Audra Peterson vividly remembers a childhood trip with her mom to JOANN’s fabric to select the perfect materials to make a quilt.
Audra’s mom shared her sewing talents with her four daughters, and Audra developed her own passion for the craft. She remembers her first project, a pin-cushion she made for 4-H, and then many other projects after that: the “gumball” sweatshirt, the cute cow outfit and The Boxer Sisters family business featuring shorts crafted with scraps of fabric.
In high school, Audra stitched together a bright pink and orange outfit that she wore to school.
“It was very loud!” Audra said. “But, at the time, I thought it was pretty awesome.”
Those memories of sewing with her mom became extra special after Audra’s mom passed away of Cholangiocarcinoma in September 2016. Earlier in 2016, Audra and her husband, Michael, welcomed their first child.
Those two events forged her decision to quit her full-time job in marketing, focus her efforts on raising her child and to follow her lifelong passion for design and sewing.
One year ago, Audra launched Mulberry Jane Handmade Infant and Toddler Clothing. She enjoys working from her home in rural Funk creating trendy children’s clothing in fashionable prints with everything from flowers and Buffalo plaid to dinosaurs and tacos. Selections include rompers, tops, dresses, leggings, baby layette gowns, skirts and pants in sizes preemie to 6T.
Last month, Audra launched Mulberry Jane’s website that features many of her stylish dresses and outfits, just in time for Christmas pictures.
Following Her Dreams
In high school, Audra considered a career in fashion design. She attended a weeklong workshop in Chicago to learn more about that career path. Although she was enthused about pursuing that option, the expense turned her away. Instead, she attended college in Nebraska and studied graphic design, advertising and marketing. Those skills eventually helped Audra launch her business.
“I was able to design my own logo, and it’s been really helpful when it comes to clothing design,” she said of her college major choices.
When Audra’s son, Arden, was born in early 2016, he was fitted with casts and braces to correct club feet.
“I struggled to find clothes for him,” Audra said. “So, I started making pants that were easy on and off.”
That became a springboard for her to start sewing more children’s clothing. She researched online fabric stores, purchased a few of her favorite patterns and started sewing. Audra officially launched Mulberry Jane in November 2016. She started marketing the clothes through a Facebook page and by setting up at craft shows across Nebraska.
The styles she creates must follow two simple design rules: “It has to be comfortable,” she said. “And, it has to be easy on and off for parents.”
Mothers and grandmothers soon became repeat buyers, and she started to develop a great customer base. Custom orders filled much of her time the first year of business.
“You know you are doing an OK job when people keep buying more,” Audra said. “That has been huge for my confidence to know that I’m producing good quality clothing.”
In October 2017, Audra launched the Mulberry Jane website (www.mulberryjane.com) and now has inventory on hand for non-custom orders via the website.
Where to Shop Mulberry Jane
Audra sews nearly every day, squeezing in time when Arden is napping or sleeping at night.
“That’s truly how I know I’m doing what I love because when I have spare time, I go down to my sewing room,” Audra said.
She even sews most of her own clothing, making t-shirts in comfortable material and styles that fit her.
Mulberry Jane clothing makes the perfect gift for a new baby, special occasions and just for everyday wear. If you would like to purchase or see Mulberry Jane clothing in person, Audra will be attending three upcoming craft shows:
The Kearney Holiday Splendor Craft Show: Saturday, November 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney.
The Holdrege Craft Show: Saturday, November 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Phelps County Ag Center in Holdrege.
Or, shop on the website at www.mulberryjane.com or visit the Facebook page at Mulberry Jane Design.