Sewing, stitching and hemming are second nature for Chesterfield County native Derby Ann Fields.
Fields owns and operates Derby’s Tailory across the state line in Rockingham, North Carolina. A Cheraw High School graduate who was raised in Patrick, Fields credits divine inspiration for her thriving business.
At age 60, Fields has led a life of devotion to God and to her sewing, which she believes God taught her to do.
CAREER: “I have sewn all my life, and I always saw myself in tailoring and design. Anything in fashion, really. I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl. The Lord taught me. You always hear people say they are self-taught, but that’s not where it comes from. If you are born knowing how to do something, that comes from the Lord. He still teaches me to this day. Every day there are times when I ask, ‘Lord, how do I do this?”
FAMILY: “I have one daughter who moved here last year. She usually follows Mama. She has a baby who was born a preemie, so she stays home and cares for her child.”
COMMUNITY: “I’m involved in my church. I attend Trusting in Jesus Ministry in Dobbins Heights. The pastor there is Eric Trantham. I should say I am a minister myself.”
WHAT MAKES HER NOTABLE: “Besides one other alteration shop down the road, Derby’s Tailory is the only place in Richmond County that offers in-depth tailoring and alterations along with unique designs,” Derby said. Not only will she alter the size and fit of clothing, but she also designs custom-made dresses and gowns for weddings and other formal events.”I make and re-make clothes,” she said. “And I even make window treatments.”
WHAT MOTIVATES HER: “The Lord. Knowing that I have people I have to satisfy and things I have to do, because the Bible says we aren’t supposed to be lazy. I talk to God throughout the day and say, ‘Help, help, help, Lord.’ My motivation is that God tells me what to do and I know I need to get up and do something. And there’s my grandchildren. I have six of them. We visit often and I get to be a real grandma. I don’t mean anything against anybody saying this, but a lot of grandparents become their children’s kids’ parents. That did not happen with us. I get to be a real grandma.”
PROUDEST MOMENT: “I really and truly have to say being a Christian, knowing I am a Christian and being able to live that lifestyle. There are so many people in the world who are blind and can’t see it. I’ve lived both lifestyles, so I know. I fear God and I thank God that he’s God. I wouldn’t want to be God.”
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: “My mother, Mae Esther Gattison Fields. No matter what we went through in life, my mother brought us up in church. My mother did not have a high school education but she was a hard worker and she took care of us. There was never a question in our home whether we were going to church or not. And people always think you have to separate God and business, but that’s not true. This is God’s business. When you walk in this door, you know what kind of business this is.”
HOW SHE UNWINDS: “I shut off business and to me, that’s my time. Whether it’s good, clean movies or spending time in the word of God or a program at the church, that’s how I settle in. I don’t like nasty movies, but there are good, clean movies for people to watch.”
FUTURE GOALS: “I would say that in five or 10 years from now, I see myself retired. I want to be able to enjoy life, continuing to work for the Lord. The spiritual works go on and on and never end, so to sum it up, I am looking forward to that time.”
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @melonieflomer.