Hey guys! Time for another edition of When I Grow Up. Today I'm featuring Jesy Anderson, the co-owner of Sew Dayton. She has lots of other titles, but that was the simplest to share with you! I'll let her explain :)
As a child, I wanted to be a ______ when I grew up.
Actress! I was in a play and got the lead in 6th grade, once that happened I wanted to do it all the time.
How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? I am nowhere close to that dream, as I got older my dream changed. I didn't realize it at the time, but I am really good at training and teaching people. I was the new hire trainer at my old 9-5. I didn't realize until after I started teaching others to sew, that I really love teaching! I discovered my new dream, and I am cherishing every moment of it.
What is your official job title? Co-Owner, Teacher, Accountant, Customer Service, Janitorial Services, Logistics, and IT services… really everything I need to be to make my business function!
Ok, now what does that really mean? It means that my job changes moment by moment, depending on what is needed at Sew Dayton. I could be cutting fabric for a customer, teaching a student to use their sewing machine, or putting manual entries into our accounting software. It changes due to the type of business. It's the most amazing part of my job, it changes so regularly, I never burn out!
What is a typical day like? A typical day at Sew Dayton is all about having fun! We get out our appointment book, divide up the classes between myself and my business partner Tracy. Then we look at the alterations workload; figure out what has to be completed that day. Be it alterations, classes, what online work needs to be done and get to it. Since we have 3 parts of the business, it's hard to really have a "typical" day. We teach sewing lessons, complete light alterations and have a retail side to the shop with fabric and sewing supplies.
How did you end up in this career? My old job was eliminated, after working there for eleven and a half years. Once I got the shocking and dreadful news that I no longer had a job, I went home and spoke to my fiancé about it. He told me that if I thought I could make it work, I should give it my best and he would support my decision 100%. So I left the corporate world behind and try my hand at small business.
I began sewing in 2010; I already had a small side income from selling my goods online through Etsy and my own website JKessel Design. Once I no longer had my corporate job and income, I got online and started ramping up my selection in the shop. Then I signed up for some local craft shows, got out and started meeting other crafty people and small business owners in my community.
I even took a sewing class from a local seamstress, Tracy McElfresh. I had previously met her through a local Facebook crafters group and I asked her to make my wedding dress, she agreed. While planning the dress we talked about running a fabric shop together. After talking it over, we drew up a business plan and started getting to work!
We had a dream and a passion to do the work, but really had no capital to get started. We did a Kickstarter campaign to try to get our initial funding. We hit our goal and then some! The best part, it was about 98% funded from the Dayton community. That is when we knew that they wanted us to be in the city! It was the most rewarding thing that I have had happen, besides getting married and becoming a stepmom.
Tracy and I applied for Activated Spaces, which is a program to help fill vacant storefronts in Dayton. We were accepted and we only had one month to secure a location, sign a short term lease (3 or 6 months), and get the location fixed up a ready to open.
Which we totally pulled off! And almost 3 years later still running and getting it done!
What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I have 108 credit hours of my associates degree for Graphic Design. I have a lot of experience in accounts payable/receivable, billing, and logistics from my old career at a paper company. My past experience has really helped out with running a small business. I also have a lot of social media experience. I am a self taught seamstress, which has helped me when teaching others. I know how to figure out the difficulty of a project and know a lot of the common mistakes that can happen when starting out. It's empowering to be able to say, “I taught myself, you can do this”. Practice does make perfect, if you're passionate about it, you will succeed!
What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? Just do it, the worst thing you can do is have doubt in yourself or your background. Like they say on BEING BOSS, do the work! If you do the work, everything should fall into place. :)
Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? I would LOVE to design fabric and create sewing patterns. I enjoy anything design related, it really is my passion. It would be one more checkmark next to the things I love to do!
Any last thoughts or encouragement for others trying to decide what they want to do “when they grow up”? Who says you have to grow up? It's about life and passion, family and friends. If you can make it work, be happy and all the other things will fall into place, right where they are meant to be. For creatives, it's better to stay just a bit "childlike" and try new things. Just do it and have fun! You only have one life, make it the best and most fulfilling for you and your family!
Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...