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Meet the Ali Behind Custom Alley

Creative, leader, personable…These are just some of what people have said about me all my life. My four younger siblings might swap leader for bossy and tha

t is fine by me because without my family I may never have found my niche.

I grew up the oldest of five children in Paterson, New Jersey and spent a lot of time in my uncle’s work room. He made slipcovers, too. I didn’t plan on following in his footsteps after I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in fashion design. Nor was it part of the plan when I first moved to the Atlantic City area more than 30 years ago. During that time, I did a lot of dress making and made formal gowns for wedding parties and other events.

Even in 1984 as the manager of a home decorating department for a large fabric retailer and the liaison for the work room that did customized work, I couldn’t predict my design forte would be slipcovers. A few years later when the store closed, I had a child and decided to open Custom Alley; offering some sewing for interiors and dressmaking. As fate would have it, though, the requests coming in were overwhelmingly for slipcovers. So in 1990, I asked my uncle to teach me. I learned his tricks of the trade and he helped me develop the process I use today. That’s how slipcovers became my niche!

My first big break came when I began working with Here’s Hough Decorating on Long Beach Island. In the pre-digital age, I built a word-of-mouth clientele and expanded my business to include window treatments, bedding and anything you can imagine for interiors/exteriors.

Custom slipcovering is as much about the fabric as it is about making a house a home where memories are made.

For a quarter of a century, I’ve had the privilege of doing what I love and helping clients achieve their visions for their homes.

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