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December 6, 2017
Authentic: Juanita Johnson
Step inside Juanita’s Design, and be met at the door by the spunky, stylish, and sassy Juanita Johnson who is famous around Columbia for her sewing and tailoring expertise. From bridal gowns to evening gowns, and everything in between, Juanita has been working with a needle and thread since she was 13 years old.
“It’s a gift that I knew early on what I wanted to do,” Juanita said. “Some people live all of their lives without ever knowing. If you’re good at it, and you like it, that’s a gift.”
Taught by her grandmother, Juanita has spent over six decades working with people in Columbia and helping them dress to look and feel their best. She’s a people person and is thankful to be able to work with so many people throughout our community. But most of all, she loves to work with brides on their wedding dresses.
“My favorite part is just creating and tailoring the dresses,” Juanita said. “And when I finish, I love all of the hugs and kisses that I get as the girls walk out the door with their dress. I love working with people, and they’re not going to hug and kiss on you if they don’t like the dress you’ve made for them.”
Juanita began her business in her home over 40 years ago, with customers stopping by the backdoor on Sunday afternoons, and has been operating out of a shop on Main Street in downtown Columbia for the last 30 years. But when the building she worked out of on Main Street became too derelict to be a functional shop, she had to think about where to move next. It was a simple decision in the end. She moved less than two blocks away to the corner of Assembly and Washington.
“People will come to me, people come from all over,” Juanita said. “This is my home, and I like it here. Columbia is growing and I don’t need to be anywhere else but here.”
Sewing and tailoring, often times for several generations of the same family, has been a part of Juanita’s life for over 60 years. If it’s up to her, it’ll be a part of her life for a while longer.
“It’s not hard,” Juanita said. “It’s like breathing, it’s that easy. As long as I can breathe, see, and my hands work, I’ll be sewing.”
Visit Juanita’s new location at 1110 Washington Street!