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by Maggie Zeibak
How many times have we wailed, “I’ve got nothing to wear”? Nothing in the wardrobe fits the occasion and we long for some elegant ubiquitous piece of clothing to jump out, fit perfectly and make us look like a million dollars. Now, our fairy godmother has waved her magic wand and pushed Debbie Bridgeman of Kamea Clothing to introduce her eye-catching line of hand-made maxi-skirts to San Clemente.
Entrepreneurial tales are always fun to read and especially when we have a local cottage industry right here in town that is threatening to take off beyond someone’s wildest dream. That someone, Debbie, has been in business just a year and it all started when she was wearing a skirt she’d made and a woman asked where she got it. She ended up making her one and then some of her friends. Word of mouth produced more orders and when she invited her friends over to her house, they loved them too.
“I’ve sewn since I was really young. I have been given the gift of creativity from my mom, aunt and grandmother. These wonderful and talented women have inspired me throughout my life to be creative and make beautiful things. I am so grateful to have them in my life. I personally make each skirt although because of demand, I have a sewing helper. I shop in Los Angeles and handpick each fabric for its individual color and texture - there is an amazing range of florals, animal and tribal prints, solids, stripes and lace effects. Working with the fabric, I like to run the patterns or stripes in different directions to give the garment a one-of-a-kind and individual look.
I feel that each of us should be able to express our own style and individuality with our choice of clothing. There is nothing generic about any of us and our clothing shouldn’t be either. There are so many different patterns that continue to change so each person can find something they absolutely love. My one-size skirts are unique because I do not make more than seven of the same pattern of fabric and even then they are not exactly the same. This way, you won’t ever see your friend wearing the same thing.”
An adjustment was needed in talented Bridgeman’s life once her sewing life started to take off. A wife, and mother of three children, they love to spend time going to the beach and surfing. Balancing her job as a Property Manager at Coast Property Management where she’s worked for the past 20 years alongside her mom, Nancy Majerick, she now spends her free time in a world of scissors and threads expanding her inventory at Kamea Clothing. Kamea is a Hawaiian word that means “one and only” which describes her business and product perfectly, focusing on the one and only you.
“My customers range in age from 12-70-years-old,” Debbie went on to say, “I am happy to say that I have several return shoppers. I have met many wonderful women who have been extremely supportive of my love to be creative and they keep coming back for more. It still surprises me! The retail price range is around $60-$65 which is very affordable, especially when you discover that this is an adaptable garment. The skirt turns into a dress when pulled up, and when worn as a skirt, the fold-over waistband allows you to lengthen or shorten as you like. They machine-wash and hang dry; all of my skirts are so comfortable and versatile they can be worn with flip-flops for hanging around or with heels on a fancy night out.
The multiple panel design allows the skirt various options and fits just about any figure because they are designed to accentuate a woman’s body and flatter her natural curves. I choose high quality fabric that is very forgiving and it enables Kamea skirts to have the perfect fit.”
These make excellent gifts for any occasion and Debbie is happy to gift wrap also. Being a new small business she’s all about customer service and she wants her customers to be happy with their stylish look. She designs and makes them so that you can express your own style and individuality. Drop into local boutiques that have them in stock; Salon Zinnia, Lincoln Street, Divine Inspirations and Bijou.