BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT After Our Creator By Jannise Bush

Instant gratitude is what happens “when people like what you do and embrace it.” This is how Margie Aldridge gets joy from what she does. Margie, Catherine Oyier, and Agnes David are co-owners of After Our Creator (AOC) and members of Star of Hope Full Gospel Church.

The birth of AOC began in 2014. Margie learned to sew as a child. Catherine and Agnes wanted to learn how to sew. So, the trio began by meeting during the week to learn and develop their skills. Along the way, Hazel Gulley, Debbie Slaughter, and Mary Ability were instrumental, giving tips and encouragement when needed. There is joy in Margie’s voice as she describes the time they spent together, sewing and sharing a love for creating. She states, “Agnes has a passion for sewing having never touched a sewing machine prior.”

Catherine and Agnes are both natives from Africa. Catherine is from Kenya, and Agnes is from Tanzania. “It was natural for us to embrace the African (Ankara) prints,” says Margie. As their skills grew, they started wearing some of the items they made. It was inspiring to receive compliments and inquiries.

In 2015, the church choir asked the ladies to make some type of African attire for Black History month. Margie states, “We found simple patterns for the women’s garments and head wraps. For the men, we made vests, matching ties and hats. We found a store in the Chicago area that sold African prints. So we drove to Chicago and picked out a variety of fabrics. In addition, Catherine made jewelry with paper beads (her specialty). It was a very rewarding experience to sit in the service and see the choir wearing what we had created.” Prior to that, the Penguin Project (a local nonprofit) had a silent auction, and the trio made African print pillows for that occasion.

As a result, they started kicking around the idea of a business. Their love for creating reminded them of the love God has for his creation, and that’s how they came up with the name. The goal is to supply fashion, accessories, and home decor people enjoy at reasonable prices. Margie’s mother used to say, “if you make something you love, people will fall in love with it” and is the inspiration for their tagline. Now they are expanding.

The trio has traveled to St. Louis, Danville, Detroit, and Indiana to participate in various events. AOC recently started a children’s line, and Agnes made contact with Bushbaby, which now carries some of those creations. Margie made contact with Ms. Elle’s Boutique in Indiana that will soon carry their head wraps.

Coming Up: AOC will showcase their items at Ignite Peoria on August 12, 2017, at the Peoria Civic Center. Be sure to attend. To shop After Our Creator now, please visit http://www.afterourcreator.com or Facebook.com/Afterourcreator

Would you like your business featured in the Business Spotlight? Contact Jannise Bush at (309) 550-5184 or jannise@jabservices.org.

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