Fifth Grade Bodysuits - Kat Krafel

I honestly can’t believe my mother let me out of the house in the fifth grade. I was a tiny, amateur seamstress who could barely wind a bobbin. You should've seen the gobs of thread I wasted and the knots I got my mother’s sewing machine into. My sewing skills were really starting to blossom, or at least that’s what I thought.

The early 90’s was the era of bodysuits and chokers, which is funny because today's fashion has come full circle since then. I can still remember my best friend Tamsyn’s yellow square neckline bodysuit she wore on the first day of school. I'd never seen anything like it and she was the envy of all. She coupled it with a black velvet chocker that had an emerald teardrop jewel dangling from the center. Her long horse-like mane glistened golden in the sunlight as we skipped to recess. We were young girls on the brink of womanhood. Our hearts longed for love, and if we had been presented with a fast-forward button to propel us into teenagers we surely would've pressed it.

I grew up in a small Nor-Cal town where the closest retail store was thirty minutes away and our options were a tiny JCPenny or Kmart. Both of which were almost always entirely picked over, which didn’t really matter because money was stretched tight in my full family of seven. As the youngest, my wardrobe consisted of every hand-me-down imaginable; let's just say I didn't quite skip out the door with glee every morning. With three older sisters, my sense of fashion grew from their playing dress-up with me, forcing me by way of, “Come here, Kat, let me peg your pants.” I did as I was told and soaked up my sisters' wealth of beauty knowledge like a dry sponge.

I began sewing Barbie clothes by the age of five, but my world altered upon witnessing the je ne se quoi that was Tamsyn’s yellow bodysuit. I was determined to make my own. Before that, I'd mostly worked with non-stretch cotton and felt a bit overwhelmed with the technicalities of zippers and buttons. However, that all changed when stretch knit fabric presented itself to me in the form of bodysuits. From then on out, my seedlings for fashion became an all-encompassing passion that would cause me many a sleepless night with fleeting visits of inspiration in my dreams.

Dreamer, party of one. Thus the essence and origin of Veiled Beauty began long before 2008. Learning to sew as a youngster showed me how to create something from nothing. Creating something from nothing gave me value. With value came courage and the freedom to leave our small little town. With freedom, I curated not just a blossoming artistry I can call my own, but a lifestyle that was forged by diligence and fervor for the craft of creating.

While friends relied on their mothers for everything growing up, I was inspired to pack my own lunch, style my own hair, sew my own clothes and walk solo to school. I was capable beyond my years and thrived in my new-found independence. Veiled Beauty was fashioned out of that very drive and independence. I stitched this business together with life lessons learned along the way.

The integrity I hold Veiled Beauty to comes from my father, a man admired and respected by all. His accountability to God makes him the most just person I know. His kindness can be felt in conversation regardless if one's a stranger or friend. His example continues to instill in me standards which I provide my brides: with the careful attention and patience needed during this sometimes stressful but mostly exciting season of their lives.

The ingenuity of Veiled Beauty and commitment to quality comes from my mother. Her resourcefulness is a spectacle to behold. Her out-of-the-box thinking made her a woman who could scrape two pennies together and fashion a delicious, beautifully presented dinner on a nightly basis. True to every stellar chef she started with fresh ingredients. She insisted upon putting the jam in a pretty serving bowl with a separate spoon. We set the table with a full setting at each place regardless if a knife was needed for that meal. Furthermore, she stood for quality from the inside out. Her meals were hearty, healthy, perfectly warm and most importantly made with love. She taught me to pour my heart into everything I do. She insisted on going that extra mile and never considered cutting corners. My mother showed me that, with a tenacity for hard work, love is first shown through your hands.

Photo Credit: Kurt Boomer

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