We learn more about the talented designer, Maya Charbin, in our Modern Entrepreneur profile. With decades of experience and an impressive resume, she still holds true to her motto of her creations being "heart made and hand finished!"
1. What appeals to you most about your unique signature “Versatile silhouettes” style?
I believe my signature, was born out of a need, a need to be able to dress up or dress down. Every woman needs a versatile piece in her closet.
2. How long have you been a designer for?
I launched my label Maya Charbin in the year 2014, but really, I’ve been designing all my life. I learnt how to sew when I was a kid. I remember waiting for my mom to take her afternoon naps so I could use her sewing machine. That was me as an eight year old and I’ve never looked back since.
3. What's the most rewarding part of your career?
I love designing clothes, it gives me happiness, but nothing can compare to the feeling when I see a client try on one of my pieces and I see the satisfaction in her eyes. I make her special occasion even better because she’s able to look great and feel great about herself. She gets addicted to this “special” feeling and comes back for more.
4. What was your first reaction upon learning that Mayor Crombie would be wearing one of your designs?
I was absolutely elated at the fact that she was genuinely interested in my designs and wanted me to dress her in my vision. Being an entrepreneur, its a great feeling, having someone support you and trust you like she does me.
5. What are some of the obstacles you've faced in your career?
I feel the biggest challenge I faced was when I moved to Canada with my family from Lebanon in 2014 and obviously, I didn’t know anyone. But also, nobody knew me. Back home, I had built a regular client base over the years. This meant going back to the starting point. I wasn’t too sure I’d be able to do it because I knew I wanted to establish myself as a designer here.
6. How did you overcome them?
The first thing I did was launch my label to be able to sell my designs. I started working hard on a collection, to be presented in April 2015. In the meantime, I attended as many public events I could, wearing my pieces, being the face of my own brand. And people started approaching me and talking to me, they saw my unique outfits and would want to know about it. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I feel putting myself out there really helped.
7. Do you have a favourite design you've created?
Yes! This one:
8. Do you do custom designs?
Yes I do. I even encourage my clients to come forward and bring their own ideas to me so together we can create †he outfit of her dreams.
9. What are you most proud of in your years as a designer?
I have been designing clothes ever since I was a kid, and I had always wanted to become a professional. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to a design school. But my dream never died and after having two kids, I decided to go back to school and enrolled into a fashion degree program which was backbreaking but totally worth it as I graduated with honours and my kids got to see me walk the stage as I collected my degree. What makes me proud is that my kids look up to me as a positive inspiration, as someone who struggled and achieved what she wanted.
10. What advice do you have for up and coming designers?
Don’t be afraid to think out-of-the box and put yourself out there.
11. Is there anything you would have done differently along your career path?
There’s so many things that we wish we could change, or would have done differently, but all of them would result in something different. I ‘m happy with where all the years of hard work has got me and I wouldn’t do it any differently.