Creating Pint Sized Couture

In the backyard with her keiki and one of her creations. Coco Zickos photos

Gina Fern
Owner of Pint Sized

Please tell us about your business.

Pint Sized is my clothing business. I primarily create clothes for children from 6 months to 4T. What is especially fun about designing kids’ clothes is you can go crazy with colors. I am also launching a clothing line for adults, sizes small to 1X. My pieces are for anybody who has a fun attitude about clothes. I started the business in 2009 and have two accounts, one here at Crush Boutique in Kapa’a, and one in California.

How did this business get started?

I started doing kids’ clothes when I was pregnant with my first child. Some women nest during that time, but I liked to craft. I went crazy – I was making diapers, diaper wipes and doing all these different things and I just started making baby clothes. Then I began making clothes for both of my children, Koko and Sachie, and then it just got to the point where I wanted to keep making them. I wanted to feed my habit – my love for textiles and fabrics – and the only way I could support that was to find a way to make money with it.

Why did you start this business?

The main reason I started it was to see if I could do it. I made cute clothes for my kids and people were giving me compliments, so I wanted to see if I could actually run a business.

Gina Fern hard at work at her home in Wailua

Where do you get your fabrics?

I get my fabrics everywhere, from Vicky’s on Kaua’i to online.

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

Seeing people happy with the clothes for their kids. They get so excited and their kids look really cute. Just to know that someone really appreciates your craftsmanship, that’s what’s most rewarding.

How has business been for you so far?

Really busy – intensely busy. It’s been great. It’s been a lot of work, but I’m really grateful.

Where did you learn to sew?

I went to a design school, FIDM, in California.

What is the most challenging aspect of your business?

Really being true to yourself as a designer. When people ask you to make something, but it’s not how you would normally design something or it’s not your particular aesthetic, it is hard to say no because you want to make money and please your customers. So it’s really hard to know your aesthetic as a designer and to stay true to that and really try to please people at the same time.

What advice would you give small-business owners?

Have a real vision of what you want your business to be. The mistake that I made when I started is that I thought of it as a hobby rather than a business. But as a small-business person now three years later, I wish that I had a better vision of how to map out or project how much money I wanted to make and how much it would cost me. It’s well-worth your time to do something like that. If you want your business to be really successful, you have to do the math.

What makes you get up every day and create clothing?

I dream about it. Whenever I’m asleep, I think about clothes. I dream about different fabrics and when I wake up, making clothes is the first thing I want to do.

What are your plans for the future of this business?

This month, May 16, I will be part of a fashion show where I will officially launch my adult line. The event will be held at Trees Lounge and the show will start at 7 p.m. Other than that, I haven’t really thought about the long-term future for this business because I want the show on May 16 to be something I’m really proud of. So, I’m only looking that far ahead right now.

Do you have a philosophy or business motto?

My philosophy with clothing is to have fun. I hope that’s what my clothes convey. Have fun – that’s the most important thing.