30 June, 2017
This month, Stitch 56 celebrated its 5th birthday. Going back to when I decided to create this business, I’m thinking about those early days, and I’m remembering why I thought this would be a great idea.
Back in 2012, my husband was still slowly recovering from his nephrectomy after they found a cancerous tumour the size of a small pin cushion in one of his kidneys. He’d nearly died when his second kidney all but failed, and it took him some time to regain his health. He needed me to stay close at hand, and as I contemplated what to do with myself, and what I could do to supplement our income should he not return to work full-time, I decided to start a little online business that I could run from home.
Sewing being a passion of mine, I looked in that arena first. Nikki Mallalieu, a well-known Melbourne bag pattern designer, provided me with the perfect opportunity when she changed her business from retail to wholesale - I would become one of her retailers, and sell her bag patterns and bag hardware products on the internet. And so it began, with full enthusiasm and the excitement that comes with creating something new as an expression of your self.
So many people have asked me how I came up with the name Stitch 56. It was quite simple really. I was 56 years old at the time, and my year of birth is 1956. I liked the cadence of the name, Stitch 56, and so I registered it with whois.com, and promptly ordered a couple of shoeboxes worth of stock from You Sew Girl. I was on my way!
From there to here. Gosh, what a wonderful journey. My customer base grew and grew, the product range expanded from those shoeboxes in a cupboard of the spare room, as I worked hard to build my business on the cornerstones of
- * exceptional customer service
- * high quality and highly desired products
- * faultless integrity in my business practices, and
- * bringing love to every aspect of the business.
We branched out into fabric, and our pattern range and notions offerings grew. We got a shop, and as of now, three wonderful staff. Last year, we transformed our website - some say for the better, others may not be so sure, but my intention was to make shopping a better experience for our customers. We hosted events, and workshops, and classes, and generally had an enormous amount of fun.
As a few of you may know, one of my other passions, something that’s been with me since I was a young child, is playing the piano. If you’re interested, you can visit my blog, Musically Speaking, to read all about that journey, and how a chance meeting in September 2014 led to an extraordinary event that was like coming home after four decades. I’m slightly in heaven now with my teacher and the lost world I’ve miraculously regained.
Another bit of news is that last year, I went back to school. Earlier, I’d developed debilitating pain in my right arm, and had to stop playing the piano. I didn’t want to rush into having cortisone shots in my wrist, as my rheumatologist recommended, and after searching on the internet for alternatives, I found the Alexander Technique. I read how this technique is widely used to help manage chronic as well as recurring pain issues, how it helps people avoid strain and injury, perform at their peak, and learn new skills and reduce stress. I read how many prominent musicians, actors, performers and athletes have benefited from learning the Technique that has been endorsed by the likes of Paul McCartney and Sting, and is being taught at the Victorian College for the Arts in Melbourne, and at the Juilliard School in New York.
I decided to try it, and found a wonderful Alexander teacher, Jenny Thirtle, who lived nearby. She taught me how to use my shoulders and arms - and in fact the whole of me - well, and how I could intervene in the unwanted habitual ways I’d held myself as I played, that had led to the muscular strain and stress I’d experienced. I was quite blown away by the difference it made, virtually reducing the pain to nothing, so that I could play again. It’s been many decades since I sat in a classroom, but the Alexander Technique made such an impact on me, that I decided to do the three-to-four year training course so that I could teach others how to use it. I’m almost a quarter of the way through the training, and loving it. I’ve also decided to begin teaching classical piano, and it makes perfect sense to bring the Technique into my lessons with my piano students.
My vision has been to do it all - run the shop, play my piano, teach a little, and then, in three and a half years’ time, when I graduate from the course, teach the Alexander Technique. Everything seemed to work really well for a bit, during the first part of my course, but this year, I’m struggling a little with it all, finding it takes more than I can give right now to have the business run the way I like it to.
So, this now brings me to my announcement. I’ve decided that this is probably the right time for me to close Stitch 56. I’ve always known that this day would come of course, and that I wouldn’t want to be heading towards my seventieth birthday still running the shop, with everything else I was doing. I did think I could still do it all for another few years, I truly thought the time to give it away wouldn’t be just yet. However, it’s not an easy thing to do, as I’m finding out, doing it all, and I have come to the conclusion, after much thought, discussion, and deliberation, that perhaps this is the perfect time.
But I do want it to be a time for celebration. Time to celebrate the accomplishment of the past five years, as well as a time for closure. In the meantime, we’ll continue as before, with the same commitment to customer service as we send your orders out, and serve you in our shop.
So, here's what we're going to do... I have heaps of lovely things still in the shop of course, and I think we're still getting more Ernest Wright & Sons left-handed scissors in, as well as all those amazing bolts of knits! I'll let you know when they arrive in store.
I'm putting everything EXCEPT those knits on 35% OFF! From now till they're all sold out.
Use the code: ITSCLOSINGTIME when you're checking out for the discount to apply. The code won't expire, but of course the items in the shop, ...well, once they're sold out, that's it.
1. Gift Cards are no longer available. If you have on outstanding balance, please use it before the 28th July.
2. Loyalty Points are not available for redemption with the discount code. It's one or the other, your choice.
3. Dress Forms and hem markers are no longer available.
AND ONE MORE THING . . .
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! Thank you for everything, for your support over the past five years. Whether you've been here from the beginning, or you just found us this week, know that you've been part of something that began as a spark of an idea I had one night some time ago, something that grew into the much-loved shop it is today, one that I'm very proud of. I will miss you and Stitch 56 beyond any words I can put to it.