Sew, you Love it!
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to meet the gorgeous Sarah from Sew Love. Now if you haven’t heard about Sew Love, get in the know! Because no doubt you are on board with at least one out of the two concepts in the name.
Sew Love is a sewing workshop that supplies the tools, the know how and the tea necessary to help people learn, up-skill and make new friends through shared experience. Sarah started this venture because she noticed that in today’s world of fast consumerism, textiles make up too much waste. To do her bit to help combat this, she decided to start a business which helps people recognize the potential their older garments have, and equips them with the skills required to up-cycle them. She believes that to think about things in terms of what they have to offer instead of what they don’t, is a mindset that can be positive when it comes to more than just material objects.
After school, she trotted off to university and studied theatre, as she initially envisaged herself as a dance and drama teacher. She took anthropology as an elective paper, and this opened her mind to culture, ethics and sustainability. Once her uni days were over, instead of getting straight in to teaching, she went back-packing across South America. Upon her return, she got a job working as an administrator, firstly for an insurance brokerage, and then at a small architecture firm. She worked at the firm for 2 years, and while she enjoyed and appreciated the company, she couldn’t shake tehe feeling that it wasn’t 100% right for her.
Sometimes not feeling fulfilled can be a blessing in disguise, as it forces you to look for fresh challenges. Sarah decided to keep herself interested by taking a night course at a community centre. She took business studies, and the course assisted her in writing her own business plan. It turns out, thank to her administration experience, she knew lots more than she realized about invoicing and keeping the books balanced; so she passed the theory part of her business plan with flying colours! However, she was forced to admit something about herself which put a bit of a spanner in the works.. She knew that her sewing skills were good enough for her, but not really for anyone else..
Instead of give up then and there, Sarah decided to take matters in to her own hands completely. She quit her job, and enrolled at a fashion tech course back at university. For a year, she focussed completely on gaining the final skill base necessary to feel comfortable opening a business dedicated to sewing.
And then, after years of preparation and daydreaming, Sarah’s someday became a today. She plunged head first in to the independent business world. To minimize that risk and to offset any overhead costs, she moved back in with her parents in Coromandel, and would travel in to Auckland city when she needed to. Because her business was initially mobile, Sarah could easily travel to set up and run her workshops at festivals, community centres and schools. She would spend the rest of her time in the big smoke networking and making friends who were in similar positions themselves.
Just over a year ago, an opportunity to have a permanent workshop and office space in St Kevin’s Arcade opened up. Again, she decided to take a risk.. Because her services had been mobile for so long, she was unsure whether people would be keen to come to her. Turns out they were, and the rest is history! Although she has to move out of St Kevin’s soon (as it will soon be under new ownership), she is on the hunt for another permanent space because she knows she has the skill base and the support to make it work.
Although Sarah is super passionate about what she does, her idea wasn’t always treated seriously. When she first started out, people would often say to her that it sounded like a good ‘hobby’. Rather than let this get her down, she refused to let herself interpret these comments negatively, and instead used them as motivation to make it happen. Sarah managed to keep her social life in check, but would often have to leave early or work well in to the night to keep on top of her self inflicted workload (the best type of workload there is!).
And now that she has got to a really positive space with everything, she says the hardest criticisms come from herself. She finds holidays tough to justify when there are rips to mend and people wanting to learn to sew. But at the end of the day, she knows for her awesome venture to survive, it’s important that she leads a balanced life. Her advice would be to remember that everything you learn in life is transferrable and that it’s never too late to start something new – you just have to be willing to put in the work.
The most inspiring thing I personally took away from my meeting with Sarah was her attitude towards learning something new. When she discovers something she ‘sucks at’, instead of running from it, she embraces it and makes it her ‘new thing’. And that is total commitment to the hustle, my friends. You can follow the awesome work she does on her Instagram Page. #MondayHustle
And now, WIN! Sarah wants you to head to Sew Love in St Kevin’s Arcade in Auckland to see what it’s all about! She’s offering you and a friend the chance to attend a 2 hour sewing workshop to up-skill and learn how to get the most out of your garments. She is also totally in the know with the best opshops, so make sure you start up that chat. Head to Monday Hustle on Instagram, find this pic and tag the friend you would take with you in the comments section to be in to win!