Tell us about yourself:
- My name is Nichelle Harris Terry. I run Pearle Grey Designs. I grew up in North Little Rock, AR and I also graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
What region of Arkansas do you operate in?
- I am located in Little Rock, so most of my clients are from Central Arkansas and surrounding areas. But thanks to my collaboration with the local Little Rock Bella Bridesmaids store, I have had the opportunity to serve clients in some smaller rural towns, Northwest Arkansas and other states including Texas and Missouri.
How do you describe your business?
- It’s a “Clothing, Creative Arts and Services Company.” My business is not limited to just designing and creating clothes. Creatively I have so many ideas and interests that I want to explore. While my initial focus has been wedding and special occasion clothing for children it has been both fun and beneficial to learn skills in other areas that can help me to customize, complement and add value to my business and the clothes that I create. I’ve taken classes in leather crafting, sneaker making, and recently completed a screen-printing course. My business has expanded into t-shirt memory quilts and soon I will offer custom coordinated ballerina flats (shoes), belts and other accessories.
Why did you decide to start your business?
- After graduating college I worked a few years in the corporate world of the cellular phone industry. My husband’s job required extensive travel, so becoming a stay at home mom after the birth of my second child was an amazing opportunity that I was blessed to take advantage of! As April and James, Jr. grew older I knew that at some point that I would have to start considering what I would do once they both went off to college. A traditional 9 to 5 wasn’t an option, because I also needed flexibility to assist my mother, so I narrowed my choices to attending graduate school or starting a business. I discovered the Jamileh Kamran School of Fashion Design (now the Arkansas Fashion School) and that opened the door to creating looks for bridal shows, donating girls dresses for mission trips and being selected as a designer in the local Designers Choice Fashion Preview Shows...all evolving into my decision to officially launch my design business.
How would you describe your style?
- My personal style is pretty classic. I like to stick to foundational pieces and designs that you can build and layer upon to create a variety of looks. I think that is why I really enjoy making custom made to order items instead of coming up with new ideas for collections every season.
What do you think is the most important thing to accomplish for a client?
- My ultimate goal is to bring the client’s vision to life and for them to be happy and pleased with what we have created together. It is important for me to include them in the entire creative process by meeting with them, asking questions and using visual photo examples, fabric swatches and samples to help guide me toward what they want. Sometimes they already have their own inspiration pictures to work from. I always encourage them to feel comfortable and to be honest when they don’t like something, they change their mind about a choice or if they want to make any changes, whether big or small.
What is your favorite part of what you do?
- I absolutely LOVE seeing someone’s reaction when they see their clothes, have their first fitting or try on their finished garments for the first time. Sometimes it’s hard for the client to see how everything comes together before the big reveal. It is really an honor for someone to trust me to create something for them. I literally have a special guest role in their event or special day.
What challenges have you had to overcome in the pandemic?
- Social distancing and in-person meetings have been a challenge during the pandemic. But even before the pandemic, I worked with a Bella Bridesmaids client whose flower girl lived in Texas. Our solution was to create a cotton muslin dress sample that was mailed to her for her initial fitting. That idea worked out really well and I was able to improve upon that idea even more when we worked with a bride last year who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. I created and mailed muslins for her two daughters and then we met using Facebook Messenger and DUO for their virtual first-fittings. I guided her to pin and mark the dress samples as needed before mailing them back to me to use to complete the final dresses. Her 7 year-old daughter even helped to design her own dress. Both of the clients were very pleased with their experiences and the results, so I have been able to offer this service to other clients, even locally.
What do you think any future clients would want to know about you?
- That I love connecting with people and I really enjoy what I do! I would encourage them to reach out to me. Even if ultimately they do not choose to use my services I would be happy to talk with them about any ideas or questions they may have.
What else would you like to tell me about yourself/your business?
- In most situations, I am usually the encourager and supporter of others, so I really want to thank Arkansas Bride Magazine for their commitment to support and highlight local businesses like mine. I am truly humbled and honored.
Check out our vendor page to learn more about local Arkansas designers.