Stitches & Sass creates handmade accessories for babies & pets. Meet Stitches & Sass at our 2017 Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart on December 3rd!
Owner, Sharon, takes a playful approach to sewing and believes that baby & kids items should be fun and functional. She says, “I don’t ever want my quilts hung on a wall. They’re made to be used and to get dirty. Pretty much all of my accessories revolve around slobber.” We interviewed this local business owner to learn more about her story.
What drew you to your craft?
I started quilting 19 years ago in college. A local quilt artist visited The Art Academy to present her work and I was very interested in the way she used fabric to “paint”. Her quilts seemed to come alive and didn’t look anything like the quilts I grew up with. I wanted another creative outlet other than the graphic design I was studying, so I bought a book and taught myself to quilt in the traditional method. Once I had the basics down, I made my first quilt. It was queen size, made completely by hand (no sewing machine!) and took me a year to make. I was hooked. That foundation developed into art quilting and then into modern functional baby quilts. I then created a line of items that were initially gifts for family and friends who recently had babies. I am also a huge dog lover, so creating items for pets was a natural progression.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
Pretty much every time I buy fabric, it’s going to be my favorite thing. I’m obsessed with fabric and put a lot of thought into my stash. But if I had to pick one item, I recently made a toddler quilt for a client who wanted an overall ombre design. The design and fabric placement was challenging and fun! Every time I would look at the quilt, I saw different patterns and it was constantly changing.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid, I had these books where you traced fun letters to create your own fonts. I made posters and my own magazines. I didn’t know what it was called back then, but I became a graphic designer and did exactly what I wanted to do!
What is your creative process?
All of my accessory patterns have already been designed by me, so I start by researching fabric and current fashion trends. For babies, I do not like sticking with the traditional “girl/boy” colors and try to incorporate fun fabrics that aren’t the norm. For pets, I think about fur color and try to choose colors and fabrics that are complementary. When making a quilt, I listen to what the client wants and design around that idea. I also provide samples of fabric to choose from. Sometimes I have freedom to design exactly what I want and sometimes the client works with me to get the quilt they are imagining.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
1. Save.Your.Money. I never knew then that I would have a business. All of the money I spent on going out sure would come in handy right now…
2. I would also tell myself to not wait and just go for it! For so many years people urged me to sell my work and start a business. I lacked the confidence to do it then and could have gotten started a lot sooner.
3. Be yourself no matter what. Trying to fit into a mold of what someone else wants you to be really doesn’t work. You will never shine until you are your true self.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
Even before creating my business, I’ve always thought it was important to shop local. Local artists & makers feed your community and make it grow! We bring in local and outside business and create a more unified city. You are also supporting your neighbor’s dream and passion instead of a large corporation.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love seeing the faces of people when they pick out something they love. It’s very satisfying when a client receives a custom order and it’s exactly what they expected. You wouldn’t believe how a dog bow-tie can make a person squeal. Sewing is also my therapy. It is the most stress reducing, anti-anxiety, thing I’ve ever done. I can go into my studio and sew all day and not even realize it’s been 8 hours. I hope I am able to sew until I’m at the age where I can’t remember my own name.
What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own businesses?
Be professional but don’t take everything too seriously. Have fun with it!! Be willing to put everything into your business to make it successful. You have to love it or you can easily burn out. It’s a lot of giving up nights & weekends and not hanging out with friends; especially at first. But, if you love what you do, it is all worth it!! Also, become friends with other vendors. I have a wonderful group of friends that I have met at markets. Not only is it awesome to have friends who are like-minded, but you can bounce ideas off each other and be great resources for each other.
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
I am an Ohio native and grew up in Cincinnati. Even in my own town, I find new things everyday. I lived in Houston for 5 years and during that time, Cincinnati went through a major redevelopment. When I moved back, it had transformed into a city that had so much more culture than before.
Meet Stitches & Sass at our Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart!