The exclamation point in Elizabeth Pike’s ambitious venture is no accident.
Pike opened Let’s Get Sewing! in July on North Monroe, equipped with plenty of enthusiasm as well as a sense of optimism that Spokane was ready for a new voyage in stitchery.
“I wanted to focus on sewing basics, just a consistent and comprehensive approach,” Pike said. “There are other places in town, but they don’t always fill in the basics of what you need.”
Let’s Get Sewing! provides machines and lessons that create a fabric of learning for sewers of all ages and abilities. Customers can work on their own projects or join one of several workshops for beginning, intermediate or advanced levels. Machines can be used at a bargain rate of $10 per hour.
The space is organized in a way that customers can walk in, sit down and simply start sewing. Up to 15 clients can work comfortably at a time. Pike offers private group and individual lessons along with good, old-fashioned sewing parties.
A longtime elementary school teacher, Pike holds a Master’s degree in teaching. She invested her own money to start the business and is the sole owner and employee, although several of her friends have stepped up to volunteer.
“I missed the comradery and sense of community one gets when we gather together and enjoy projects such as sewing, enjoying each other’s company and conversation,” Pike said.
A proponent of education, Pike said she has appreciated the lessons she has gleaned from the SNAP Women’s Business Center. She is one of over 100 clients who have signed on since the site opened in April.
“The Women’s Business Center has provided me with the resources and support I needed to start my new sewing business,” Pike said. “They’ve helped me put together a business plan and a list of things it’s going to take to be successful.”
While Pike has yet to complete her first year as a small business owner, she remains encouraged that traffic will improve as time goes by. She has launched a website and hopes to increase advertising once the budget allows.
Pike said the WBC has been a source of “tools and guidance to help form ideas and possibilities that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of.”
“The classes offered and start-up tools they shared were helpful in giving me direction on launching my sewing company,” she said. “I recommend the Women’s Business Center to everyone I know that is interested in starting a business. It has given me a support network and tools to make this concept a reality.”
The Women’s Business Center was able to provide Elizabeth with business couching on marketing, projections and securing capital. She also received technical training and attended workshops on launching a business. The WBC also assisted with business licensing, site selection, lease negotiation, and the build out of her space.
When Elizabeth realized that the sewing classes offered locally were limited in instruction while not offering machines for use; Elizabeth saw the potential for a unique market niche.
As the business has progressed, Pike has branched out to support causes like Blessings Under the Bridge, a Spokane-based nonprofit that provides food, clothing and other resources to the area’s homeless population. Pike donates thread and machine time to volunteers who sew blankets, mittens, scarves and headbands. The items – sewn with donated material – are then distributed to Blessings Under the Bridge clients.
As for the future, Pike said she will just take it one stitch at a time.
“I’ve come a long way, but I definitely don’t know everything yet,” she said. “I’m still learning.”