There’s a little Mayan village called Macario Gomez just outside of Talum, Mexico. A women named Erika, who is originally from Jersey City, opened a BnB in this area and since has also started a much needed after school program there called La Escuelita de Macario Gomez. This school is completely run by volunteers and she started the Escuelita because as she puts it on their facebook page:
“They have no afterschool, no library, no music, no trips anywhere…no big homes with comfy sofas to read on, some do not even own chairs….or tables,or real plates to eat from! the list of what they lack could go on and on…
Yet the children are not bitter or depressed, they are happy and eagerly participate in any community activity – park cleanup , animal rescues, etc..And they love to learn, draw, read, dance .“
I’m super excited to be spending a week there in April to volunteer teach the kids of La Escuelita de Macario Gomez how to sew!
I’m writing today to let you know that I could use some help from you!
Everything on the Amazon Wishlist, with all the sewing supplies we’ll need for the classes was purchased in about 4 hours! Which is completely amazing.
They could also use some help with their operating costs, so I set up a gofundme page here. If you feel so inclined, please donate what you can.
I’ve been teaching people how to sew for a pretty long time. I’m not great with timelines and what year things happened in my life. But just for this video I just went back in my photo archives and checked.
It’s official! I taught my first sewing workshop in April of 2004. So yeah, I’ve been teaching sewing for almost 14 years. Seems like a very long time.
I have always LOVED working for myself and I’d say I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. But I’m not gonna lie, for awhile there around year 7 or 8 of my teaching business, I didn’t have a lot of passion for what I was doing. That was for sure.
I think I was burned out from working so hard, I wasn’t as excited about what I was doing & business was only so-so at that point.
Luckily for me, I don’t think that outsiders could tell this was how was feeling at the time and I’m pretty sure I didn’t realize it myself until recently.
But my usual gusto for teaching other people how to sew had definitely gone away for a little bit.
That is until I started helping other people do this work too!
It was amazing to see them learning how to teach other people how to sew and succeeding with it.
That was the thing that definitely re-ignited my passion for what I did in my own sewing studio!
It was in 2015 when I was hired to do some consulting work for a kids sewing Franchise Company. I was completely excited about the prospect of this new project. And I was so honored they chose me to help train their new franchise owners.
I immediately fell in love with the work I was doing, working so closely with these brand new entrepreneurs.
It was so exciting to teach them how to do what I had been doing in my own studio for the last 8 or so years. And I’ll be honest it completely blew me away to see the things I did in Hoboken NJ sewing classes working in sewing studios in Texas, Mississippi, Canada, Puerto Rico & even Ireland.
I was totally hooked helping these businesses succeed! And now I’m realizing this work with them completely re-ignited the passion I had for my own sewing studio, classes & students!
It was like I saw through a brand new lens just how important the work we are doing as sewing teachers.
You know what they say – Sewing is a dying art form.
And as much as I detest that phrase, they might be partly right.
How crazy is it to think that not a day goes by when we’re all not clothed head to toe in things someone sewed, yet if you ask kids about this, they’re totally shocked to think that someone sewed the shirt they’re wearing!
I truly believe it’s now more than ever we need to teach people how to sew. It’s now more than ever we need to teach people how to make things with their hands. The sad truth is that most of our days (mine included) are filled with hours of my face stuck in front of a screen, not actually creating any actual things.
That didn’t sit right with me (and still doesn’t) so it’s my mission now more than ever to continue to teach as many kids and adults as I can how to make clothing, stuffed animals, purses, couch cushions, you name it!
Since working with my first new sewing business owner, I’ve seen my own business grow tremendously. I’ve created new systems and processes so clients of mine could work less and teach more. The lovely by-product of this is I too work less and have more time for exciting growth opportunities in my own studio.
If the prospect of teaching other people how to sew excites you, than I’m excited FOR you!
It’s thrilling to work with people like you who want to have a business teaching sewing!
Please take a moment to browse the Hipstitch Academy website for all the wonderful resources we have there – many of them totally FREE!
You can also find dozens of downloads of the sewing project curriculum we actually use in our own sewing classes.
And if you’d like to work together with me personally please don’t hesitate to get in touch! I would absolutely love to share my knowledge with you in a one-on-one coaching session when you’re ready!
Everybody knows that January is all about goals. Even though we had a late in the month call, it seemed appropriate to talk about everyone’s plans for their business in the New Year.
But the extra interesting and important thing about this Month’s Virtual Coffee Chat was talking about some important successes!
Everyone on the call got to give themselves a shout out for the things they felt most proud of that they accomplished in 2017. Then building on that, we set some amazing intentions for our selves and our businesses in 2018.
Without further ado, here is an unedited video of our discussion:
I first started hosting sewing retreats about 4 years ago. From day one, I was completely hooked. My studio is in a very urban area and I knew my students would LOVE the chance to get away from the city for a weekend of strictly sewing. While it’s difficult to think about not living and operating my sewing studio in the city, the thought of driving a couple of hours north for a few days, to spend time in a giant house, close to nature, felt too good to be true! And let me tell you from that first weekend in the woods with our sewing machines fired up, we couldn’t get enough!
The first M Avery Designs sewing retreat actually took place at a Bed & Breakfast called the Turquoise Barn in Bloomville NY. I had found the place while planning my wedding and actually booked it to have as my wedding venue before deciding to have a sewing retreat there. Looking back it was an excellent way to get to know the space a little better before Adam and I said our I do’s. If I remember correctly, the retreat was in April of 2014 and we got married in July of 2014.
Like most things having to do with running your own sewing business, the idea of hosting your own sewing retreats may seem a little daunting.
But what I’m going to do here today is share with you a little of what I have learned from hosting sewing retreats for my students and what I do to get ready for my own sewing retreats today.
From initial planning stages to packing up on the last day of the retreat, I’ll lay out some important steps I take to ensure things run smoothly & everyone attending has an amazing time!
Finding the place – I find the easiest way to book a stay anywhere (for any type of travel – I seriously don’t stay in Hotels anymore!) is Airbnb. You can search for places to hold your retreat using all the filters you can imagine including: location, how many people the house will hold, what the rooms are like, amenities (like hot tubs & fire places, yes please), you get the idea. You’ll probably want to check with the host to make sure it’s okay to host an event like this. I’d say most hosts would be totally fine with a group of stitchers hanging out at their place for the weekend.
Setting the date – I’ve done retreat weekends where they start on Friday night and we pack up Sunday morning. These are nice because people don’t have to take off from work because they’re just taking place over the weekend. But I’ve also done them where we start on Thursday night, and we have two full days on Friday & Saturday for sewing. These are so much better!
I also love doing retreats when were having an especially cold winter and nobody wants to do anything but stay cozy inside & warm. But I’m always a little worried that we could have a big snowstorm that weekend which could alter traveling plans.
How Far Way/Getting there – I like to stay no more than 3 hours from where people will be traveling from. It’s far enough without spending a ton of time in the car. I try to provide public transportation options when they are available . I’ll also help people coordinate carpools with other retreat attendees. I’ll make myself available to pick up and drop off attendees at the train & bus station if they need me to.
Weekend of/Activities – Depending on how big the retreat it, I’ll plan special classes and demos throughout the weekend. But for the most part attendees are really happy to bring their own sewing projects they don’t normally get a chance to work on. Then as the instructor and organizer, be prepared to help each student individually with questions, instructions and general sewing know-how.
I’m also a big advocate of other peaceful activities that can be done over the weekend, besides sewing. Sometime I’ll bring a massage therapist or Reiki master in so that people can have some relaxing services. I’ve also been known to lead the guests in group meditation to help them relax and get really creative while at the retreat. Other cool things could be spa treatments, games, personal growth workshops, healthy cook and so on.
Sleeping Arrangements – For the most part the houses we have stayed in on past sewing retreats have double occupancy rooms. I’ll make sure that the rooms have the ability to sleep two people, but not in the same bed. This way people who’ve maybe never met before the retreat don’t have to find themselves sharing a bed with a stranger. It’s an added challenge to find a house that this will work for all/most of the bedrooms. But you can get creative by asking about air mattresses, moving futons from other rooms and utilizing pull-out couches. Just be sure to make the accommodations very well known to the guests before the retreat.
Writing this has gotten me pretty excited about hosting a sewing retreat in the very near future! Gonna have to take a look at the calendar and see when I can plan one soon!
And someday I would love to host a sewing retreat for sewing teachers only. How much fun would that be to spend a Hipstitch Academy together in the woods. I think I might have to try to make that happen!
The day I started teaching mobile sewing classes is the day my sewing business drastically changed for the better!
Up until that point, I’d only been teaching sewing classes in my sewing studio. We had classes at almost every possible time we could, but there are only so many teachable class hours in each day.
For teaching sewing classes to adults or kids, typically one can schedule classes after school, in the evening and on weekends. But that’s really about it.
If & when you max out the number of students you can teach at these times of day in your space, your ability to grow & scale your business beyond this point can become challenging.
Unless you can figure out how to be in more than one place at at time.
Ooh, now you’re talking!
This is what teaching mobile sewing classes can do for your business!
Once we figured out how to teach multiple sewing classes at the same time each day, BUT in different places, that is when our business began to go gangbusters!
And yes, at first making this happen sounds like a huge pain the butt!
Some questions that might immediately come to mind:
Where would I hold these classes?
How the heck would I get started?
How do we lug the sewing machines ( and all the other sewing stuff) around?
Who is going to teach these classes if I’m already teaching at my studio?
But it’s really easier than you think!
Start Small! Start Simple!
For us, in our business, it was in that after school time. We had classes almost every day of the week at our studio after school and for the most part, we were as full as we could be. But we knew that if we held some classes where large groups of kids tend to be at time time of day, we’d have no problem filling classes at this location, as well.
So the obvious next step was working directly with schools in our area to teach classes right at the school. Kids didn’t have to get from the school to our studio (eliminating that step for parents) and we had a whole new audience of kids who wanted to learn how to sew, but didn’t have the ability to come to the studio for a class at this time. So simple, yet so genius!
Whether you teach kids or not, these FIVE steps will work for teaching mobile classes wherever and whenever is most appropriate for your business!
And if you haven’t started teaching yet, that’s okay too! Maybe this is the push you need to get it started before you have the sewing studio of your own.
So here’s our advice to you about getting started teaching mobile sewing classes:
Any room can be a sewing studio, at least temporarily. We’ve taught sewing in church basements, museums, pre-k classrooms, libraries, art studios, cafe’s, restaurants, peoples dining rooms, camp cabins, outdoors and so many other crazy places. You can turn just about any space into a sewing studio as long as 1.) You bring along all the right tools (We’ve included a handy dandy download below – keep reading!) AND 2.) You have access to power – Or if you’re teaching hand sewing or embroidery – who needs power?!
Establish ongoing relationships and more classes will follow. I am very proud that we always get asked back. Whenever we teach anywhere outside of our studio, I feel it’s very important to continue the relationship with the organization where you are teaching. We all know that we have to be friendly and courteous (duh) when you’re there using the space, but DO NOT forget to follow up after the class to let them know how much you loved teaching there! It’s so important to follow up & keep in touch! If the class goes well, there going to want to ask you back as much as you want to teach for them again!
Pack light & be efficient!The list of supplies you’ll need for a mobile sewing class is actually surprisingly shorter than one might think! I use an awesome cart (see photo above) to lug all my machines around. I can fit a total of 6 sewing machines on it, if I need to bring all six. And then usually I can fit all the other supplies needed into a large shopping tote that I sling over my shoulder while steering my cart. Check out the handy-dandy Mobile Sewing Class Tools & Supply Checklist. Print this baby whenever you take your show on the road to ensure you don’t forget anything important.
Hire rockstars who will represent your business AS WELL, if not better, than you can!
Try your darnedest to make the experience as close as you can to the one in your studio.
We know we’re ready to teach our first sewing class. We really, really want to teach our first sewing class. But there’s just some reason we just can’t get over that last scary hurdle to actually schedule that first class. Because then it will be real and real is sometimes really scary!
It’s so relatable! BUT – Here’s what I did to overcome this fear and here’s what I’ve suggested to countless people in this same spot to get over that fear and just teach their first class.
Make your first class free!
Make your first class invite only!
This way you get a small group of people together who already love you and support you. When these people are your students for the trial class, this will bring your nerves WAY down. I’ll bet you 5 bucks you know at least 20 people who’d jump at the opportunity to take a free sewing class from you.
Do you know what’s going to happen when these supportive people finish your amazing first sewing class? Yep – they’re going to turn around and tell everyone they know how fantastic you and your classes are!
First Sewing Class Checklist:
Keep it small!Just because you know 20 people who want to learn how to sew, does’t mean you should teach them all in the first class. 20 is way too many, especially if this is your first time teaching. I’d say keep it around 4-6 students.
Take a ton of photos. If you can, ask someone to come and take photos of the class while you’re teaching so you don’t even have to think about it. This first experience of you teaching a sewing class is GOLD! Make sure you document the entire thing and then use the photos in all your future promotion of classes to come!
Allow your students to complete something! Doesn’t matter what, but by giving your students the satisfaction of completing a project they see pretty quickly why sewing is so fantastic!
You don’t need a studio to teach a sewing class. If you don’t already have your very studio to teach sewing classes, that is totally OKAY! There are tons of places to hold sewing classes including schools, public libraries, church basements, home sewing studios, sewing shops, coffee shops, etc. Get creative and find an adorable place to hold your first class!
Not sure what to teach? Don’t worry, we’ve got your covered!
The Hipstitch Academy Sewing Machine Basics is a 2 Hour Learn to Sew class teaching the basics of how to thread & operate a basic sewing machine. This sewing class effectively teaches adult students ages 16 & up how to sew using our fun, informative & proven curriculum.
We’ve been teaching this class at our studio 3-4 times per month for the last 10 years. And once people take this class, they’re often ready for more sewing classes like our Beginner Sewing Boot Camp.
So what are you waiting for! Get out there and teach your first sewing class!
When the new year rolls around, it’s like our lives and businesses hit the reset button. We can take a step back from our life and business and get a fresh perspective.
We can brainstorm about what we’d like to achieve in the upcoming year.
We can reflect at how the last year went and think about where we’d like to improve.
We can devise a (long) list of all the things that we want to accomplish in the days to come.
From one perspective this is all wonderful and exciting. There are just so many possibilities and we feel energized and ready to check off all the things!
Then on the other hand this can get pretty overwhelming. I’m a big dreamer and I’m also a big doer. I think we all have to be that way in order to run your own successful business. But what this beginning of the year planning can sometimes look like is a huge pile of overwhelm (with a cherry on top – of course).
I can’t be the only one saying to myself in 2018:
[ ] I will finally submit my podcast to iTunes.
[ ] I will start doing more videos for Facebook and my blog.
[ ] I will get back to using up each class credit on classpass.
[ ] I will re-do my kitchen. This will include tiling my own backsplash.
[ ] I will interview one new Sewing Boss per month.
[ ] I will blog at least once a week, every week.
[ ] I will host sewing retreats in the country every other month.
[ ] I will create a new jeans sewing class.
[ ] I will cook all my meals instead of eating out and ordering in.
[ ] I’ll start having classes at my studio each weeknight of the week.
[ ] I will find time to sew at my studio each and every day.
[ ] I’ll say yes to every interesting opportunity that comes my way.
Geez, just writing this list is making me tired.
When you’re starting out it’s super difficult to say no to anything that could turn into an awesome opportunity.
But the thing that I’ve learned over the years is that even with all the excitement and possibility that this time of year brings, If I don’t limit what I take on, I’m quickly feeling the weight of it all and not doing one damn thing from my giant list.
Yep – I’ll still probably be doing most of items on the list. But I’ll be doing them in my time.
I’m still a firm believer in setting goals and intentions, especially around the first of the year. What is life if we’re not growing and bettering ourselves and our businesses?
But I WILL try to stop and smell the roses a bit more in my daily life.
And I will try to say no to at least one thing a week. Happy New Year Sewing Bosses!