This week and next Diana Coatsworth, a very talented George Brown College alumni member and Founder/Creative Director of Diana Coatsworth Design will be exhibiting her exquisite clothing designs at the Stackt Market along with another George Brown Alumni, Luis Padilla, Co-founder, Supramorphous, so be sure to drop by and say hi to them before the end of day Sunday September 15, 2019!
We had the joy of recently sitting down with Diana to speak about her incredible entrepreneurial journey and share with others some of things she has learnt along the way..
Diana has a varied artistic background, working in theatre & film as a professional actor, singer, dancer, choreographer & improviser for 25 years.
She has worked in such theatres as 7 seasons at the Stratford Festival, Elgin Theatre, ACT in San Francisco, Barbican in the UK, Second City. You can see Diana on the small screen in such shows as The Handmaids Tail, Murdoch Mysteries, The Romanoffs, The Detail, The Coroner. She is the recipient of her hometowns’ Arts & Culture Wall of Fame in Niagara Falls in 2012.
Alongside her performance career, Diana created an handbag & accessories company in the early 2000s called FlyBall Bags. She sold to stores across North America as well as many artisans shows. In 2014, she decided to get formal design & technique training at George Brown College. 16 months later, Diana was awarded the Deans Medal for top GPA in the entire Arts & Design program.
After 2 years of apprenticeship at Lea-Ann Belter Bridal & working in wardrobe in film & tv, it was time to launch her new business, Diana Coatsworth Design to great success at the spring One of a Kind Show. Whether creating custom bridal and red carpet looks, to having top actors and tv personalities wearing DCD designs to special events, or to her seasonal collections, she hasn’t slowed down a bit! DCD is for a woman of any age, who wants quality, tailored looks that are “more style, less effort”. Fresh, original designs that you can cherish for years. DCD believes in inclusivity with a body positive message.
Diana knows shopping for clothes can be a vulnerable experience for some, and she cherishes each of her clients by building a lasting relationship with them. Currently she resides in downtown Toronto with her partner of 20 years, drummer Kevan McKenzie & their sweet dog Charlie.
Diana, what’s your educational background?
George Brown College, Fashion Design & Techniques Deans Medal Recipient 2015
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
I believe being an entrepreneur is in you or not. I’ve always had the drive to create my own thing. I have the motivation to get up every day and do what it takes to meet deadlines. I’m not sure where that comes from. I’m a really hard worker. I love the flexibility of being my own boss too. Sure, I don’t really take days off officially, but I love that I can sleep in or go on the coffee date with a friend, it’ll just mean that I’ll work later that night. During certain times of the year, it’s absolutely all consuming. It’s quite a rush!
Why did you create Diana Coatsworth Design?
Ooo, well, it’s a long story. I’ve been an actor, singer, dancer all my life. I’ve done theatre solidly for over 20 years. I taught myself how to sew in my late 20s. I really wanted to create something for in between my acting gigs, so I started to make handbags. I sold at artisans shows and some stores too. After 8 years, I ended that business. I really wanted to branch into making clothes, but I didn’t have the skill to do so. I really wanted to learn it all so I could talk with seamstresses, production managers, cutters and know my stuff. So, in 2014, I jumped back into full time school to learn. 16 months later I graduated and wasn’t ready to start my own business yet. So, I apprenticed at a local bridal designer and then worked in film/tv in wardrobe. After about a year, I really knew it was time to start. I wasn’t feeling quite ready still, but I did it anyways. One of a Kind Spring show was my first showcase of my work and I was thrilled with the response.
What successes has Diana Coatsworth Design enjoyed so far?
What is success? I’m making a living, designing and producing clothing in Canada. When so many fast fashion companies are ruling the market, I thankfully have many returning clients who appreciate the quality of Canadian made. I’m always looking forward and when I think I’m not getting places fast enough; I just have to look back at the last 2 years and I realize that I’ve achieved a massive amount in a short time frame.
I’ve had stylists reach out to dress tv hosts, red carpet, opening nights. I’ve collaborated with many brides & bridal parties to create original dresses for them. I’m selling in successful stores in Canada. Honestly, I think the fact that women have come back again and again to buy from me, that’s my biggest measure of success. I cherish these relationships and love to foster new ones too.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t wait till you’re ready, just start. You’ll figure it out as you go. You’ll never feel 100%.
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