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Exciting Alterations Business Opens in Oxford on University Ave.

Julie Coleman recently has opened Design Gallery at 1603 University Avenue. The business can address all of your alterations needs plus a number of related activities. HottyToddy.com recently attended Julie’s Grand Opening.
HottyToddy.com: Congratulations Julie on your exciting new business. Tell our readers a little about your background in the world of sewing.
Julie Coleman: I played with sewing machines ever since I was a kid, growing up with my very crafty mother, and also my father who was an architect. I got my college degree in Health Sciences from Korea University, but I was always more interested in crafts and design.
So following my passion, I attended a school to become a certified technician in tailoring in Korea. After that, I worked as a fashion designer, and made wedding dress, but eventually found interest in home interior design and began my own business in 1984.
I still remember my first customer who asked me to design a sofa cover. The customer was so satisfied with my work that she compensated me enough to buy an entire sofa!

Julie Coleman

From that point on, I was confident that I could make it in this field. Ever since large retail stores began to arrive in Korea, I began to supply apparel and curtains to several companies all over the nations. When the financial crisis hit Korea in the late 90s, I began to focus on going on roadshows and on high-end curtain designs for home decorations and hotels, plus I set up many open houses when builder parcel out house and apartment.
I also worked with major television studios in Korea (MBC, SBS) in designing part of their sets on dramas and TV series.
When I came to America, I began a business in Northern Virginia and D.C. working with various single-family homes and offices designing curtains and other home decorations.
I also provided photo screen and blinds design for a local Japanese restaurant franchise, Sakura.
HottyToddy.com: In addition to performing alterations, what other services do you provide?
Julie Coleman: Alterations have always been a base of my operations because of the equipment I am able to utilize. Customers over the years have tended to ask for that kind of help with their personal clothing, which I enjoy doing. I can do service for any kind of clothes, hem, suit, dress, even wedding dresses.
I also make custom-made curtains and blinds, beds and pillow covers, and any other sewing related work and set up apartments and single home model houses.
HottyToddy.com: You also instruct sewing classes. What are some of the details?
Julie Coleman: When I got to the States, I realized that there are many people who know how to sew, but do not have the technical skills required for control curtains. So I had to do everything on my own, from the design to actually making the final product.
Sewing classes really began when I needed employees to help me in the business of making curtains.  I have had many new immigrants from my native country who have asked for help in acquiring a skill to help them in making a living.
HottyToddy.com:  What are the store hours?
Julie Coleman: The Design Gallery store hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon thru Sat, except Tuesdays. The store is open from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. 
Since I also sell Korean Kimchi at our local farmers market, which open on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., that’s why I close early on Tuesday at 2 p.m. But if we get more people to work at our store, we plan on having normal hours including on Tuesdays.
HottyToddy.com: Regarding your custom-made curtains, can customers come by for an estimate?
Julie Coleman: Of course. Designing curtains takes longer than you think because there are so many factors that you have to consider. Since curtains and blinds can completely change the mood of the house.
Customers are always welcome and I make appointments to see the windows and take measurements in individual homes or businesses. Before beginning the specific work, I detail the plan and materials in writing for every job. Potential clients can get a free estimate.
HottyToddy.com:  Is it correct that you also had a similar business while living in Washington DC?
Julie Coleman: Yes. New homes had become a major part of my work in the DC suburbs, up until the recession of 2008 when not so many new homes were being built.  Restaurants continued to use my services and the alteration business never ceased.
HottyToddy.com: How do you enjoy living and being in business in Oxford?
Julie Coleman: Upon my husband’s retirement, and Oxford being the home of his former law partner in Washington who had moved back here, and his son’s attendance at Ole Miss created a desire to move permanently to Oxford.  The pace of life is wonderful. We love it!!!

We’ve been enjoying our time here in Oxford, where we’ve met so many nice people, and made new friends. We especially love the fact that Oxford can be a place where you can enjoy both quietness and energy at the same time.
HottyToddy.com:  Regarding your services involving blinds and shades, could you give us a more in-depth narrative?
Julie Coleman: There’s a saying that your clothes are like your wings. What you wear can bring out your real character. Having the right fit goes a long way in achieving this. That’s what I love it.
With our homes, curtains, shades, and blinds can easily change the look and feel of the house. Also, once you design and buy them, you will be looking at them for many years. Having the right design can provide you with the feeling of satisfaction and joy for many days ahead. What can we expect more than that?
When I am working on my work, I do my best to see my work in the perspective of the clients and try to bring utmost satisfaction for them. It also means that I myself have to be satisfied with the work first because if I am not satisfied, then the client will never be satisfied. I also think I have been gifted with the eyes that can pick up how things fit well with others.

In my many years that I’ve been working, I never thought that I didn’t enjoy what I do. I also always look to work in ways in which that benefits the clients first, rather than trying to maximize my profit.
I also want to spread the words about shades and blinds that work with remote controls (sometimes known as authorization system) for the elderly and people who may struggle with putting up the shades. Often times, the cost of the system is very high, so I would also like to help people to find the right ones for them. Hopefully, physical difficulty of operating the shades and blinds won’t get in the way of people’s wishes to have new designs.
HottyToddy.com: How has your business progressed since opening?
Julie Coleman: The business has been open even before this store opening, but I was only directly working with select few clients. With the store opening, I finally have a permanent base to be able to reach out to more people. Since not many people know about the business yet, I am getting new people walking in every day. I try to provide the best service to each and every person who walk into the store.
HottyToddy.com: Typically what is the timeline from a customer dropping off an order till pickup for delivery?
Julie Coleman: For alternations, I try my best to not go over three business days. For urgent work, I also do overnight service. With curtain design, it generally takes about a month since it takes time to finalize the design and also to order needed fabric. It may take a bit longer if I am designing the whole interior of the house.
HottyToddy.com: Julie, are there any unique features about Design Gallery that you would like to highlight?
Julie Coleman: As I mentioned, I’ve always enjoyed working with the perspectives of my clients. I try my best to never take any shortcuts, and live up to my own high standards and expectations. From the initial consultation to the installation, I always strive to do my best and to provide highest quality work.
I do not run my business simply to make a profit. I feel like I have been given this talent from God for me to share this talent and love with others. Through my work, I hope that others will feel true joy and love, and receive healing in their hearts. I believe that this is my ultimate calling, and I thank God for giving me this gift and the opportunity!

Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.
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