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October 2008
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When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Sewing!

Many businesses and individuals are struggling in the current tough economy, but sewing shops, classes and businesses appear to be expanding in response.

Classes are full at Nancy’s Sewing Basket in Seattle, Washington. “Now, all of a sudden, we have all these requests for classes,” said Tamera Fidler, manager of the shop, which opened in the 1970’s. Supplies have been flying off the shelves as new sewers pack the store. “We go through thread very quickly,” said Fidler.

She has a business theory. “We started in a recession. It seems that when there’s a recession, we get busier. From last year, I’d say business is up 20 percent.”

The rise in food and gas prices has required cuts in most budgets, so many people are looking to save money on their clothing, either by making new clothes or mending old things. This is apparently one of the factors contributing to the recently reported 70% increase in sewing machine sales on eBay over the past three months.

There has also been a surge of interest in making handcrafted gifts for family and friends. Tailors, seamstresses and the providers of clothing alterations are all also reporting surges in their businesses. Consider how your business might benefit from these current trends – hold sewing or crafting classes for your customers, stock up on inexpensive materials and kits to make gifts for the holiday season, or think of some promotions, specials or advertising methods to increase awareness of your sewing business. If you’re creative, the current economic times can be used as an opportunity to expand your business while helping your customers to save money at the same time.

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Author, Instructor & Pattern Designer

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