Local boutique helps send students back to school Panther style

By NIKKI SMITH,

With the start of school just around the corner, one Petal native is helping residents go back to school and attend Panther sporting events in style.

Suzannah Ledford, owner of Oh Suzannah’s, is offering a variety of Petal-themed tops and hats to get every Panther fan ready for kick-off.

Ledford also monograms school uniforms as well.

The children’s boutique features children’s clothing, embroidered items and gifts.

She got her start in embroidery about five years ago.

“It kind of came out of nowhere,” she said. “But it’s going well.”

Ledford has always had a knack for crafty creations. Her first business, Itzy Tripzy Baby, was featured on the Today Show website shortly after she got her start creating custom door hangers for hospital delivery rooms.

With the success of her Etsy shop, Ledford continued dabbling in other areas and developing her craft. She then gave up her job as an accountant in the City of Petal and made her side project her full-time job to meet the demands of orders.

“I began selling my stuff on Etsy, but it was always my dream to have a storefront,” Ledford said.

She always knew that she would want to keep her business in Petal, where she was born and raised.

“I wanted to keep my store here. No question,” Ledford said. Ledford is a 2003 graduate of Petal High School and long-time resident of the city.

Starting out, she did not necessarily plan to open a children’s store. She just wanted to have a store of her own to begin with. That was until the birth of her daughter, Rainey, who will turn two in July.

“I became obsessed with little girl’s clothes when she turned one,” she said, which is what led to her pursuing the option of opening a children’s boutique.

The doors of Oh Suzannah’s were officially opened on Nov. 1, 2016.

While she did not continue with her accounting career, Ledford said she is glad for her degree in the field, which she said provided her the ideal background for opening a business.

Ledford said she mostly stocks her store with items she finds online. However, she has also travelled to markets in Jackson. She aims to offer a variety of styles and sizes for children ages newborn to 5 years old. She also has a tween line for girls available as well.

However, most of her business comes from those seeking custom embroidered items, whether that be something they picked up in the store or something they brought in to add a unique touch.

She carries many blank clothing items that can be embroidered to add a monogram, number or a small image to make it unique to the customer. On any given week she could have about 20 to 30 projects to work on.

Ledford said her most popular item for embroidery is any type of hat, hands down. She offers floppy beach hats and plain baseball caps, which are complete with the new owner’s monogram embroidered on it.

Ledford said if someone comes in and is unsure about a design idea, she said she is able to work with them to come up with something.

“If I can get it on the machine, we’re good,” she said.

Shirts for children’s birthdays are a common request. Ledford says she has also created matching family shirts for Disney World trips as well.

Some of her other best selling items are gem jam bracelets, which are sparkly, colorful bracelets made to fit young girls, and bows that Ledford makes herself. Her bows come in a variety of sizes and colors. She also takes orders for custom bows.

Ledford also takes a lot of orders for vinyl monograms. She can apply these to just about any item, and she accepts outside items as well.

The price could range anywhere from $8 to $15 depending on the size of the monogram or the amount of items that are brought in.

Learning to sew was something Ledford’s sister helped her out with.

“My sister taught me to sew first,” she said. “Then I decided to buy an embroidery machine, and it took off from there.”

Ledford said she went through three small machines. After burning out the third one, she decided to purchase a six-needle machine. She now has two six-needle machines in her workroom at the back of the store.

“This is where all the magic happens,” Ledford said.

Every surface in her workroom is covered with thread of every color, fabric swatches of various patterns and projects in the works.

Ledford’s style is what she describes as over-the-top, so these are the types of items she seeks to stock up her store.

“I love lots of ruffles and bows and anything over the top,” she said.

Staying in Petal has had its advantages for Ledford.

“Everyone is so supportive,” she said. “We like to rally around each other.”

The opening of Oh Suzannah’s fell just before Shop Petal First, which Ledford said helped her get the word out about her new store.

Oh Suzannah’s is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Orders can be placed through her store Facebook page, on Etsy or in-store. Orders take anywhere from two to three days to a week, depending on the amount of items and how complex the design.