After seven years in England, Holly Lee, owner of Edge Studio, moved back to the states and into Ahwatukee Foothills.
She has now been here for around two-and-a-half years. About a year ago her son, Mason, was diagnosed with Autism. It was right around the time that his little sister, Coco, had her first birthday. With the medical bills and special diet that Mason needed to be on, Lee did not know how she would make ends meet.
“I just started praying to see what I should do,” she said. “I needed to make extra money and not be away from my kids.”
During this time of worry and re-evaluation Lee was looking for a tutu for Coco’s birthday. She searched stores but the ones she found were either too “flimsy” or expensive.
“I got fed up and I just decided to try and make one,” Lee said, adding that she had never sewn before until she received her great-grandmother’s sewing machine. With the help of a family friend, Lee made Coco’s tutu.
This was in August of last year. Lee now has a Web site, www.thetutuchest.com, and multiple lines of tutus.
“It was totally meant to be and an answer to what I needed,” she said. “I made enough for his food, medical bills and even extra on the side.”
Lee said that once she started things just began to move very quickly. In her first line, all of the tutus were based on a specific girl. According to Lee, having a specific girl in mind for each tutu helped her a lot in picking out colors and schemes.
Lee, who also does hair, said that a lot of her clients have young daughters and often come to her for tutus. She offers custom tutus, along with those already available in her lines. Lee will be having a booth at this weekend’s Festival of Lights kick-off party, where her tutus will be on display and available for purchase.
People buy tutus for a variety of reasons and occasions, she said. Lee has had clients buy them for weddings, flower girls, birthday outfits, Halloween costumes, dance/recital wear and dress up. In fact, this past Halloween Lee made her first adult tutu for a co-worker.
One interesting aspect of Lee’s business is that she gives her customers a unique way to help those with Autism.
“When people buy my tutus they have the option of donating the cost of the tutu to a specific family with an autistic member,” she said.
“This has been great,” Lee added, “I was able to provide for Mason and Coco got her birthday tutu.”
To purchase tutus, either contact Lee via her Web site or call her at (480) 205-1702.
Brandi Bell is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.
(Correction: In a previous article the number for Holly Lee’s salon, Edge Studio, was printed wrong. We apologize for the mistake. The correct number is (480) 284-3621).