Today on the podcast I’m talking with Deepika Prakash, the founder and owner of PatternReview.com. Deepika started PatternReview 14 years ago, in the early days of the modern web. She had a background in technology and had just learned to sew. After connecting with people on an internet message board, and checking out another review-based site called Epinions, Deepika realized that she could create a website for people to review sewing patterns. The first incarnation of PattternReview was very bare-bones, but today PatternReview includes forums, online classes, a PDF and print pattern shop, and in-person gatherings. With over 350,000 users currently, Deepika met her goal of connecting online with people who sew.
A few months ago, Deepika completed a site redesign which was three years in the works. The new look aims to be cleaner, with larger pictures, while remaining focused on the wealth of user-generated content that is at the heart of PatternReview. Deepika talks about how important it is to her to remain respectful to long-time users of the site by not making drastic changes that could lead to frustration.
Deepika is also the author of 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips which was published by Creative Publishing int’l in 2010. This book was truly a community effort. Each tip comes from a PatternReview user and Deepika shared her advance among every tip contributor.
It’s challenging to survive online for 14 years and remain relevant. Deepika reflects on how the online sewing community has changed over that time and what her big goals are for the site going forward.
And, of course, I asked Deepika to recommend something she’s enjoying right now. She chose:
I invited Deepika to be on the show because although I’ve known about PatternReview for years, I’ve never heard her story. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.