Shelly Leer provides the “best of home ec and shop class with lots of tools and fabric and no cooking” at her Flipt Studio blog. We were impressed with all the re-styles, re-design, and re-purpose projects that she shares, both through her blog and at Curbly.com under the moniker ModHomeEcTeacher, so we asked Shelly for an interview.
Shelly says she’s been sewing for more than 30 years, since about the 4th or 5th grade. She was the youngest of five kids that were pretty spread out in age, her sister was in college by the time she was six, and her mom stayed pretty busy with her three older brothers. Shelly fondly remembers outings spent with her mom to buy fabric, and says she watched like a hawk while her mom made jumpers and skirts for her.
Now Shelly has turned her passion into a work-at-home business that she runs at all hours of the day. Her Flipt Studio business has evolved over the past fifteen years, starting out as a small custom upholstery business, which led to writing and photographing tutorials, then to teaching sewing to teens at The Indianapolis Art Center and DIY Beginning Upholstery in her home studio.
Shelly reports that “it all started when the founder of Curbly asked me to become a paid writer, continuing my tutorials as well as other design related posts. With that I had the courage to pitch a DIY column to our local paper, The Indianapolis Star. I finally had the courage to enter a contest sponsored by ApartmentTherapy called January JumpStart. I restyled a cheap nightstand from Salvation Army and came in second place. I then offered a periodic DIY feature to ApartmentTherapy-Chicago which they accepted and I currently post twice a month.”
Shelly loves the flexibility of being self-employed, and enjoys working from her home studio, but has a goal of moving into a larger studio away from home so that she can expand the classes she offers. The toughest part of being self-employed for Shelly is staying focused and keeping her day structured, but she’s working to improve on that and hopes to also overcome her fear of public speaking so that she can share her knowledge in larger formats.
While working at a long-term housing facility for victims of domestic abuse, Shelly taught the women living there to sew and she attributes their growing confidence in being able to create something with their own hands and be proud of what they made, to the change in direction of her business. Well we think the evolution of Shelly’s business from upholstering and sewing for hire, to teaching others both on- and off-line, is inspirational and we invite you to check out her work at fliptstudio.blogspot.com and her posts at Curbly.