We had the good fortune of connecting with Alissa Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alissa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After graduating from undergrad, I had every intention of becoming a custom bridal designer and while I still love to design and create clothes, I realized that what my city needed more than another custom designer was better access to the materials that allow us to create. This is when I discovered my passion for the creators in my community and that is when Donai Fabrics was born.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have always been driven by passion. My combined passion for creating and my hometown is what led me here, and I can’t wait to bring my complete vision to Kansas City. When I set out to start my career as a bridal designer, I noticed that there was something missing that kind of threw off my vision and process. I didn’t want to shop online for fabric every time I wanted to create a garment, and my competitors simply weren’t cutting it when it came to providing me with the materials I needed when I wanted them. I realized this was a problem that all designers in the city faced and I didn’t want anyone to have to go through that again, so I created a business that would solve that problem. Donai Fabrics is not just another fabric store in my eyes, but the potential for something greater. Kansas City used to be the second biggest in clothing manufacturing, and I think there is potential for that again, especially as the desire for domestic manufacturing continues to grow. This fabric store is just a small part of a bigger vision that I plan to bring to life.

This business was birthed during the shutdown, so I have had to pivot so many times. But you know what they say about what doesn’t kill you. It has allowed me to come up with a unique traveling business model as I wait to see what happens with the pandemic before opening a store front. This was somewhat inspired by the renaissance era, which happens to be one of my favorites. Back then it was common for fabric sellers to travel to their customers. Traveling businesses are also on a rise, so this is the perfect time to introduce this to consumers, especially since things are still somewhat up in the air with the pandemic. As I continue to prepare for my official launch, I reflect on my journey to here. I have met so many amazing people in the process of doing interviews and networking. From a young age, I wanted to be a designer, but I have found that sometimes the things you dream of are a minor part of a bigger picture and purpose.

While I still do custom design and garment creation for customers, I have found a way to unite two things I love into a passion project that has a greater purpose that I still have yet to fully comprehend. When you’re so focused on achieving your goals, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. That’s why I am somewhat thankful for the shutdown caused by the pandemic because it made me stop and think and now I am creating a foundation for something that I think designers in my city will be proud and appreciative of and that is what makes me the most proud.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love showing my friends the beauty of KC. Kansas City is full of talented artists and creatives, so I enjoy sharing that side of the city with others, so that would be the main goal. We’d start out the week visiting The Nelson, the Kemper Contemporary Art Museum, and/or the EthnicArt Gallery. We’d also have to fill the week with good food from some of my favorite restaurants. Mesob Restaurant, Wings ‘N Things, Peach Tree, M & M Bakery, The Canary, and RA Sushi are just a few on the list. Of course, a visit to KC isn’t complete without having some good BBQ. We have some amazing restaurants here, but nothing beats a BBQ get together in your own backyard, so a cookout will be a necessary part of the agenda. On the weekend, we’d kick it off with some good jazz, which I am also a huge fan of. I love going to 18th & Vine, Green Lady Lounge, or the Phoenix, to listen to local artists. Mercury Lounge and Monarch Bar are also good places to go for a chill night out. The rest of the weekend we’d start with brunch at the American Reserve, Eggtc., or Room 39 and then hit the town and see what we get into. I love having spontaneous nights in the city. Those always turn out to be some of the best nights and memories. That will probably lead us to Society, somewhere on Westport, or at the Power & Light District. All are a guaranteed good time. After a night of bar hopping, it is only right to grab a burger & tots from Town Topic. On Sunday, especially this time of year, the day would consist of tailgating at Arrowhead and then heading inside to catch a Chiefs game. There’s something special about being at a home game with a stadium full of Kansas City Chiefs fans. There’s nothing like it.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without the support and inspiration of my family and friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Everyday, you all motivate me in your own ways to push the bar and go after my goals. I am blessed and couldn’t be more grateful to be where I am and to have you all in my life.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alissadonai/

Other: https://www.instagram.com/donaifabrics/

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