Why I’m Closing My Physical Sewing Studio
The decision to close my sewing studio in Hoboken has definitely not been an easy one. But it's one that I have decided to move forward with.
At the end of this month/year, I'll be moving the rest of my things out of the space I've occupied for the last 8 years.
When I let my landlords at the building where my studio is, I felt a lot of sadness in my heart. After all, I had been teaching sewing in that building since 2003. (To clarify the timeline, I first opened my studio there in the Monroe Center in 2003, then moved to a storefront location in 2006 and then moved back to the Monroe Center building in 2012. I have been there ever since. ) But I'll be honest, when I drove back to the studio the next day after having taken action on my decision to close, I felt relief and I also felt excitement for the future.
There are a multitude of reasons that I have decided to close this physical location. And I'll get into the 2 main reasons in this post. But please understand this does not mean in any way that I will not continue to teach sewing, continue to coach other sewing studio owners to be successful in their studio endeavors and continue my calling of teaching more people how to sew. It's just going to look a little different from how it's looked for the last 17 years.
1. I've wanted to live somewhere else for a LONG time. When I moved to the Hoboken NJ area in 1998, I had never lived in an urban area before. I was fresh out of college (small college in central NY) starting a new job in Manhattan working at the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. And I was beyond excited about my new life in the CITY. I had been craving change for a long time and couldn't wait to live so close to the cultural hub of New York City. I was commuting there each day, spending most of my nights and weekends there and just having the time of my life. I was 22 years old and for the first time, I was a city girl and I was loving it.
But as the years went by, the thrill started to wear off. Yes, I loved what New York had to offer and I was living the dream owning my own business and having amazing arts & culture any time I wanted it. But I also started to desire things like nature, outdoors, physical uncrowded space to live & work, parking spots in front of my house so I could easily bring groceries in to my apartment and basically just room to breathe. The area I lived and worked was one of the most crowded and congested areas in the world and it was starting to ware on me.
3 Years ago my husband and I purchased a home in the Western Catskills. I felt strongly I'd had enough of city living and needed an escape. And being the lifelong entrepreneur I was, I knew this investment could be a business and we decided to rent out the house on Airbnb when we weren't staying there ourselves. I also held sewing retreats in the good weather months. The house more than paid for itself (it needed to in order for us to afford a second home) and this house was my happy place. I'll be honest, I dreamed of the day we could move here full time, but I knew it would be a lot of work to convince my husband who'd never lived in a rural area before.
Fast forward 3 years, we're all told to stay in our homes for the foreseeable future, everyone who works in an office is told to work from home indefinitely and life as we knew it got completely turned upside down.
When my husband suggested we sell our house in Jersey City and move to the house upstate house permanently (at least semi-permanently) I jumped at the chance.
2. The state of the world made having an in-person "experience" business a whole lot harder. When covid hit our area in March of 2020, our lives and the lives of everyone in the area changed forever. The Tri-State area was immediately clobbered over the head with the Covid-19 virus and people took it SERIOUSLY. Almost everyone I knew knew someone who had the virus, someone who died from the virus, knew someone who lost their job due to the virus and knew someone working in the medical professional deal with the horrors of the virus. It was a very scary time in the beginning and people stopped leaving their houses and doing the normal things they did.
My sewing studio was forced by the city of Hoboken to close our doors on March 13th 202. And due to a state mandate we weren't allowed to open again until July 6th, 2020.
I was a seasoned enough business owner to know that I needed to come up with some alternative revenue streams and I managed to do that making and selling face masks, as well as moving all our sewing classes online.
Immediately we saw that the online classes were not going to be the same as hosting in person sewing classes, but we also saw right away that people definitely could learn to sew (and pretty well, I might add) on a zoom call. I took my own business advice at the time and I made my online kids sewing classes 100% free so I could learn how to teach them properly and get better at it before I started charging. By far, that was the best thing I think I could have done at the time. The classes I was teaching online gave me a purpose at a really dark and scary time, and at the same time, I learned what worked and didn't work in teaching sewing classes on video.
As we began to get better at teaching our sewing classes online, I started to see that my dream of living somewhere else could possibly be a reality by continuing to teach sewing classes on Zoom, pandemic or not.
And the 2 really huge bonuses would be:
A.) No one wold have to deal with finding a parking place (my studio and the entire city of Hoboken was notorious for having zero parking places and that alone would often deter people from coming to take a class at my studio) and
B.) Teaching on zoom would allow me to reach way more people in my quest to teach the world to sew.
I will definitely miss having my physical sewing studio in Hoboken.
I'll miss seeing kids grow up in my community.
I'll miss hosting Girl Scout events and seeing kids blow out the candles at their sewing birthday party.
I'll miss making new friends in my town because they came to one of my sewing classes.
I'll miss walking over to someones project and quickly fixing their mistake myself.
And I'll miss threading my youngest sewing students needles for them in person.
But I'm extremely excited about what the future holds for Hipstitch Academy in 2021.