How did you get started?
I began sewing when I was 13 and I loved it right away. I had previously learned how to sew in home economics, but it wasn’t until someone worked with me on a button-down shirt over the summer that I really fell in love! I loved the intricacy and I that I could take a piece of fabric and turn it into something wearable.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
Initially, I started teaching sewing classes because I just wanted to teach — I had no intention of starting my own business. In 2004, I lead sewing classes for my friends in my Toronto apartment at night while working as a magazine editor during the day. It was just a hobby at first. Then I taught friends of friends. And then strangers started calling me. One baby step at a time, I turned sewing into a career. I soon had to move the classes out of my apartment and into a commercial space and I had to hire people to help me teach all the classes that were running. I kept my gig as an editor for six more years as the business continued to grow. It was in 2010 — when I opened a location in New York City — that I finally realized my hobby had turned into a business and a career.
Take a look at Denise’s website here:
What’s your favourite part about what you do?
I love teaching people to sew! I also love working with creative people, learning from those around me and playing with fabric on a regular basis.
What are some of the challenges?
Taking a break from work is very difficult for me to do but I’m working on it.
What are some of your favourite craft/DIY websites?
What was your first craft?
My first sewing project was a pair of boxer shorts in home ec. Not memorable and certainly not stylish.
What was your favourite project?
My favourite sewing project is definitely my wedding dress. Special, perfect, and cheap!
Overall words of wisdom?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Lean a new skill and get creative! Or get back into something you once loved.
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