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Alumni Stories: Pursuing Entrepreneurship through Sewing

By John Robert Morton, Student and Affairs Liaison, and Lucille “Lucy” Lore, APU Graduate

Lucy Lore has always had an entrepreneurial mindset. She has not only founded companies, but she has also earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in entrepreneurship from American Public University. To cap off her education, Lucy is currently working on a doctorate degree in industrial and organizational psychology.

Setting Educational Priorities

Lucille began her academic journey in Wilmington, Delaware, by enrolling in the medical secretary program of Goldey-Beacom College. Lucy says, “In retrospect, this educational choice is rather amusing, given that I have never worked in that capacity during my entire career.” Later, Lucy married, had children and relocated to Florida.

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Following the Entrepreneurship Path

Lucy has had a deep, passionate affection for design and sewing for as long as she can remember. She created most of her daughters’ clothes, and she also began sewing as a part-time business when her children were young.

It was simple for Lucy to establish her own company, Sew What, given that she had previously taken business classes and worked for a law firm. Running her own business was second nature, and more and more customers sought her clothing.  

Sew What was located in Clermont, Florida, and her specialty was custom sewing, uniforms, and prom gowns. Later, she renamed her business “Imagination Station” and moved to a different business location.

The new business catered to larger projects such as dance troupes, specialty projects and theater productions. Lucy’s business capacity grew in tandem with her reputation.

Then, disaster struck in the form of her mother’s untimely death. Lucy closed her sewing business and moved to her parents’ home in Kissimmee. Her intention was to help her elderly father and assist her daughter in raising her granddaughter, Amanda.

To offset the loss of her sewing income, Lucille started working at Walmart in the evenings. Walmart is a University partner that provides educational opportunities to students through the University.

Lucy decided that it was time for her to finish her bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and earned her degree in 2018. She chose to continue her studies, finishing her master’s degree in entrepreneurship in 2021.

A Star Trek jacket made through Lucy’s business. Image courtesy of Lucy Lore.

After her father passed away and her daughter and granddaughter moved out, Lucy accepted a job as a law office administrator and opened a new location for a large Miami-based law firm in Orlando. She decided it was time to rekindle her love of sewing and applied for a position in Universal Studios Florida’s Wardrobe Department.

She says, “I discovered they did not sew costumes on-site but accepted bids. I asked for permission to bid on the Star Trek costumes, was granted permission and won the bid. I then formed Grand Illusions of Orlando, Inc. and hired the necessary seamstresses to complete my project within my given time frame.”

After creating Grand Illusions of Orlando, Lucy entered the “Have a Heart” contest in 2013 for Halifax Hospital. The challenge was to make the winner’s drawing into a heart-shaped costume, and Lucy’s costume won the contest.

Lucy has expanded her entrepreneurship spirit through the creation of a pet travel suitcase, called “Portable Pets.” Lucy observes, “It’s an actual suitcase for families that travel with their fur babies. The concept is for a rolling 21” suitcase, complete with food, water, treat containers, pet wipes and a pet rain slicker.

“It also has a pet travel documentation holder for pet medications and an immunization record, and the suitcase can hold grooming tools, a harness, and a leash. There’s also a second version which is meant to be sled-like, to enable a pet suitcase to be placed on top of the owner’s suitcase so they can be pulled as a unit.”

Portable Pets suitcase production is currently on hold due to supply chain and employee limitations.

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Pursuing Her Doctorate in Psychology

Now that she has earned two degrees in entrepreneurship, Lucy is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in industrial and organizational psychology at Walden University. She plans to help employees and employers better understand each other, especially with her expertise as an employer and an employee.

She notes, “I have heard the stories of my granddaughters who are in IT, healthcare, retail, and college, and it’s clear that employers are not listening to their employees. How could I continue down a strictly business path without realizing that God might have wanted me to take a different path for the rest of my life? A doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology seemed like the logical choice, and I certainly find it fascinating.”

Advice to Future Students

Lucy says, “I would strongly advise taking lower-level psychology classes before beginning a doctorate in this subject, as the terminology is quite different from anything used in the general business world.” She feels blessed that the Lord has given her the opportunity to try so many different fields and that she is still here at her age, trying to make a difference.

She believes that making a difference in people’s lives is important and hopes that she has benefited the people she has met during her personal life and business life. She aspires to be an exemplary role model for her children and grandchildren and always says, “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.”

About the Author

John Robert Morton is a Student & Alumni Affairs Liaison and has been with the University for 13 years. His bachelor’s degree in European history is from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. He also completed master’s degrees in political science and sports management from American Military University. As a liaison, John Robert enjoys helping students and alumni to achieve their personal and professional goals.

About Our Department

The AMU and APU Alumni Affairs Office is dedicated to sustaining lifelong relationships with university alumni by providing engaging opportunities to stay involved and connected. We work closely with a variety of stakeholders to strengthen the alumni experience and to offer a variety of benefits, services, activities, and events throughout the year.

As a team, the Alumni Affairs team works to build and sustain relationships with alumni along their personal and professional journeys. We actively look for ways to recognize and showcase alumni, telling their stories to motivate and encourage students in the pursuit of their goals.

If you are a member of the alumni community and are looking for ways to remain actively involved, please contact alumni@apus.edu and speak with a member of the team.

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