Marissa Cheslock on her custom secondhand sweatshirt business [Biz Buzz]


Chloe Sun

Happy new year! Today we’re kicking off the new year with senior Marissa Cheslock to talk about her small business making custom sweatshirts using secondhand clothing. Even though Cheslock launched her business quite recently, she’s gotten quite a few orders, and judging from what she shares on her Instagram, they look super professional and unique. – Chloe

If you are interested in the products Cheslock offers, visit her Instagram here and shoot her a DM. Enjoy!

Can you explain exactly what services you offer?

I do a lot of alterations but recently I’ve been pushing out secondhand upcycled sweatshirts, so I purchase sweatshirts that have been previously worn that are still in good condition and I upcycle them by putting little designs on them and people can purchase those.

How did you decide to start this and when did you start doing this?

I’ve been wanting to do it for a couple of years, I just never had time to think about what I wanted to actually sell. A couple of weeks ago I made a sweatshirt for me and my sister and I thought it would be an easy thing to push out (especially since) I had time because of winter break.

When did you start experimenting with sewing? What did your journey to the level of work you’re at right now look like?

I started sewing when I was five, so 13 years ago, and my grandma taught me how to sew. Then when I moved away from her, I took lessons. I now take the fashion program at the school. It’s always been something I do. I got really into it freshman year when I started making a lot of my own clothes and that’s when I realized that I wanted to do it as a career. It’s my biggest passion.

Could you walk through the process of completing a custom order?

On my Instagram, I’ve posted what “blanks” (clean sweatshirts) I have available, and then people will choose one and tell me what they want on it and I’ll help them come up with more specific designs, (including) colors and sizing. We’ll confirm all of that, and then I’ll put their order together. Usually, if (the design is) a picture, I’ll print out the picture of what they wanted so I can get pattern pieces, and then I’ll sew it and let them know when it’s ready.

How long does a custom usually take?

It depends on the design, some of them only take a little time and some of them take a few hours depending on how many (separate) pieces there are.

Does the amount of time you work on them affect your pricing?

I’m trying to make most of (my customs) pretty affordable right now, so for some of them I might be getting paid $4 an hour, but I enjoy doing it so I don’t really care. Obviously, if I did this for a living it would be different. So, only a little bit, because I know that the people that I’m marketing to are highschoolers and can’t afford something super expensive.

How many orders do you think you’ve gotten so far?

I’ve gotten 6-7 orders in the past three days. 

What would you say was the hardest part of starting this business?

Honestly, just trying to figure out how to organize it and market it in a way that made sense. I’m (using) second-hand (clothing), so I can’t just take orders and have people order whatever they want. I only have specific blanks I can use, so it’s hard to keep it organized.

If you had a piece of advice for students that want to start their own businesses, what would it be?

I would say to make a plan and just go for it because you’re going to learn as you go, and if you don’t start, then you don’t know what’s possible.


Interested in checking out Cheslock’s products? Find her Instagram here and shoot her a DM!

If you would like to be interviewed and have your small business promoted, please email [email protected].