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Small business profile - Rebecca from Sew-Drops

Meet the small business owner: Rebecca from Sew-Drops

by Gemma Melling

In a new series, we’ll be introducing you to some of the entrepreneurs behind local small businesses – finding out what inspires them, and asking them to share their top tips.

This week, we meet Rebecca, from Newton-le-Willows, who runs online sewing and quilting supplies shop, Sew-Drops.

This small family business really is a labour of love, because Rebecca is passionate about sewing, with a particular love of patchwork appliqué and hand embroidery.

Sew-Drops allows Rebecca to immerse herself in this passion, as well as meeting a lot of like-minded crafters locally, who get just as excited about new fabrics and challenging new projects as she does!

She explains:

“I started Sew-Drops back in July 2019, so it’s just over three years old. It happened by chance really. I’d just finished studying a teaching assistant course and was looking for a job; however, even though I had all the qualifications, my lack of experience and my age held me back, and after several unsuccessful job interviews, I decided that I needed a change.

“At the time, sewing had just been a hobby of mine, but I wanted to improve my skills, so I enrolled on an online City & Guilds Patchwork & Quilting course and achieved both the Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications during 2018 and 2020.

“It was in late 2018 when I decided that I wanted to set up my own sewing business. I wanted to turn my hobby into a job that I would enjoy, and to offer a variety of sewing and quilting supplies which will hopefully help inspire people across the UK (and locally) to creative beautiful things.”

What do you enjoy most about running your small business?

“One of the big pluses of running your own small business is that you’re your own boss. In my case, I get to see new fabrics/products before they’re released (which is always an exciting time), and I’m able to set and maintain my own standards.”

What’s the biggest challenge?

“As we’re solely an online business, I think the biggest challenge for us is getting known locally.

“We initially struggled with this during the first two years of business due to the lockdowns, but we have recently been handing out leaflets and business cards to local shops and cafés and attending the odd craft fair.

“Also, because we run the business from home, we don’t get the same ‘atmosphere’ as you would from working with other people or in a shop – it can feel a bit lonely sometimes, especially when it comes to getting feedback for products – however, going forward I am looking to start an embroidery group in the new year as a way of meeting people who love to sew and craft and hopefully grow from there.”

What do your customers say about you?  

“Over the past three years, I have received lots of lovely feedback from customers.

“Usually they praise the quality of the fabrics/products, the way I package their order(s), the quick / prompt service, the user-friendly website, and the helpful customer service.

“It’s really nice to know that customers appreciate my work ethic – I package customer’s orders the way that I would like an order to be packaged, like a present or a gift.”

Which of your products would you recommend to customers new to Sew-Drops?

“One of the main products that we stock is fabrics (100% cotton to be precise). We offer fabric by the half metre from brands such as Liberty and Lewis & Irene, but also pre-cut FQ bundles by Tilda Fabrics – either of these products would be great for new customers to try (depending on what you’re looking for).

“For felt kits, I would definitely recommend the Corinne Lapierre felt kits which are suitable for both beginners and advance stitchers alike, however, customers who prefer embroidery hoop projects may like the Hannah Burbury Designs kits. I enjoy stocking these products, so much so that I even take time to make some of the felt/embroidery kits and then promote them on my social media pages. This has proven to be quite helpful to customers who are interested in making the kit themselves.”

Some of the Hannah Burbury’s embroidery kits sold by Newton-le-Willows based Sew-Drops.

Some of the Hannah Burbury’s embroidery kits sold by Newton-le-Willows based Sew-Drops.

How do you rate Newton-le-Willows as a place to set up in business?

“Living, working, and doing business in Newton-le-Willows is really good. One thing that really helps my business is that the local post office is within walking distance, which is very useful when I need to post orders quickly – I’ve become something of a regular with the staff over the last few years, who are always friendly.

“Another thing I like about working in my hometown is when I meet local people who love to sew and craft. When I tell them about my business, they’re really happy to hear that there is a sewing / art and craft business nearby.”

What advice do you have for others starting up in business?

“I do have some tips and advice I’d like to share:- The first is based on a piece of “quote-art” that was gifted to me during the early days of Sew-Drops by a lady who has her own art business, it said “Dream your dreams a size too big, so you can grow into them.”. To this day, I carry those words with me wherever I go.

“My second piece of advice is to always be aware that people who you may think are there to help you are not – trust me, this has happened to me and I’ve learnt that no question is too silly. If you’re unsure about something…ask.

“My third and final piece of advice is to know that you’ll have quiet days running your own business, and that can be frightening sometimes, but to remember that there will also be a lot of good and busy days too.

“There have been times where I have felt really down during quieter periods e.g. worrying that I’m doing something wrong, but then things will begin to pick up again and it gives me a real boost of positivity and confidence.”

How can people shop with you?

“Visit our website: www.sewdrops.co.uk. You can also follow us on social media – we’re sewdrops on both Facebook and Instagram.”

You’ll also find Sew-Drops in our Local Directory for Newton-le-Willows.

Who would you like to see featured in a future ‘Small Business Profile’ piece? Drop us an email and let us know.

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