It was our eighth birthday last week. A bit of a milestone really as most businesses fail after the first three years and few make it to six, and here we are eight years later.
I’m not used to reflecting much, a habit I’ve rather gotten out of over the years as I prefer to deal with what is happening now and in the future. But as a lecturer it was something I did on a daily basis – how did that lecture go? Could I have expressed that idea better? How can I help a particular student to understand and improve their work etc.
But I have looked back over where we started and what we’ve achieved. I say ‘we’ because although this is my business it is very much a team operation. (The current Team are doing an amazing job in really difficult circumstances too). I certainly couldn’t do all this by myself now. The shop opened in May 2012 with literally about a dozen rolls of fabrics. I had reps coming to see me at home because we were frantically painting the shop and building furniture getting ready for the first workshop, which if I remember correctly was ‘How to make Bunting.’
We’ve come a long way since then. I’ve had some lovely people helping me out in the shop over the years and they have all added their own special ingredient to the Sew Me Something flavour. Some have stayed with me for years and to them I am immensely grateful. They have stuck by my vision for what we were all about and helped me ride through the ups and down of running a business. And there have been some downs as well as ups. In our first couple of years we won several awards, local business ones and sewing industry ones too. Then nearly three years ago Charlie had a major accident and it made me really step up to the plate with how I was actually running the business. I wish it really was all about sewing your own clothes and designing new patterns. But as any other business owner knows all too well the other stuff tales priority most of the time; accounts, marketing VAT, employment issues the list could go on and I had to conscientiously make the decision to take the business up a notch in order to keep us all afloat. Which was what I did.
I let go of the shop when the lease had run its course and we moved to the new Studio. As we were in the throes of actually moving I had my first show in the Sewing Quarter which was amazing. It brought us to a whole new audience. More people were able to join us for workshops where they could learn and enjoy the whole experience of sewing and making your own clothes that actually fit.
Through all of this we have stuck to our core value of helping as many people as we can to learn and improve their sewing skills in a friendly, inclusive and supportive way. This is fundamentally why Sew Me Something exists. Apart from the fact I am probably unemployable now, I really don’t think I could go back to having a boss!
Helping people is at the heart of what we do and why we do it. So although the idea for The Sewing Studio has been bubbling away at the back of my mind for over two years, now was the opportune moment to actually create it. Firstly, I actually had a bit more time on my hands with no teaching and no shows. You would be amazed at how long it physically takes to create all the content videos, and most of it I can do in one take! We have spent hours and hours filming and then editing, (mainly Charlie I have to say), to get the tutorials and courses absolutely right. I have had to raise my technical game hugely, even my son is impressed with my sorting out the website for the Sewing Studio. No web builder here I’m afraid.
Secondly, and most importantly, I felt this was the best way we could help you. If you can’t come to the Studio then let us come to you in your own home. You can join in with the In-depth Courses, have a go at the Projects, learn from the Tutorials and Technical Library and hang out with other sewing
nerds enthusiasts in our Community.
I realise we are just starting out on this new road. Online is the way forward for us and so many others now and for the foreseeable future. There is so much I want to add in terms of content and courses, new patterns and – well just so much it makes my brain ache to think about it sometimes. I really want to find out from you what you’d like to see in the Sewing Studio too. So do have a look at The Sewing Studio and let me know
I realise it’s not perfect, but then done is way better than perfect in my book.