On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about creating craft studios for kids with my guest Nicola Day, owner of the kids’ crafts studios, HipStitch.
Nicola has been sewing since she was 11 years old when she learned to sew at school. Sewing has always been part of her life. In college, sewing for people helped her to make money to support herself.
After college, she designed a line of pocketbooks and sold them all over the US in boutiques.
When her daughter was born, she wanted her to be as passionate about sewing but found there was no studio in my town and so she founded Hipstitch, a sewing and craft studio for children in Newton, Massachusetts.
HipStitch has been in business now for 12 years, opening its second location in Wellesley and a third location is due to open in January in Brookline. HipStitch has expanded its offerings to include knitting, crochet, and fiber arts as well as their own DIY hand and machine kits to create at home. In addition to offering classes at their studios, they offer the program offsite to 15 schools in Newton, Wellesley, Weston, Cambridge, and Brookline.
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Children can attend weekly classes as well as summer camps and one-day school vacation camps at HipStitch.
We begin the conversation with Nicola talking about her childhood growing up in the UK as the eldest of 12 children. She recalls sewing shirts with paisley fabrics (these were all the rage in fashion at the time) and having her brothers wear them to school to drum up business. In college, Nicola studied catering at first, then switched to accounting. She worked as an accountant before coming to the US to visit two of her brothers. She met her husband, a musician, and began working as a sewist for a local boutique in Nantucket.
Nicole soon created her own handbag business with a friend, traveling across the US to visit boutiques where they would take orders, then heading to their hotel to sew them.
After having her daughter, Nicola began searching for a sewing studio where children could take classes. When she couldn’t find one, she decided to host a kid’s sewing class in her house and invite her daughter’s class. The concept was successful right away and soon Nicola began looking for a commercial space to rent.
The wall of projects can be seen through the shop windows from the street, enticing passers-by to come in, shop, and book a class.
Nicola talks about the type of space that prospective crafts studio owners should look for, and what type of space to avoid. She gives great tips on the type of sewing machines and furniture to buy, and how to decorate the space to make it inviting. I ask Nicola to talk about the introductory projects she has new sewists tackle.
HipStitch has expanded its offerings to include textile projects for younger children so that families can drop off siblings of varying ages for classes. The studio also travels to schools in the area, offering afterschool programming. Nicola talks about how to coordinate this and make the experience successful for everyone. The studio also offers birthday parties as well as adult sewing lessons. Nicola sends targeted emails to parents of school-aged children advertising vacation classes for each school’s professional development days. So clever!
The HipStitch studio in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where we recorded this podcast interview, is a bright, fun space that Day says she wants to infuse with that Anthropologie-type feel.
At HipStitch there are craft kits, fun notions, and fabrics for sale as well as sewing machines. The studio acts as a store as well as a teaching space.
At the end of the interview, Nicola shares some valuable wisdom from the many years she’s been involved in creative businesses. Definitely tune in for this part of the episode!
And, of course, I ask Nicola to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Nicola recommends: