I’m Lena, the CEO and creator of Farmhouse Frocks. Let me tell you how it all started. I was born and raised in the Amish community and my heritage is something I deeply treasure. Growing up Amish, I found myself often stepping outside the norms when it came to being like the rest. I remember standing next to the sewing machine as my mom was making my dress and telling her to embellish my dress with some ruffles or some puff sleeves to be set apart from the rest. I guess you could’ve said I was my very own fashion designer from the start.
As I grew older I knew I wanted to leave the Amish to experience and pursue whatever my heart desired. After years of testing out different careers I never felt satisfied and content, I didn’t feel like I was living in my purpose. Until one summer day in 2014, my friend Tammy came over dressed in this beautiful long white dress with this huge flower on the front. Tammy made the dress herself because she couldn’t find one for an all white party that we were attending. I instantly wanted to look as cool as her, but knew that there was nothing I could find that was that beautiful in my size.
Flash forward one week and many brainstorming meetings later, I found a seamstress who would make the up-cycled clothing for me that I had dreamt about. I was ecstatic because for the first 41 years of my life I was settling for Walmart ill-fitting plus size clothing that just made-do. I never got to express myself outwardly through my fashion because well, there wasn’t anything for me in my size as a 3XL. Flash forward another week and I had started 7 Amish seamstresses and a studio out of my basement. At that time, I was telling my family how excited I was that I had SEVEN seamstresses. If only I knew how much my brand would expand and one day I would have 30+ Amish seamstresses.
That same week I wore one of my signature Frocks to the Country Living Fair when one of the creators of the fair came up to me to ask where I got my dress. With enthusiasm I told her how I just started my own brand for all size women with Amish seamstresses that make them. She was intrigued enough to invite me to the next Country Living Fair in Atlanta, Georgia. I was crazy enough to say yes and then there we were, three weeks into business, piled into a 12 foot Amish hauler van, expectant for the Lord to show us the way because we had no idea what we were doing. But you better believe we were gonna stand by the saying, “Fake it ’til you make it!” No not really, we actually chose our motto to be, “More Faith Than Fear.”
The Atlanta Country Living Fair was such a success that we went home, hired some more seamstresses, and started an Etsy shop. Fast forward seven years, many lovely little miracles, and God's favor later, we have a brick and mortar shop in downtown Millersburg, Ohio and a booming online business. The amount of support I’ve received from our, what I like to call, “Frock family” has been so consistent and amazing throughout the years and I feel so incredibly blessed. God has played a huge part in our success and I give all the glory to Him. After years of trial and error and just pretending I know what I’m doing until it feels right, my motto stays the same, “more faith than fear.” This motto has been the foundation for Farmhouse Frocks and every time I was fearing making a big risky decision I asked myself, “Is this a decision I’m making based out of fear or faith?” I believe that if you live your life fearlessly and in full faith, that God will honor your decision and I’ve seen that to be true through Farmhouse Frocks.
Another way I incorporate my faith into my business is by having each seamstress pray for the woman that will wear the Frock when they sew in the label. If you own a piece of ours, you know that each clothing label reads, “You are 100% beautiful, 100% worthy, 100% unique, and 100% God-made.” My hope through doing this is that each person that is clothed in Farmhouse Frocks feels empowered and beautiful.
So whatever your story is, wherever you’re from, whatever size you are, you are welcome here. You are loved here. You are enough here.