Rebekah Moody’s love for design began at a young age…six in fact! She learned to sew under the tutelage of her mother, and the seeds sown have now become a thriving business. Southern Loom, Moody’s design business, located in the Boonsboro Shopping Center in Lynchburg, is the space in which she works with fabrics and designs new and beautiful creations from the materials around her.
Since 2014, when the Southern Loom storefront opened, the business has steadily outgrown its space to where Moody will be launching a new warehouse location called Southern Provision Company, a destination for fabulous finds while also maintaining her current storefront. The space, scheduled to open in 2016, is located on Langhorne Road across from E.C. Glass High School.
The warehouse was saved from demolition, and several improvements are being made to make the area another destination for the Lynchburg community. Along with Southern Provisions, there are plans to add a café, courtyard and other shops to increase public appeal and provide an inviting atmosphere.
It’s hard to believe that Moody’s business has grown to where it is today considering its first location was in her basement just a few short years ago. Even more surprising is her path to entrepreneurship. Moody’s educational background is not in business; she earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology at Carroll College in Wisconsin. “Quite honestly, I didn’t ever consider design for a degree,” Moody said. “I didn’t even know that there was a degree that you could get in design. My mom was a single mother—a school teacher—so it just wasn’t the way that I was brought up. When I was 16 years old, I talked my mom into redoing the carpet in my room from mauve to a creamy white, so…I was always improving my spaces, but I didn’t even realize that [design] was something that I could get into.”
For 10 years after college graduation, Moody sold real estate, which helped her realize that she had a desire to design homes by creating livable spaces and classic interiors. After moving to Lynchburg, Moody wanted to get back into sewing, so she took her old Singer sewing machine to Mr. Hackman, owner of Sew Simple on Fort Avenue, and he fixed it up for her. During this same time, Moody’s grandparents’ estate was being settled, and instead of letting all of the doilies and old fabrics that her grandmother had go to waste, Moody took them home with her and started creating fresh new pieces from these seemingly old and useless materials. From that point on, Moody knew she wanted to pursue design full time.
When Moody started Southern Loom in 2010, she found many of her interests—refurbishing furniture, painting, visiting estate places—were infringing on the core of her business, which was interior design and using fabrics to renovate spaces. Moody decided to cut out these extra interests to focus on developing the essence of her business. As Moody’s business grew to where it was producing enough clientele and income, only then could she afford to reintroduce those items.
Specialization and focus on craft are two tenets that Moody clung to. As a business, she says, “You can’t be everything to everyone. You can’t do everything yourself.
And so, outside of capital, knowing what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and then really being able to focus on the strengths, [that] has been the key to our success.”
Since the early years, 2010 to 2013, when Southern Loom was still located in her basement, Moody’s husband, Allen, has been a large part of the support system that has motivated her. She is a proponent of the philosophy that the success of a business is more than just the figurehead of a company; part of that success is attributed to the family, friends and coworkers who stand behind him or her.
“In order for someone to be successful in business, or successful in their occupation, they have to have somebody behind them who is supporting them and cheering them on, who’s picking up all of those other pieces,” Moody said. “However good that person is behind them is equally how good the person is who is out in front. Probably the best advice [Allen] gives me, is every day he tells me not to quit.”
Many of Moody’s mentors are women like herself who manage their own businesses here in Lynchburg. “[As women], we want to be the perfect mothers, the perfect wives, the perfect homemakers, the perfect businesswomen, and at the end of the day, there’s not enough time to be perfect at all of those things.” Moody believes that sacrifices must be made because perfection is not realistic.
Moody has also been a vocal supporter of the local chapter of the ATHENA Awards, an annual international program that honors businesswomen and promotes leadership balance worldwide. In 2012 she spoke at the annual event about her experience as a female business owner in the region. This year Moody served on the selection panel to recognize the 2015 recipients. These initiatives are important to her because they support businesswomen through communal recognition and inspire them to reach their full potential.
In explaining what sets Southern Loom apart, Moody says, “We are so different from other design companies because the client comes to us, and we facilitate the design process for them versus telling them ‘This is what you have to do in your space.’”
Moody’s attitude is what draws back repeat clients and empowers them to be involved in the design process. Her customers voice their desires through custom online orders and her creations are sold to clients all over the world.
Even if Moody believes that a client’s curtains should be an inch or two off the ground, if the client wants the curtains to be a half-inch off the floor, then that is what the client is going to get. Her opinion is irrelevant to the client’s overall happiness with the finished product.
“You have to give [the client] what they want,” Moody laughingly exclaimed, “It’s their home!”
By Sarah Bryant