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For Pretty Tough Entrepreneur, the Sarah Center Offers Path to Success

Lanesia in front of two of her creations

When Lanesia Berney was facing one of the toughest challenges of her life, she knew she’d need a strong support system to help her stay on track and become the person she was meant to be.

Her lifelong love of fashion inspired her to search for a sewing class to occupy her time and her mind. A Google search led her to the Sarah Center at St. Francis Seraph Ministries. Now, the Sarah Center is leading Lanesia to the life she’s always dreamed of.

“This is who I am. This is who I’ve always been,” Lanesia says. “The Sarah Center just really homes in on my confidence and gives me the push to keep going forward. I’ve always been dedicated and persistent and hardworking. I just need a team, a group of positive people, so I can really see my dreams come true.”

Not long ago, Lanesia’s future was uncertain. She had been incarcerated. When she was released in 2020, it was difficult to find a job. She knew she needed a productive outlet for her energy and creativity.

“Instead of trying to go through something, I decided to just go over it and make my own way,” Lanesia says. That’s how Pretty Tough Apparel was born.

Lanesia’s fashion brand sells clothing and accessories, including items she upcycles using skills she’s learned in the Sarah Center’s #Stitched# and #Stitched# 2.0 classes. Lanesia enjoys scouring thrift stores in search of pieces she can “remix” and turn into something new. At the Sarah Center, she has also learned how to create new clothing using commercial patterns.

Her passion for upcycling began in high school. Her family didn’t have the money to keep up with all the latest fashion trends. So, Lanesia found her own way to stay stylish.

As for her brand’s name, Lanesia explains: “To go forward in your true self as a female is where the pretty comes from. But life is not always pretty, and sometimes things are going to get tough. So, just look your best while doing it. Just throw it on and you’ll be OK.”

These days, Lanesia isn’t just OK — she’s thriving! She’s working on a website for her business while selling through Instagram (@PrettyToughApparel). The Sarah Center has helped connect her to pop-up shops, as well.

Once she completes #Stitched# 2.0, Lanesia plans to continue coming to the Sarah Center to perfect her craft. She grew up in Over-the-Rhine, so finding a life-changing resource right in her own community means the world to her. She’s proud that her neighbors see her doing something positive with her life.

“The Sarah Center has given me that flame, that oomph, that I needed,” Lanesia says. “I’m just blossoming. Eventually, I’m going to be like a big bouquet. I really want to make my brand big. In a month, six months, a year, I’m going to have what I need. My dreams are going to be accomplished.”