Annie's Styles and Stitches
By Sandie Tillery
A Stitch In TimeMay 2016
Story by Sandie Tillery
Photos by Jeannine Hendrickson
Annie Schwenning has reinvented herself. A busy mom and wife for 30 years, she stayed at home while her two boys were little, went to work when they went to school and set her sights on becoming a teacher. At some point, a new vision started to take root. All her home haircuts, sewing and crafting projects and her compassion for others seemed to lead her in a new direction.
A seed had been planted and in the past four years has taken root for her growing business venture, Annie’s Styles and Stitches, located in the heart of Palo Cedro. After working in the public school system for many years, Schwenning’s love for the students, hearing about their joys and heartaches, gave her the idea to open a formal-wear rental business. She wanted to have a place where girls could find high-end party dresses and gowns for a price they could afford, so every girl could attend the prom and feel beautiful.
But she wasn’t content to just rent pretty clothes and dressy shoes. Schwenning wanted to provide a full range of services for the girls. She earned her cosmetology license while building her business and now offers her services along with others who rent space in her shop. A nail technician, an aesthetician specializing in waxing and facials, and three hair stylists share space in the rear of the business where her vision of a “one-stop shop” has become a reality.
Annie’s Styles and Stitches now stocks an ever-growing and changing inventory of formalwear, from prom dresses to cocktail and bridesmaid dresses. Schwenning has added tuxedo rentals to her menu of services.
Schwenning grew up sewing with her mom, who was an accomplished seamstress. Now two assistants help her with sewing services that include alterations, piecework, custom projects and costuming. This year she will work with Kids Unlimited to help make costumes. She loves “bizarre” jobs for out-of-the-box thinkers. She often works with a local clothing designer, helping with new creations and others who need mass-produced specialty items such as bow ties. She says, “If it can be sewn or fixed in any way, I can do it.”
But her favorite projects have grown into their own niche in Schwenning’s business. She and her team love to pamper brides and their wedding parties. She has occasionally closed the shop for private use as she and the others tend to the wedding party from head to foot, providing champagne and gourmet treats while transformations take place. One of the stylists is also a Cordon Bleu-trained chef who shares his culinary skills with customers.
Originally located in the landmark windmill in the Palo Cedro mall, Annie’s Styles and Stitches recently moved into a nearby space with more room for the growing business. She dreams of adding a gift shop with accessories and handcrafted items.
Schwenning belongs to a “Mastermind Group,” a concept first defined by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900s in his renowned book, “Think and Grow Rich.” Schwenning’s is a select and intimate group of women in business who encourage, collaborate and troubleshoot, helping each other become dynamic and innovative in their business practices. The idea blossomed from collaborative partnerships and has grown into another part of Schwenning’s vision, to support others as they build their own businesses. It is important to her to create a fun and creative environment for those with whom she works and customers who walk through her door. She’s an entrepreneur who wants to help others realize their dreams as she lives out her own.
Annie’s Styles and Stitches
9340 Deschutes Road, Palo Cedro
(530) 227-3403 • www.anniesstylesandstitches.com