AAQHC Tradeshow: Show Clothes Unlimited (2015)
written by Barbara Aitken

October 15th, 2015

By: Barbara Aitken

In the mists of a tradeshow surrounded by ready-made show clothing, a small booth in Congress Hall guarantees Show Clothes Unlimited.

Pegg Johnson, of Brown City, Michigan, started sewing show clothing as a youth exhibitor and continued sewing when her children competed at local shows. That is where Johnson noticed she was in the minority. “People were asking me to make their children’s show clothes.”

After realizing she possessed a talent, Johnson began going to tradeshows with her new business, Show Clothes Unlimited, where she specialized in western show clothes. People could go to Johnson and design a custom made garment at an affordable price. “But while I was at tradeshows, [customers] started asking where they could find the rhinestones or the fabric.”

“I realized that people didn’t know how to sew their own show clothes and it was hard to find patterns and rhinestones so they could do it themselves. There were [also] people who knew how to sew, but they just didn’t know where to find the supplies.”

Johnson started to develop a line of DVDS and books for instructions to follow along step-by-step using the patterns she used, while simultaneously offering the patterns, rhinestones, and other supplies for sale.

Johnson believes that a home sewer who puts the time into a garment and possesses the talent to design can make a world class or Congress type garment. “You can build up with it. You can start simple and add embellishment as you go,” added Johnson.

“My clientele is normally the 4-H mom, the entry level and open show people just starting out in the show world.”

In order to keep up with the most recent styles and fads, Johnson subscribes to magazines that feature top of the line show clothing. “I’m always watching what designers do in the industry. I’m not a trendsetter, but a facilitator of the trends. If I know heavy crystals are in style, I will supply those. Whatever is ‘in’, I will have it in stock.”

The All American Quarter Horse Congress (AAQHC) is the only trade show that Show Clothes Unlimited attends each year. “Why not?” said Johnson on the decision to make the AAQHC her only trade show destination. “As far as I know, I am the only [vendor] who has the rhinestones, patterns and designs.”

The rest of the year, Johnson travels around Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and New York to sewing retreats as a personal instructor to teach people how to sew their own show clothing.

Johnson is confident that anyone is able to create their own show clothing for as little as $60. “Everyone has to start somewhere and they might as well start with me!”

For more information, please visit www.showclothesunlimited.com.