Name: Jenny Lines
Age: 38
City/town: Nelson

What’s your job? I am a freelance pattern-maker.

How did you get into this line of work? After working in fashion for many years, I soon discovered that pattern-making was my favourite part of the industry and decided to steer my business down that path.

What does a typical working day look like for you? I freelance my pattern-making services to many different designers around the country. Each designer will email me the sketches of their designs and I make their production patterns (using CAD) and spec sheets ready for them to send on to their manufacturer.

What qualifications or training did you need? I studied a three-year Diploma of Fashion and Textiles, which gave me a great starting point, but I feel my most valuable skills came from the industry experience I gained afterwards.

I have run my own businesses since I was 21, so trial and error taught me a lot. I also spent four years working for an apparel importing company, where I learnt so much from other talented pattern-makers and got my first taste of working with Chinese factories.

What are the best bits about your job? Because I run my business using CAD software, I can work from home in a small town, Wakefield, near Nelson, while raising a young family.

What are the worst bits? I’ve had to try really hard to keep my boundaries around work time/family time clear to customers expecting ‘quick’ jobs over weekends.

What’s your biggest career goal? There have been times where I have tried to grow too quickly and regretted being tied into shop leases etc. Since specialising, I decided to choose a slow, steady growth path. I’m not interested in being the biggest, I just want to love what I do every day.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you most likely be doing? I cannot actually imagine doing anything else!


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