Weekly Business Profile
Type of business:
Eric Williams www.ericwphoto.com
Sewing Parlor and Fabric Boutique
2400 Rio Grande Blvd. NW
Albuquerque NM 87104
How did you get started in this business?
I have been sewing my entire life. When I was five, 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 custom bridal business—Hart Designs—and picked up a few teaching jobs at local fabric stores. Via the internet, I discovered a whole world of fabric and sewing patterns that none of the local stores were readily carrying, but that many of my students were requesting. Thus, I decided to fill in that gap by merging my two passions, teaching and textiles, and opened Stitchology.
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 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. Other great camps are the Fashion Designer Series where I will teach the kids to make their own clothes including skirts, pajama bottoms and even a sundress!
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
Stitchology is one of the few places in Albuquerque that carries quality garment fabrics and is the place to go if you want to learn to sew garments. It is a place where people can come to learn new skills, improve ones 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.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
In the last year we have seen significant growth; we have expanded our inventory considerably and have plans to continue to add more. Additionally, I have introduced my own line of kits and patterns I designed, and I look forward to releasing more kits soon. I am also proud to have added several teachers to my team which helps add variety to the classes we offer.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
My customers. They help me build a wonderful and supportive community at Stitchology and each time someone shares a completed project or is excited to learn a new sewing trick, I want to make sure they will always have a place to come hang out and share their joy of textiles.
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!
What was your first job?
My first 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.
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—or my customers—and we can accomplish anything.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
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.
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.
Each month various local small businesses, primarily lead by women, set up shop selling anything from terrariums and '60s dresses to the perfect red lipstick.
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