Sewbox interview

April 28, 2011

There’s only one thing better than receiving fabric parcels in the post, and that’s receiving surprise fabric parcels. I was absolutely delighted recently when Susan over at Sewbox generously sent me some gorgeous Liberty lawn as a thank you for all my help with the handover of the site and training her on the software.

The rose print (which you can get here) I can see as a summer tunic top/dress for Eva, and the animal print (which you can buy here) is destined to become a cuddly toy of some sort.

Anyway I thought I would catch up with Susan and find out how she’s been getting on as the new owner of Sewbox. In case you didn’t know, I set up and ran Sewbox last year but sold it recently in order to spend more time with my baby (and sewing).

Hi, Susan! This feels quite strange, interviewing the person that’s bought my business! So, before we dive in, can you tell me a little bit about yourself? And what did you do before you bought Sewbox?

I worked for many years in Supply Chain and Export sales and always loved my job.  When I took redundancy 18 months ago I had the opportunity to revive my love of making and embarked on an intensive sewing course with Ann from the Suffolk Sewing School and I’m still there!

And how have your first 8 weeks of owning Sewbox been??

Challenging, exciting, a really steep learning curve and have really enjoyed the ‘buzz’ again. Overall I am so happy that Sewbox came along, I’m totally convinced the decision to buy was the right one and I’m really really enjoying learning and enhancing. So thank you Leah for all your help and also to Ann for all her support.

You’re very welcome, it’s wonderful to have been able to pass the business on to someone who will cherish and nurture it as much as I did… and you’ve wasted no time in getting the shop restocked with patterns and lots of scrummy new fabrics. Especially the Liberty jerseys, which are complete heaven!

Re-stocking and sourcing new product has been really interesting and as you know it is a complete pleasure to work with such beautiful products … not a chore at all.

Buying an existing business contains a whole different set of challenges compared to starting one up from scratch. What have you enjoyed most so far? And what has been the hardest aspect of the handover?

Most enjoyable has been working with products I genuinely believe in and customer interaction and feedback which is so satisfying and useful.  Hardest has been learning all the necessary computer skills to run and operate a business.  Am getting there!!

Had you always intended to buy an existing business, or did you consider setting a shop up from scratch?

I think an existing business was always the best option for me, my skills would not be suited to the intricatcies of setting up a website from scratch, I am better at identifying a good product and developing it and that is what I’ve done and my forward plan.

I know you have some great ideas for the shop, do you want to give us a bit of a sneak preview..?! Any new fabric or pattern designers you’ll be carrying soon, or any other new products or changes to the website in the pipeline?

For me, Liberty fabrics are right for the site for the time being.  On the patterns front, yes I am working on expanding this to give really wide choices for Sewbox customers.

When you’re not running the business, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am so very lucky to live on a farm in the stunningly beautiful Essex/Suffolk border countryside and love all things related to rural life.  In particular my indulgence is our 3 gorgeous horses.  Obviously sewing and anything creative is also my passion.

Some quick-fire questions about your sewing habits if I may

Favourite Sewing Machine - Pfaff.
Favourite Sewing Accessory / Tool - quick unpick – without a doubt

Favourite Things to Sew - anything that is visually pleasing
Favourite Fabric Designer - anything Liberty classic  or modern like Patty Young
Most Recent Item you’ve sewn - lined and interlined curtains – took for ever but look great
Favourite Item you’ve sewn - cashmere short, straight skirt at Christmas
The next thing you want to sew - sun dress in tana lawn

Thanks Susan. I wish you all the best with Sewbox and I can’t tell you how pleased I am that Sewbox is now in the hands of someone who can give it the attention it deserves, so it can continue to grow. Good luck and enjoy!

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