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BIZ CRUSH: Joeleen Torvick

BIZ crush

Us Stouties stick together, follow each other’s journeys, cheer each other on & feature each other on our blogs. And when we’re lucky enough to live in the same city, we also catch up over a beer. Such is the case for Joeleen & I.

I’ve been obsessed with her minimalistic style ever since crossing paths on social media & hearing our former prof talk her up.

She makes each garment herself, handling the entire production process on her own including patternmaking, grading (sizing), sewing & knitting. She’s into using renewable materials & designing pieces that stand the test of time.

Keep reading to meet Joeleen Torvick!

What kind of kid were you growing up?

A tomboy, who loved fashion, but more so loved sports and was very competitive.

How did that affect your path towards working in the fashion industry?

I gave my all to sports, and it was that spirit that if it was a challenge I wanted it. I thought if I were to do it, I need to work hard to be good at it. I’ve always enjoyed trying new things, but it’s that mentality or wanting/needing to succeed that has never gone away.

If your story could fit into a 30 second commercial, how would it unfold?

I feel like I would be a hair commercial. Your hair is a big mess and frizzy and your trying to work with it to make it look good, and by the end the hair is beautiful. In all reality you know that hair is going to get messed up again, but you keep working at it to make it look great!

What ultimately made you decide to do the lovely thing you do?

My grandma taught me how to sew and I thought it would be really fun to take on a big project and create my own prom dress – the second garment I ever sewed. I decided I wanted to get into making bridal gowns, but once I was in school, I quickly shifted to wanting to design ready-to-wear garments.

Who’s positively influenced your path the most?

I can’t say I’ve had one person make a huge impact, but it’s always been different people at key moments to keep pushing myself. My husband has always had my back and keeps encouraging me.

Favorite part about working for yourself?

Creating my own schedule.

Most challenging thing about working for yourself?

Working around my kids schedules and getting the studio time in that I want.

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

I look at images of all sorts and just start pulling together ideas from color boards, to sketches, and to fabrics. I basically hoard a bunch of stuff in my brain until it all comes together.

If you could be a fly on the wall to anyone’s creative space {dead or alive} who would it be?

Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Azzedine Alaia, and Nicolas Ghesquiere. They all manipulated fabric so masterfully, which is a rare thing amongst designers today.

Talk about a failure you’ve learned from.

I learn a lot daily from the production standpoint by trial and error on working with different fabrics and techniques. I don’t have one failure that particularly stands out because I’ve always taken the approach as if something doesn’t work, try something else. It may be the way I present a collection, or the timing of sending out line sheets to buyers, but in all reality, from the beginning it’s all just been one long and continuous learning experience.

What’s one of your proudest accomplishments in business?

I’d have to say there are three different things. One is when I’ve had very respectable people in the industry give high reviews to collections I’ve put out. A collection is something that is very personal and each season you’re basically allowing many people to critique, criticize, or love what you’ve done. When I’ve worked on something endlessly, I easily second guess what I’ve put out there. To have things published with high praise always feels good.

Second, I was chosen to speak on WCCO radio with another local designer, Project Runway designer Christopher Straub about important fashion issues in our society. To have been asked was a huge honor. It made me feel as though my brand is respectable, trusted, and is knowledgeable about the fashion industry.

Lastly, and most importantly is the feedback I’ve been given from women wearing my clothes. The thrills and frills can be fun, but ultimately, I got in this business to make women feel confident about themselves. If they feel that way, I’ve done my job.

What do you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?

How tough it is to get buyers to notice you, and even at that trust you. I also was such a perfectionist when I first started that it hindered me from moving forward. I’ve had to let things go because it was always something very minor I was getting hung up on.

What has been your favorite project to date & how did it come to fruition?

Spring of 2016 I designed a collection inspired by agates. It was one of my most creative collections I put together. The collection was easy and effortless which is deceptively difficult to accomplish. I really allowed myself the time to get there creatively whereas some collections can get rushed and pieced together.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or experienced thanks to your career path?

The coolest things I’ve experienced because of my career choice is the ability to travel. My career path gave me the opportunity to study abroad in London at one of the most prestigious colleges for the fashion industry. While I was there I got to travel throughout Europe.

I also lived in New York which was always a dream of mine. I had the opportunity to go inside design houses and become engulfed in the garment district and learn a lot about how the industry works.

What’s next / What are you most excited about?

I recently bought a bulky knitting machine. I’m super excited to introduce knitted sweaters next fall and continue expanding into knitwear. The opportunities with knitting is endless!

Time of the day you are most productive:


The app you couldn’t live without:


Social media outlet you love most:


Favorite account to follow on this outlet:

All of my long distant friends

Favorite internet radio station at the moment:

Pandora’s “Today’s Alternative Radio”

Go to piece in your wardrobe:

My asymmetrical tee with a built-up neckline. Perfect for everything!

Favorite Netflix binge:

Better Call Saul

Weirdest piece of equipment you use:

A linker – it links knitted pieces together to create a garment.

Favorite designer:

Nicolas Ghesquiere for Louis Vuitton

The best “hidden gem” in the community:

CRAVE!! I love your creativity, use of upcycling materials, and your witty posts! I adored your ravioli and pierogi key chains, and am in love with your Quarter keychain for Aldi!! (I’m not just saying this ;p)

See more from Joeleen here: Online | Instagram | Facebook


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