Maybe By Catalfo was created by Sarah Catalfo, an emerging Canadian designer, who’s fun and playful designs are a thorough reflection of her personality. This sweet and spunky girl is no stranger to the fashion world and her story is an inspiring one! It’s the kind of story that makes you want to take a chance on yourself. Those are the ones that turn out to be the most rewarding after all. I had the great opportunity to meet Sarah and learn more about her story and her brand “Maybe by Catalfo”.
Growing up in Orillia, Ontario, Sarah always felt the need to be different and stand out. She explained to me that the Fashion scene in her town was pretty one dimensional and no one really took risks or expressed themselves through fashion in the way that she felt the need to. Fashion was more than just putting clothes on. It was a way of life, a way to express herself. She was the type of girl that would rock of pair of great stilettos and red crinoline to third period Math, without even batting an eye. Very Pretty in Pink-esque if you will! Being a risk taker from a very young age, taking the risk to pursue a career in the fashion industry was second nature to her. “I wasn’t sure about fashion as it was a risky industry to get into. I went to school for Fashion Management and got hired as an assistant buyer. I learned a great deal there but I wasn’t being fulfilled. I had to go back to my roots and at least try my hand at designing.”
Designing has always been a passion of Sarah’s. She began designing right in the comfort of her own home as most designers do. Printing out blank Archie comics and creating fun designs for Betty and Veronica, was one of her favourite things to do as a youth. Her actual career in design however, really started when the time came to find a dress for her 10th grade semi formal. She decided she wanted something unique that no one else would have. As any girl would, she evoked the help of her mother, who had always been an amazing seamstress, and the end result turned out exactly the way she wanted. Her mother, who worked a full time job and still found the time to make that beautiful dress for her daughter then said, “Alright, now next time you’re making your own!”
Sarah loved the idea; to be able to wear something that was genuinely hers lit a spark in her heart and the rest was history. “After that I started working at Fabricland, so I learned a lot of old lady tricks and learned a lot about fabric that I was never taught in school. Looking back it was a great move. To this day, I have to be around fabrics to get inspired.” As the years progressed, Sarah created dresses for herself and even went on to work on a freelance basis, creating dresses for others who took a liking to her unique designs. She has even designed for the famous Canadian artist Lights, who wore a Maybe by Catalfo dress to the 2009 Juno Awards!
The Maybe Story
What is the story behind the sweet and simple name “Maybe”?
It really started as a school project. The assignment was to create your own line, with all the details that a real line would need. It was a very creative project. I knew I wanted to make dresses but I thought about naming it “Catalfo” since no one has that name. But I came across the word “Maybe” and it really struck a chord and grew on me. It reminded me of classic foot pop like “maybe ill go out with you”, “maybe ill go to the school dance”, that kind of cutesy feel. It has now evolved from that, into a more sophisticated feel, catering to everyone from young girls to young women.
As such a young designer I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy road. What obstacles have you had to face and overcome to get where you are today?
Everything from being at work and feeling like, “is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Why am I doing this?”. A huge obstacle was getting caught in a full time job, how do you adjust a stable life to that of an entrepreneur? Making that transition was hard but it fell into place. I take it as: whatever happened was meant to be and it was a huge blessing that I was able to make that transition. I saw people who were older and stuck in jobs that they hated. I didn’t want that to be me. There will always be challenges when starting a business, obstacles don’t discourage me. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing well, if anything it means you’re doing things right.
The Choose Your Charity Program is a very admirable thing to take part in. What made you want to take part in such a philanthropic endeavor?
I didn’t want to start promoting Maybe without looking at the bigger picture. To be able to impact something bigger and put it towards these efforts that are for a good cause is important to me. Success is not about how much we make. Essentially, I want to make more dresses so that I’m able to make bigger donations. I want the Maybe girls to feel like they were helping the world. It’s great to work with local charities for fashion. It always keeps you aware and appreciative of all the things you have. At the end of the year I look back and I realize how all these little efforts made a big difference and it puts things into perspective. Clients and customers have things that are dear to their hearts and if they care about it, we want to show that we care too.
The Luevo Collection
All of your dresses are very unique and portray a completely different style. What inspirations did you draw on to create this collection available on the Luevo website?
What really inspired me was the fabrics, it’s always the fabrics that inspire me and inspire the dresses I make. Each fabric could be for a different girl, each colour could be for a different girl. The collection is something so diverse that you could wear every one for a different life event. The day to day outfits you can make from them are countless. I wanted party wear but also something easy to wear. I’m always looking for a reason to dress up and it’s better to be given a reason and to have fun with what you wear!
Describe the “Maybe Girl”, who is she to you?
The Maybe girl doesn’t care if she gets attention as long as its the right attention. The Maybe girl is reminiscent of the young me; flirty, fun, not afraid to take a risk or have fun with fashion. When I was in school, my friends and I would go to American Apparel, get something great and go out just to be able to show off that new outfit! That’s what the Maybe Girl embodies. She’s carefree, she doesn’t take life too seriously, and that’s why she likes to have fun with what she wears because as long as she feels beautiful in what she’s wearing, that’s all that matters.
What is your favourite dress on the Luevo website right now?
I don’t have a favourite! I would need them all in my wardrobe. Date night, party, day to night, they are all necessities.
Sarah Catalfo’s story is one that embodies perseverance. It’s okay to take a risk if it’s for something you truly believe in and what’s more important than believing in yourself? You could end up with everything you want and more, as long as you’re willing to work for it.
This article was written by Angie. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie