Many sewists know Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness thanks to her twice-weekly live videos that feature everything from demos to Q&A, reviews, and even giveaways. But there’s something many of Sara’s customers may be surprised to know: She is a very shy introvert.
Despite feeling uncomfortable in front of a camera, Sara chose to focus on video about two years ago — not only because it helps her educate and connect with customers but also because research shows that video is how many consumers interact with companies. Even as an introvert, Sara couldn’t ignore the advantages.
“I read a statistic recently that said that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic – 15 times higher than it was in 2017 (Cisco),” Sara says. “Six out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television (Google). This…makes it clear to me that I need to pivot my business to where my customers and potential customers are.”
Sara designs her videos to go hand in hand with her goal to make patterns accessible for all skill levels. “I don’t label my patterns according to skill level because it is my hope that even a confident beginner should be able to make any of my patterns,” Sara says.
Since the beginning, in January of 2013, Sew Sweetness patterns were always written with the purpose of showing sewists step by step what they need to do to successfully complete a project. At that time, Sara says not many designers used full-color step-by-step photos.
While more designers now use the tutorial approach, video continues to help set Sara apart. A customer once told Sara that she was different from other designers because she was so accessible, replying to emails immediately and answering live questions on her shows.
Customers also like that Sara’s videos, unlike many other tutorial videos, are not interrupted by ads. “[A customer said it] was distracting to her when she’d be trying to work on a sewing video and a minute-and-a-half ad would pop up every few minutes,” Sara says. “I guess that kind of sums up what is different about what I offer: I try my best to offer information to help people learn and be better bag-makers through tutorials and sewing patterns. I’m not trying to disrupt someone’s day; I just want to include them in the process.”
The videos have also helped Sara’s customers connect. “Thanks to the live shows on Facebook and YouTube, we’ve been able to strengthen and support our community,” she says. “Everyone is so very kind and supportive to each other; whether it is saying something nice about someone’s new bag, answering a question, or even sending anonymous gift certificates to a group member, there is a lot of kindness going on.”
While it may appear effortless now, incorporating video was not easy. Sara had no technical experience or training with video, so her now-full-time employee and husband jumped in to figure it out. As an introvert, Sara also had some struggles with presentation.
“I’m a super shy person and so the live shows and videos are still way outside my comfort zone,” Sara says, “but I feel like there are no excuses – if you want to do something well, everything is not always going to be easy.”
Sara offers advice to anyone interested in trying video: “I think it’s important to be yourself, be honest, and to tell a story in whatever you do. I think I’m slightly more engaging on the live shows than I am in real life, but I’m still myself.”
Sara’s live show typically airs every Sunday and Tuesday at 7pm CT on Facebook or YouTube. (Note that Sara’s live videos are temporarily on hiatus, but check her social media and website for updates on when she will return.)
Ashley Little is a craft writer and knitting/crochet technical editor by day, serial crafter by night. She is a regular contributor for Bluprint and the author of Chunky Knits. You can find more of Ashley’s work at TheFeistyRedhead.com.