Weekly Business Profile
Type of business:
Eric Williams www.ericwphoto.com
Sewing Parlor and Fabric Boutique
2400 Rio Grande Blvd. NW
Albuquerque NM 87104
What was your first job?
My first legitimate job was working as a sewing counselor for a girl’s summer camp in Maine. According to my job description, I spent the summer organizing lesson plans and teaching pre-teens and teens how to make pajama bottoms, pillows, stuffed toys and lip-shaped purses. In reality, I spent the entire summer threading and rethreading sewing machines and listening to melodramatic stories about the horrors of being 16. Overall, I really enjoyed working with the girls and this experience introduced me to the world of teaching sewing.
How did you get started in this business?
I have been sewing my entire life. When I was 5 my mom handed me a yard-sale sewing machine and told me to entertain myself. By the time I was in middle school I had read every vintage sewing book I could get my hands on, and by high school I was designing my own clothing. For college I headed off to Indiana University and double majored in Fashion Design and Sociology. I graduated when the economy was at its worst and had a difficult time finding a job, so I started a small fashion design and sewing business—Hart Designs—and picked up a few teaching jobs at local fabric stores. I observed a whole world of fabric and sewing patterns that none of the local stores were readily carrying, but that many of my students were ordering online. Thus I decided to merge my two passions, teaching and textiles, and opened Stitchology.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
Stitchology is much more than just a fabric store. It is a place where people can come to learn new skills, improve one they already have, meet and socialize with fellow textile junkies, gain inspiration, pick up some advice, and receive friendly support. Education is our number one priority and we offer a full schedule of kids, teens and adult classes catered to every skill level. If you don’t have your own sewing equipment or if yours is stuffed so far back in your closet it’s not worth digging out, you can stop in to rent ours and have full access to the classroom sewing machines, cutting tables, irons, tools and the staff’s extensive expertise.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Classes. Teaching sewing is my passion and what ultimately drove me to start Stitchology. I can't walk out my front door without being hit with a great new class idea. Time spent teaching is my favorite because I get to share my tricks with all the amazing sewists out there, and pick up a few new ones too!
If you had to choose another career or start another business what would it be?
I always thought I would enjoy event planning, graphic design or interior decorating. As it turns out, I get to incorporate all these skills into running Stitchology, which only helps solidify my belief that I am doing exactly what I was destined to do.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
If you are absolutely certain this is what you want, just dive right in. It’s never going to be the perfect time to start your business, and you will always find a good excuse to put it off, but ultimately, the only thing holding you back is yourself.
What's your favorite quotation?
"She believed she could, so she did." –author unknown. Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed this reminds me that my most powerful tool is a little positive thinking. All I have to do is believe in myself and I can accomplish anything.
Do you have a hero—business or otherwise?
I have two heroes: Albuquerque’s very own Ann Silva of Ann Silva’s Bernina Sewing Center and Sarai Mitnick, owner and designer of Colette Patterns. Ann Silva started her store 32 years ago, and over that time has built a hugely successful business, won countless awards, served on numerous professional boards and has been extremely generous with her knowledge. She gave me my first teaching job in Albuquerque, and has supported me through the process of opening my own store, for which I am extremely thankful. Sarai Mitnick is a true inspiration as she has created a striking line of sewing patterns that are well drafted, excellently illustrated, and a true joy to work with. In the last year she has released five new patterns, wrote a book, made her first TV appearance and picked a new charity to donate a portion of all profits too. I admire her work ethics, style and desire to give back to her community, and hope to grow up to be just like her
What exciting things do you have planned for the future?
I’m really looking forward to the summer because I have a full schedule of kid and adult summer camps. I’m especially eager for my kids’ Dolls! camp, where we will spend a week sewing the most adorable rag dolls complete with an entire wardrobe. Another great course is my adults pattern drafting series in which I will demonstrate how to draft several skirt patterns using an individual's personal measurements. It’s going to be a good time!
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