I was born in a small northern Estonian town Rakvere. I spent most of my childhood and school time summers with 2 talented and crafty dressmakers …my grandmother an my grand auntie, helping them with everything sewing related…and to no surprise picked up a fashion bug right from there. My keen interest for designing was enhanced by the daily observation of the creation of beautiful well-fitted clothing in at-home atelier and by the tender age of 16, I knew that my passion is sewing. In 1982, immediately after the middle school graduation I wasted no time and applied at the specialized technical high-school in Tallinn. In 1985 I graduated with honors and acquired a diploma in tailoring and footwear design.
Life sent some love my way and I became stay at home mom and wife at age 19. With plenty of time at hand, I kept my sewing machine humming and became a family dressmaker creating every imaginable piece of clothing for every family member. Word of my skills spread and I became a sought after local dressmaker.
In 1990 political opportunity took myself and my family of 4 to Italy. For a year and a half, I had an opportunity to live and work in Rome. While absorbing the beauty of fine fashion, design and fabrics, I had and exceptional chance to hone my sewing and language skills by working as a in-house dressmaker for a wealthy family.
In late 1991, a unique immigration opportunity landed me in Toronto, Canada where I wasted no time finding a job in the fashion district. After short period of time, I met Carol Beckford, wonderful young designer, who was searching for an ambitious dressmaker with solid European background to assist her in managing Studio A, an haute-couture clothing boutique on Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West area.For 8 successful years I was in charge for creating countless outfits for demanding Forest Hill neighborhood clientele, participated in numerous fashion shows and was featured in Toronto’s Breakfast Television.
After almost a decade, it became more clear that one of my fashion passion is creating one of a kind wedding gowns. An opportunity to get closer to my dream opened up, when I was offered to become a manager of the Bridal Boutique at The Hudson’s Bay Company flagship store on Queen Street in Toronto. This experience matched me up with many interesting individuals and gave me more direction and inspiration to explore another of my passions…the costume making!
2002 was a turning point again, when Jeffery Bridal opened its doors in Hamilton. I was offered an in-house wedding gown designer position that I accepted with excitement. With a wide array of skills, ambition and energy, I became an essential partner and creative director to stand behind and on behalf of the newest bridal shop operations. in 2010, to no surprise and as a logical continuation to pursue my dreams, I became the new owner of Jeffery Bridal by Merike.
With a passion for fashion it never stops for me. Design By Merike is a new label in progress. With this label my goal is to cater to the creative fashionista, to the person who equally loves tradition and craves uniqueness. I cater to the fantasies and whimsical desires of the those persons who dress, think and live outside of the box. I want my client to feel that the garment they wear, is authentic and personally made by the very hands of the designer. I want my clients to feel the love the items are made with…which is my life in a nutshell.