Most of you probably know by now that we have moved out of the Minories Courtyard in Stratford upon Avon to a much bigger studio about a mile or so from the town centre, although we are still getting a few calls asking “Where have you gone?”
So I thought I would explain and clarify what we are doing now.
This may seem a bit odd because we are still doing what we have always done, running friendly and inclusive workshops where we share our knowledge to help you to sew better to make the clothes you want to wear, designing and producing stylish dressmaking patterns, and providing you with high quality fabrics and haberdashery items.
But we are doing it a in slightly different way now. . . .
The high street is changing and I know it’s annoying and frustrating when you can’t find what you want in the shops in your local town, and I am with you. The choice and variety of shops in Stratford is reducing and we have to look to much larger towns now for most of our retail fixes, but it’s going to continue to change and we as businesses have to recognise that and adapt.
That is one of the main reasons we decided to move ‘out of town’, another being that there just wasn’t anywhere big enough to accommodate us within our budget in the town centre.
But this has brought its advantages, every cloud and all that. It has meant that we had to think about what we do overall, what we do best and how we use this to take Sew Me Something into the future, because we plan on being around for a while yet.
My original plan when I set up Sew Me Something was as a vehicle for me to produce patterns. I am a pattern cutter and would happily design and produce patterns all day everyday and not get bored – EVER!
So the original shop was a marketing tool and platform from which to launch the pattern range. Workshops were a bit of a sideline to attract people to the shop where they could buy the patterns.
Well that was the original plan!
Over the 6 years we have been going now the popularity of our workshops has grown hugely.
Without blowing our own trumpet too much, teaching is something we do extremely well. People have travelled hundreds of miles to do our workshops, and we have ladies that have been coming to them ever since we opened. So the proof must be in the pudding, or in our case the cake, as we have been keen right from the beginning to be as inclusive as we can and to make people feel very welcome.
To this end, teaching and running workshops has become the biggest area of our business. And this is wonderful, I never imagined that this would be the case, but it just shows how your ideas and directions can change.
I also never imagined that we would have our patterns on the telly. The Sewing Quarter have been amazing in their support for our patterns and I have really enjoyed being on screen chatting sewing.
Again this has made us rethink the patterns that we are able to offer and what we want do in the future as our audience grows and we want to help more people to be able to make stylish clothes that fit.
You can see now that the emphasis of the business of Sew Me Something has altered from its origins. This has meant that the retail side of what we offer has changed too. As with so many high streets, footfall has reduced and the same is happening in Stratford upon Avon. It’s a beautiful town but one that has, for better or worse, decided to dedicate itself to the income derived from tourism. This has changed what the town has to offer, and along with other decisions made by the Powers That Be, fewer locals are shopping in Stratford itself, including me.
By moving away from the town centre and losing a ‘shop front’, this has allowed us to focus on what we do best, which is provide excellent levels of teaching in our workshops, to design and produce stylish and creative dressmaking patterns that allow you to challenge yourself while making a handmade, personal wardrobe. And we can support your making by providing you with high quality fabrics and haberdashery either during our workshops or through our online store.
All of this, I hope, explains why we are not just a walk in shop anymore. We do understand if you’d prefer to come and see us in person and that’s not a problem at all, just let us know by phone or email when you’re coming as we may be teaching, or designing new patterns, or shooting a video, or even printing patterns for the next Sewing Quarter show.
Or any of the other stuff we do to help you to sew better and make the clothes you want to wear.
You can find all of our contact details on our contact page, here. And I hope you can join us for a workshop very soon.