Sydney Pearson: Discovered Student Talent


Senior Sydney Pearson has a popular sewing business that she runs from her basement

There’s a small office in the basement of Sydney Pearson’s house. It was empty for as long as Sydney could remember. Maybe a desk, some old clothes in the closet, and a computer that was older than the house itself. It wasn’t until about seven years ago when that useless room would be where Sydney would spend most of her time in the years to come.

Sydney Pearson, an 18-year-old senior at Hopkinton High School, has a talent that many kids her age do not. Sydney has transformed that old office into her sewing studio for her small business; “Sydney’s Shorts”.

Sydney’s mom gave her her first sewing machine when she was in middle school. She didn’t ask for the sewing machine, and really didn’t have much interest in sewing at all, yet she taught herself how to sew anyway. It only took Sydney about a day to be able to make simple clothing, she tested her new styles on her stuffed animals. Quickly, this became an everyday hobby for Sydney and she was able to go from simple stitching to more complex clothing and hemming in a short matter of time.

As Sydney got older, she stopped wanting to make clothes for dolls and began making them for herself. She altered her own clothing frequently, adding designs and fun stitching onto jeans, shorts, and skirts. As Sydney began to wear her new customized clothing, her friends noticed, and they loved it. So much so, that Sydney’s friends wanted her to alter their own clothes, specifically shorts.

“It was a little weird at first, this was really just something I liked to do when I was bored that turned into having piles of shorts from people that I needed to design. It wasn’t too bad at first when it was only a few of my friends, but after the first 10 pairs, I realized I should probably be charging people for this,” Pearson said.

As soon as Sydney realized how many people were interested in her work, she figured she might as well get something out of it. Sydney decided to turn her talent into a business; charging customers to get their shorts, jeans, and skirts customized. However, Sydney didn’t exactly know how to make this transition. She turned to a good friend of hers, Liv Rosen, for some help.

Liv graduated from Hopkinton High School last year and is currently a Freshman at Indiana University. Liv also has a talent in sewing and followed a similar path that Sydney did. Liv turned her talent into a business called “Sew Cute by Liv.”

“I knew Liv pretty well from school and track. She had always been a role model to me and when I started to get serious about sewing I knew she would be the perfect person to ask for help,” Pearson said.

Liv helped Sydney with the first steps of starting her business. Liv pointed out how social media is the easiest and quickest way to get her business out to new customers.

Sydney created an Instagram account to help get the business off its feet. She called it “@sydneysshorts” and began to post some of the work she had done to her own clothing and the few designs she had done for her friends as well. To her surprise, the account became very popular. Friends and other classmates from the high school began to follow her and request designs. Sydney figured she wouldn’t be making too much money if she only ever did custom orders, so she began to design her own clothing to sell on top of custom orders. She sold items priced anywhere between $15.00 to $30.00

“Helping to get Syd’s business going was easy. Syd knew exactly what she wanted and had all her ideas, she just needed that push to start. I think after telling her about some of my experience with Sew Cute she felt more confident going into her own business,” Rosen said.

After a few months, Sydney brought a new idea to her business. Sydney had done a lot of designs with shorts and jeans, but she decided to try out something new. Sydney first tested her idea on her own clothing. Sydney liked to design while keeping in mind that she would never want to sell something that she didn’t want to wear herself.

“I found an old pair of some light washed jeans. They didn’t fit me anymore and would likely just be going into the trash. So, I cut them up and sewed them into a skirt. It really wasn’t hard at all and the skirt was awesome. An old pair of jeans are perfectly worn in and the design fit perfectly,” Pearson said.

Sydney advertised her new skirts on her Instagram account and quickly received request after request for orders.

“Obviously I couldn’t provide all the jeans I needed for the skirts, so I asked the customers who ordered them to bring me a pair of old jeans they didn’t wear anymore. I then turned whatever jeans they brought into their skirt along with any embroidering or designs they wanted on it,” Pearson said.

Sydney was able to make the skirts quickly and charged $35.00 each.

One of Sydney’s loyal customers, Lizzie Braunstein, has always been pleased with Sydney’s work.

“The skirt I bought from Syd is still one of my favorite skirts. I bought it over a year ago and it’s in great condition. I love when people ask me where I got it and I can say my friend made it, it’s pretty cool,” Braunstein said.

Soon after, Sydney wanted to add something else to the business. Everything had been selling well and she knew she could add something to push the business one step further. At this point in time, Sydney’s two sisters, Sarah and Stephanie, were headed to college. Sydney noticed how much of their college’s apparel the girls were buying. Sydney would always hear them talk about how they wanted cute tops for tailgates and sporting events. So, Syd headed down to the sewing machine and started to work.

Sydney created a simple design that was comfortable, good quality, and cheap. She created a tube top that tied in the back out of an old Patriots t-shirt. Sydney realized how easy this would be to make these tops for anyone’s college of choice. When she showed Sarah and Stephanie, they immediately gave her two t-shirts with their school’s logo on it and Sydney started sewing.

The tops were a huge hit and all of Sarah and Stephanie’s friends wanted one. Sydney made dozens of these tube tops for college students. Today, she’s excited to start making them for herself and her friends as they are all graduating this Spring.  

“I’ve really loved having this hobby over the years. Sewing is honestly therapeutic to me and creating designs for other people was really cool. I likely won’t be bringing my sewing machine to college, but I’ll continue to sew outside of high school no doubt,” Pearson said.

Sydney never could have imagined how teaching herself how to sew seven years ago would affect her life so much. Sydney hopes to continue sewing and creating clothing in the future, even if it’s not apart of her high school business.