Alex Dinsmore is determined to change the world — one dress at a time.
The 11-year-old Oakville girl is the founder of Ivy & Alex. Working with her mom, Jacqueline and World Vision Canada, Alex is designing and selling dresses to raise money for initiatives around the world.
“I wanted to help other kids. I am so fortunate to have all of the things that I have and I wanted to help other people who aren’t as fortunate as me,” said Alex, a Grade 5 student at E.J. James Public School.
The cotton blend, A-line dresses are reversible, featuring a pattern on one side and solid colour on the other. The colour of each dress symbolizes what project the money will support.
The blue dress supports clean drinking water projects. The green dress helps provide nutritious meals. The pink dress will assist education and health initiatives. Proceeds from the red dress support programs for children in Canada.
The dresses, which are made in Canada, are designed to grow with you. They start as a dress, then can be worn as a tunic and then a shirt. Scrap material from the dresses are used to make hats and headbands.
The idea of reversible clothing came naturally to Alex. Jacqueline, who used to be a corporate lawyer, left that career to start FlapJack Kids, which sells reversible winter and sun hats for children.
“I was thrilled when Ali came up with this idea,” Jacqueline said. “I went from being a corporate lawyer to an entrepreneur with the idea of spending more time with family. But as an entrepreneur, it never shuts off. I feel sad about travelling a lot and working. Now we can go down the entrepreneurial path together. She can come with me to trade shows and to do interviews.
“We are making memories together. And no matter what happens, Ali spoke at World Vision headquarters to 500 people. The exposure, the public speaking, the confidence-building. I am thrilled to give her that experience.”
Alex has started an Indiegogo campaign to buy more fabric and help market the dresses at trade shows and to U.S. and Canadian stores. The campaign is halfway to its $15,000 goal.
The dresses are selling in local boutiques, including Glama Gal in Oakville, in hospital gift shops and on ivyandalexproject.com.
Alex, who also enjoys playing soccer, volleyball and singing, loves to explain the name of her company.
“Alex is me. Ivy stands for I value you,” she said. “It represents all of the people we will help with this project.”