Naning Colyer had a knack for dressmaking from a young age.
“My mum and auntie are dressmakers, it’s definitely in the family,” she said.
“Don’t ask me to cook – I will burn the kitchen. Just give me scissors and a needle and I can make something. I began when I was very little and I came to Australia 27 years ago from Indonesia.
“I studied in Box Hill in Melbourne and wanted to learn the language of fashion. When I came, I didn’t know all the right words.”
Mrs Colyer worked in Melbourne for 25 years before marrying Damien Colyer of Horsham and moving to the Wimmera two years ago.
“First Business Horsham helped me – Wendy Mitchell, Andrea Cross and Pauline Smith helped me set up. I also had help with Facebook and advertising,” she said.
Mrs Colyer originally worked from her home but after increased demand she decided to rent a shop on Pynsent Street. Her business is called Horsham Smart Fit Tailoring and Design.
“I did everything from home. My lounge room became a display room, my garage was the work room and the shed became a storeroom,” Mrs Colyer said.
“Word of mouth in a country town is important. Facebook works really well too. People know each other and talk and they told others to come to me. It became too much and I needed more space. There was a shop for rent so I enquired and that’s how it started.
“It was always a dream to have a shop. I looked around but this was just nice. It’s not too big and I like the location.”
Mrs Colyer said she specialises in wedding dresses and special occasion wear.
“Alterations are my main business but I also make dresses and bridal dresses from scratch,” she said.
“I really like doing dresses and special occasion wear, but I also do every day wear and suits too.”
Although Mrs Colyer enjoys the slower pace of life in Horsham, the rural location does pose some challenges.
“The hardest thing about living in Horsham is I have to drive to Melbourne once every few weeks to get stock and fabric,” she said.
“I like working in Horsham because people are friendly, everyone knows each other and I find they are more patient than people in Melbourne.
“At the moment I am just working by myself. Because it’s only me I might take a bit longer, but people understand and are happy to wait for quality.”
As a dressmaker, being a perfection comes with the job.
“I don’t want to be too big because it’s hard too find an assistant that works like me,” she said. “I am very much a perfectionist, you have to be.”