (Photo / Emily Rose Hamby)

“I was like, ‘Okay, I need a hustle and bustle, I need a job at UGA and I’m going to go to UGA where Greek life is the biggest thing ever.’ What do girls love? Monograms, “Floyd said, then started sewing Greek letters on sweatshirts.

This plan helped Floyd discover his passion for embroidery. She also focused on making money and honing her desire to create her own music-based merchandising.

After discussing a name for her new embroidery business, Floyd and a friend decided on the name Dirty South Stitches.

“It takes that Atlanta swagger, Southern swagger. Because I think when people think of embroidery, they think of grandma’s pretty flowers. I feel like people don’t think it’s interesting, “Floyd said.” No, it’s not your grandmother’s embroidery.

Although Floyd bought his first embroidery machine in 2017, Dirty South Stitches’ early days are nothing compared to its current business operations. At first, Floyd occasionally sold his clothes on Depop and made sweatshirts for his friends with him, however, he didn’t rely on them for revenue until early 2020.

After designing a simple UGA-themed hoodie, she sent it in a group chat from her all-girl musical fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota, and found that several people were interested in purchasing one.

“One of Laura’s greatest values ​​for Dirty South is that it’s affordable for college students. She packs it, she delivers it by hand. It’s really practical, ”said Liv Paniagua, a third-year UGA student and Dirty South Stitches intern.

When thinking about his customer base, Floyd credits UGA’s Redcoat Marching Band with tremendous help in promotion.

For Yara Manasrah, second year sousaphone player in the Redcoat Band, wearing Dirty South Stitches means more than just a sweatshirt. “I’m a first generation college student, I’m a first generation American. I love being able to represent the brand. I love being able to represent UGA, ”Manasrah said.

In late October 2021, as the state of Georgia was celebrating and eagerly watching the Atlanta Braves appear in the World Series against the Houston Astros, Floyd turned on his embroidery machine and began making commemorative sweatshirts.

“With the Atlanta hoodie, I didn’t want to do something like ‘Braves Win National Championship 2021’, I wanted something thin to wear in Atlanta, another place, a Braves game where people go, ‘Oh that’s great merchandising! ‘”Floyd said of the inspiration behind his World Series hoodie.

After 41 years, the UGA clinched a national championship title in early 2022 and, in addition to celebrating UGA’s historic victory over one of its toughest rivals, the hunt for merch and national championship memorabilia has begun. . Once again, Floyd found himself in front of her embroidery machine, making celebratory merchandise for her beloved alma mater.

“I had something ready for when we won the national championship,” said Floyd.

Floyd’s inspiration behind Dirty South’s “Natty” choker was a play on quarterback UGA Stetson Bennett’s nickname “The Mailman” and his vintage-style approach to national championship merch impressed Dirty South customers. .

Asked about the impact of UGA’s national championship win on Dirty South’s brand, Floyd said, “My biggest sales week by far was ‘Natty’ week. The night the crewnecks” Natty “went on sale, went up at midnight, and I woke up with $ 1,500 in Natty merchandise sales.

Dirty South has partnered with several Athens bars and breweries to host pop-up shops where select merchandise is sold while customers can sip and shop.

In addition to Dirty South’s partnerships with local businesses, Floyd has taken his small business out of Athens. In February 2022, she traveled to Atlanta for Atlanta Artisans Market, selling Dirty South sweatshirts and other garments to customers outside of her typical Athens lei shoppers.

For Dirty South’s future, Floyd wants to expand its market and clientele by doing merchandising for other schools besides UGA. “I want to build Dirty South until it’s ready to fly,” said Floyd.

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