October Small Business Member of the Month
I absolutely love All About The Sew‘s sewing kits, they are such a gorgeous and thoughtful gift – add that to the passion and vision behind this small product business and you’ll understand why Lorna Hulme the founder is our October Member of the Month.
I had lovely catch up with a few weeks ago – we talked mental health and mindfulness through the power of sewing and how the local small business community is key to running your own small business. Enough from me – hear what Lorna had to say!
Why did you start your small business?
I started All About The Sew as I wanted to share my passion of sewing with others. I knew how much joy sewing brought me and couldn’t bear to keep it to myself! I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to access sewing, break down any barriers, solve problems and share the mental health benefits of sewing.
Through All About The Sew I aim to inspire people to discover the therapeutic benefits of sewing, to enable people to further develop their sewing knowledge and skills and to enable people to unleash their creativity to make things they can be truly proud of.
Tell us about your background before All About The Sew
I am originally from Bristol but have lived in Birmingham/Solihull for 25 years after studying at Birmingham University and not wanting to leave!
At University I studied Physiotherapy and I worked as a Physiotherapist full time in the NHS for 8 years which I absolutely loved. Since having children, I made the difficult decision to leave my career and be the main parent at home with them when they were young.
As they progressed through their early years I gradually had more time to pursue and explore other interests that I just didn’t have time to do when I was working full time. During this time my Mum inspired me to sew and I have been obsessed ever since!!
I then realised that I wanted a new direction for my career and sewing had to be at the heart of it. It certainly was a risk – seeking to turn a hobby into a business but I was determined to give it my all. It has been a steep learning curve setting up a business and learning the many skills required. I wasn’t even on social media before starting the business!
What’s your best selling product, and why do you think it’s so popular?
Last year I launched my first sewing project kits such as Christmas bunting and fabric baskets. The best seller has been a brand new kit this year- an Advent Calendar kit – they literally flew out!
In the kit there was everything you needed in order to make the Advent calendar including the fabrics, sewing machine thread and ribbon to hang it. It had pockets where you pop treats in each day and obviously once it is made you can look forward to using it again and again in years to come.
Kits are so popular I think because people generally like things made as easy as possible for them – I am the same!
With all of the materials sourced for the project and step by step instructions for the project included, it is a real time saver. You can literally sit down and sew! They also make great gifts to give to people who sew.
What’s the nicest thing a customer has said about your business?
One lady once said “I think your workshops should be prescribed on the NHS”. That has really stuck with me as indicates how powerful the mental health benefits of sewing can be.
Sewing can be extremely mindful as you have to concentrate so much that you can become fully engrossed and absorbed in the activity and you can forget about any worries that you may have.
It can also lead to improved self esteem through having something that you have created, relaxation and happiness through the release of dopamine.
What does the lead up to Christmas look like for All About The Sew?
I am currently really busy putting together more sewing kits as these make brilliant gifts to give or to sew up yourself. I have some festive sewing classes for both adults and children including Christmas stockings, Christmas bunting, applique cushions and drawstring bags.
I am also taking part in a couple of Christmas events including our local high street’s late night shopping event and a Christmas gift market in our village.
As recommended by All About The Sew
The Resilient Retail podcast was where I discovered Catherine. I loved Catherine’s advice and content so much that I then went on to join the Resilient Retail Club. It has been so helpful, inspiring and it has definitely made a big impact on running my own business.
Keeping up to date with Small Business Britain and Small Business Saturday also keeps me connected with other small businesses and helps keep me motivated. The Small Business Saturday team visited my studio this week as part of their UK tour which was amazing!
Getting involved in local events and networking has really helped me – connecting with local businesses, meeting different people and having the opportunity to share what I do.
If you enjoyed the blog post take a look at our interview with our August small business member of the month Natasha Ray, Founder of &Keep.