Chloe sews her way to success

Published 9:00am 5 June 2023

Chloe sews her way to success
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Chloe Alley may only be 16, but she already runs her own successful small business while juggling school and a part-time job.

The young entrepreneur is the founder and owner of By Chloe - an online business she launched in 2019 selling organic lavender heat wheats stitched in funky fabric patterns.

Chloe, who received her first sewing machine when she was 11, was inspired to start her own business after using a wheat-filled heat pack following a sports injury.

“I received a sewing machine from my grandparents and I didn’t even know how to sew,” Chloe says.

“My nanny likes to sew so she taught me a little bit. It was nice to learn from her.

“After a few lessons from nanny, the machine went into the cupboard and I forgot about it. But when I injured myself playing in a touch football competition, mum gave me a heat wheat to help with the pain and that’s when I joked about how I should make these and sell them.

“That’s when it all started, and I got the sewing machine back out. I got some materials together to make my own heat wheats and after some trial and errors, I started making them for family and friends.”

The Redcliffe State High School student now dedicates most of her spare time to working in her sewing room making orders for customers.

“Usually after school, I will start cutting the fabric and then I try and spend one day of the weekend sewing them together,” Chloe says.

“When all the material is cut, it can take me about 15 minutes to make one of the medium heat wheats.”

Chloe is very particular about the colours and fabrics she uses, ensuring there is something that appeals to all ages.

She is also passionate about giving back to her community, which is why she donates $1 from the sale of every organic heat wheat to an organisation that plants trees.

After winning the 2021 Future Anything Competition – a national program supporting high school entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into innovative and successful businesses – Chloe’s business has continued to grow.

Not only does she receive a steady stream of orders from her website, but she also has eight businesses in the Moreton Bay Region stocking her products.

Chloe also sells her mini, medium and long heat wheats at handmade markets across South East Queensland.

“I have an idea to start my own youth handmade markets for other young entrepreneurs in the area, so that is what I am currently working on,” Chloe says.

Chloe is speaking with authorities about the logistics of starting up the market including finding a suitable location, insurance and sponsorship.

She hopes the markets will also offer food trucks and live music.

Chloe also has plans to release a new product in the coming weeks.

“One of my stockists reached out to me and asked me if I could make eye pillows, so they have been using them in their salons with positive results,” Chloe says.

To see more photos of Chloe and her range of products, scroll through the gallery below. 

An inspiration to others

As part of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, Chloe was invited to be a guest speaker at the BPW Caboolture event.

Chloe was invited alongside Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll, real estate agent Hayley Van de Ven and BPW Australia President Jacqueline Graham.

“I was the youngest person on the panel and in the room,” Chloe says.

“It was very special to be invited there to talk.”

Chloe has also been named as a finalist in this year's Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards in the Telstra Award for Youth Innovation and Excellence.

The gala awards night will be held on July 7 at St Columban's College. 

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