A New Venture And Natural Progression...

Introducing Newton Sewing Studio!
This is the main sewing floor.  We also have three smaller offices that will house the lounge, break room, and my favorite the pro room.  The pro room is a studio within the studio equipped with industrial machines and all the supplies needed for the more advanced students.
As you may know I've been working as a sewing instructor at a local sewing school.  I've been with the school from the ground up starting with classes on the dining table and working through two location changes.  The owner and I were unofficial partners, she would handle behind the scenes business stuff and I would take care of daily operations, curriculum development, training staff, and teaching.  This worked out great for me as I had full run of the school with little financial commitment.  Things were running like clockwork and we just finished an explosively successful summer camp program.  However, as these things go we started having issues come up with our differences in management style.  I've already owned my own business and I have a good understanding of how things should be.  Instead of being resentful I decided to take the plunge and offer to buy her out but unfortunately a price could not be agreed on.  In my view I WAS the heart and soul of the school and what I was buying was mostly equipment, fabric stock, client list, and of course the lease.  I'm not going to buy myself afterall!  This disagreement and some "honest talk" caused us to part ways. Yes of course there's more to it but that's the most I'm willing to offer, I'm sure you can fill in the blanks.  This process began mid August.  By mid September I had procured a location of my own and started setting up shop.  On October 8th we were open for business.

I have to admit that while extremely stressful this process has been exhilarating!  Imagine being able to create the sewing studio of your dreams.  Everything is exactly the way you want it for the way you like to sew and teach.  Extra careful attention was paid to our rather youthful (under age 11) core client base to be sure they were stepping into a space where they could be kids yet still professional and approachable to adults.  

Starting fresh means taking what I know worked and didn't work from the previous studio and only skimming the cream off the top.  Making changes is always an uphill battle but to start on the right track to begin with is simple and smooth.

Today we have our first class with actual students!  These are kids who previously took classes from me and tracked me down from the flyers I post weekly.  I'm excited!  Since I can't contact anyone from the old client list directly I'm relying on word of mouth to get the word out.  I can't afford any traditional advertising so every week I put up flyers and work the streets handing out free class cards.

Building a web presence doesn't happen overnight by any means and currently the studio is on the third page of google results.  Would you like to help?  I know you do!  Here's what I need, no it's not money but will help me make rent.  Go to google and search for "sewing newton".  Newton if you don't know is a city in Massachusetts who's claim to fame is it's ranking as one of the safest cities to live in the US.  Click through the pages and somewhere around the third you'll see Newton Sewing Studio, click that.  Try and refrain from clicking any of the HipStitch links as that's the old studio.  If you want to check them out search for "HipStitch".  I won't link to them from here for obvious reasons.

What are the plans you ask?  What's next?  Well, besides teaching classes I'd really like to develop an instructional video series that would be freely available.  I figure that if I concentrate on doing what I love the funds will come and rent and bills will be paid.  I'm not in this for the money, I simply don't know of anything else I'd rather do with my life.  People seem to like that.

Want to see something super cool?

Well satin and tulle are always a huge mess to have in a sewing school. Tulle is just messy and satin is too slippery to stay folded or rolled on bolts.  Previously we used to keep this stuff in bins with lids and kids would dig through to find what they needed.  You can imagine that there was always the perpetual pile of tulle and satin around the bins.  Here's what I came up with!  It reminds me of how pelts are hung in leather shops.  The binder clips work great to hold the light fabric and since the rack is high the kids just pull off the piece they need.  It also makes for a nice display and keeps the fabric wrinkle free.  Pretty good idea huh?

Ok, I've got to work on developing our business facebook page.  As much as it pains me it must be done.... Gosh online social networking is just not my cup of tea!  Who knows, maybe I'll like it so much I'll start my own personal page....   well, don't hold your breath.

Want to offer some encouragement?  Go to our page and "Like" us.  

Please if you see any typos on anything don't be shy and email me!

17 comments :: A New Venture And Natural Progression...

  1. Sounds fantastic. Good luck with it!

  2. Thanks Peter! It really means alot how much good energy people are pushing my way.

  3. Your new space looks great, good luck on your new venture.

  4. Congratulations, Brian, this is a wonderful thing to embark on. You have a wealth of knowledge and a great spirit of adventure and fearless experimentation that makes you a perfect teacher. I will watch your journey with envy. If only I didn't live on the other side of the world! I'd be coming to your school just to soak up the atmosphere. I wish you much success.

  5. The studio looks beautiful! And I like the idea of a video series. I have seen your YouTube videos and learned from them. I think your instruction is as good or better than any sewing show I've ever seen on TV.

  6. I wish I lived closer. I would for sure be coming in for classes. I also wish I knew how to do web design. I'd offer my services for free (if I knew how to do it) You seem to have a great creative model to your new business and I wish you all the success it can bring for you and your family.

  7. It looks wonderful, Brian. I hope today's is just the first of many successful classes. Our young people need to learn these valuable skills and not everyone's parents are equipped to teach them.

  8. Thank you all so much! Class yesterday went awesome... Having a few kids in the studio really helped take the edge off the anxiety of wondering if anyone will find me.

    We practiced seven seam finishes and the kids were so thrilled just to be here no one complained! I promised next week we'd use Wild Ginger to create some custom patterns, the kids can't wait.

  9. Congratulations, Brian!!! I was wondering where you had been. I'm so glad to see this. I'll let my local friends know about it.

    Ann

  10. Happy business building, Brian! I am so impressed with your energy and positive approach. I did try to do the Google search but just couldn't find you. Perhaps another way we internet followers could be of use would be to mention your new biz in a blog post of our own (external links = Google love).

  11. Congratulations. The space looks beautiful. Sending positive energy your way.

    Sewjourner

  12. Congratulations Brian !

    You're getting clicks - I searched 'newton sewing' and 'sewing newton' and both time it came up on the first page of the search :-)

  13. That's such GREAT news! If I lived nearby I'd be there in a heartbeat!!

  14. So glad you're blogging again and thrilled to hear about your new venture! Googling it now...

  15. LOVE IT!

    One huge disadvantage of not living in Europe....I can't attend your classes.

    I wish you all the luck in the world (which you won't need!).

    I hate that my RSS feeds don't seem to update me.

    Can I suggest getting a Twitter account, as people will check for #sewingclasses and #newton.

    Take care!

    Hugs from Hamburg!

    Robbie

  16. Congratulations Brian!! I typed "sewing newton" on google and right there in the front is your website. Obviously you've done a GREAT job advertising and also teaching that your reviews on yelp are great too.

    If you are still looking for more people, Maybe you can also create a meetup group as lot of people look for sewing groups on meetup.com.. I think there's an annual membership fee,but not much.

    Here in Ontario Canada, lot of sewing studios/stores offer a monthly sewing club, with minimal fee, say $10 donation which will be given to charity.. or so.. some stores have, just bring your machine and project and sew on... whereas some stores have a small technique demonstrated, but charge a decent minimal fee to cover their costs...

    Good luck with your new venture!

  17. Hi Brian.

    Congratulations on your new sewing school! The Newton Sewing Studio looks beautiful, and the program sounds exciting. I wish you every success! (I even looked up the school on Google for you).

    I know it's been a while. I'm still sewing most days, concentrating on jackets, entering contests and actually winning a few.

    Pookie and Boo Boo are fine, and last year I adopted a very sweet and happy stray terrier mix puppy named Stanley who showed up at the back door one morning.

    Nancy

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