By: Nancy Osman
E.V.E.S. Services & Boutique
Years In Business: 8
Number of Employees: 1
Elevator Pitch: “Let me fit your clothes to the body God gave you”
As part of our follow-up to showcase the progress the Daughters of Zion CNPP grantees are making within Memphis, Shelby County, and beyond- we are highlighting their weekly Entrepreneur of the Week award. When asked why Velvety Johnson was selected as entrepreneur of the week, Dr. Gerald Kiner, PhD responded, “ Velvety Johnson is keeping a lost art alive and she’s doing it single-handedly as if she were the founder of Gucci. She is first class all the way. I gave her 25 dress shirts to redo for me and in my clothes she has me feeling good and looking good like I’m Denzel Washington. Her spirit of excellence and attention to detail is what all of us as business owners need to keep our customers satisfied. I’m so blessed to have her in my life – everyone needs a good doctor, lawyer, accountant, pastor, and seamstress. My life feels complete with her in it.”
Velvety Johnson answered 5 questions for the entrepreneur of the week.
Q: Tell us who you are, the name of your business, and how you started your business?
A: My name is Velvety Johnson and I am a seamstress and the name of my business is E.V.E.S. Services and Boutique. E.V.E.S. is an acronym, and it’s basically a combination of both my sons and my name. My oldest son is Edward, my name is Velvety, my second son is Erin and our last name was Simmons, and that’s how E.V.E.S. arrived. When I started my business, it came about when I had a bridal boutique when I lived in California. I had a bridal boutique, and my business partner and I, of course that business didn’t survive due to lack of funding, but, I was the seamstress, and I did all the alterations on all of the dresses that I sold. And once that shutdown, I just kept doing it here and there, just, you know, for people that just randomly knew that I did it. So, when I moved here to Memphis, in the business that I was working at with someone, we were talking in the breakroom, and he came up with an idea, alterations, and I knew how to sew.
And so, I started doing alterations for some of my coworkers, and God blessed me with a husband at that time. And so, he allowed me to quit that job and to focus primarily on my alterations business. And that’s how we came about. And then, in doing things, my motto is, “If you can think it, I can do it.” So, I briefly went into slight and light upholstery, which that’s where the services part comes from. And I do have a small online boutique, which it’s mostly accessories, purses, women’s accessories and things of that nature. I’ll try to, I like to make the jewelry myself. I’m trying to branch off into making purses. I see everybody’s wanting to get the Louis Vuitton, they want to get the Dolce and Gabbanas, they want all of the name brands, personally, I want them to wear E.V.E.S..
Q: How did you find out about the Daughters of Zion Community Navigator Pilot Program?
A: I happened to be one day scrolling on Facebook, and an ad popped up. And generally I don’t really look at the ads, but after reading what it was about, I texted the number that they had on the advertisement and they sent me a link right away, which impressed me, because most of the time you have to wait for somebody else to do something. And I was like, oh, that’s literally across the street from one of my best friends, so I was like, let’s go check it out.
So, I came one Saturday and I’ve been coming ever since, and it’s going to break my heart to not have to come in the next two weeks, but I’m going on vacation, and it’s the only reason why I’m not coming. But, this program has really blessed me with the knowledge that I’ve received, and I’ve been trying to get other people to come, but you know, that mindset you can’t change right away.
But this is a great program for anyone that is looking to boost their business to the next level. Whether it be they’re needing some type of financial assistance or just business sense, this is really a great program. If you just want to take your business and blow your own mind, this has really, really, really impressed me with the knowledge that I’ve received from this program.
Q: Why should someone come to your sewing services instead of someone around the corner?
A: Well, E.V.E.S. Services is really based on the person with a budget. So, you would come to me because I’m more cost effective. I tend to take a lot of pride in what I do and how I do it. You know, I can work with any budget. So, if you have a dress that you have, and it’s a gorgeous dress, and it just doesn’t fit, I can put you in the dress, taper it to your body, and you will look gorgeous in it. Whether it’s a big ball gown that you paid $15,000 for, or a dress that you found on the rack that you paid $75 for, I can make it fit you as if it was made for you. I can tailor any suit to your body. It’s a lot more cost effective to buy off the rack and have it tailored, versus having it custom made. Because, right now, everybody’s focused on gas and food, but the clothes are cheap, the clothes are very inexpensive. So, it’s less expensive to buy off the rack and have it tailored, versus going to buy fabric, which is expensive to start with, and then to have me take my skills to make the garment that you want.
Q: What’s a proud moment you’ve had in your business?
A: Oh, wow, there’s a wedding that sticks out in my mind that sticks out last summer. The young lady had ordered, it was an Indian style wedding, where they do the whole week of ceremonies, and she had ordered some garments, and they came like three, four days before the actual event, and they didn’t fit. She was teary, she was having fits, her mother came to me, found out about me on Google, and she came to me and she was like, “Can you do something with this stuff? Can you please? because it just did not fit her daughter. I’m like, sure. And I had her come in, we had a fitting, and she wanted the dress by Thursday, but I got it back to her the next day, which was that Tuesday. And everything fit her perfectly, the wedding went off without a niche, and they were so excited. She actually tipped me $300, so I was excited about that.
Q: Any final comments you want your potential customers or customers to know about you and what you’re willing to do for them?
A: Yeah. E.V.E.S Services we are located in Olive Branch, Mississippi, it’s a home business, so that’s how I can keep my costs down. So, please come out, give me a call, 661-860-5450. And just call me, tell me what you need, we’ll schedule some things, and you will be happy that you met me because you guys need to come to me, because you don’t want to walk around with clothes off the rack- you want them to fit you. It’s fine that you wear a 5 or a 16, or a 32, but you want it to fit you, so that it’ll cover the body that God gave you.