And truthfully it’s almost Wednesday! I really wanted to keep it going on Monday’s but I had that fabulous newborn shoot yesterday (see below) and I wanted to get pictures posted yesterday for the very anxious mom. But here we are again….Yeah! I’m so happy to be back to posting my Mamaprenuer “showcases”. When I last left off in December, I introduced you to Ms. Monica who crafts wonderful homemade bags,exercise bikes for fat burning, totes and wristlets. If you didn’t catch it then, you can see her work at AbbaDabba Bags. Tonight I am proud to introduce Anissa George from The Stitch House in Dorcester. Anissa is a mom of 4 energetic boys all under the age of 4! That includes a set of triplets, my friends. I don’t know how she manages it all. Here’s a look into her story….
Business Name: Stitch House
How did you come up with that name:
I went through many different variations first, used fonts to see what I liked and imagined the front door sign. I also asked friends for feedback.
Do you have a store front/website/etsy?
I have a storefront and a website.
Store front location: 846 Dorchester Avenue , Dorchester, MA 02125
How long have you been in business? I just celebrated my one-year anniversary in September!
Please explain a little bit about your product/business and how you developed the concept behind it:
Many people ask this question and my answer isn’t typical. I certainly didn’t have a “opening a yarn store/sewing center” dream since childhood. I have always been an avid sewer and enjoyed creating a variety of crafts. I had a small children’s specialty clothing business and worked with other store owners to promote my products. I always had an entrepreneurial spirit (I teach high school economics and business) and did imagine some day I would own some sort of business. The building that houses Stitch House is a new development of my husband’s (he owns his own real estate development company) and when he was in his planning stages he debated what type of business he should have rent the space from him. At that same time I had a few close friends spending a lot of time and money knitting and I realized that if I combined that with my love of sewing I might have a good business idea. I put some time into researching the idea and planning a business. I then presented the plan to my husband and he supported what we fell is a great opportunity and took a risk and leased the space to me. The property is also just down the street from our home so I am able to be home and put my kids to bed and go back to my shop before closing time. I am also close enough that if I need to be there right away I can be. On walks with the kids we often stop in and say hi too.
What makes your product/business so unique?
Yarn shops are not unique but for Dorchester – we don’t have any. We have a great local fabric store, Sew-Fisticated (where I worked for 13 years through high school and college and while figuring out a career for myself). Stitch House does have a unique atmosphere. I like to think of it as a night club for knitters. When I was in the planning stages for Stitch House I spent a lot of time checking out my future competitors, both locally and not (because web sales are a part of our future) and took what experiences I liked the most and adapted them for Stitch House and what I saw that I didn’t like I made sure that wouldn’t be a part of my shop now. Through that process and now as we see changes that need to be made or new things we should try I have created not your typical yarn shop. This is what separates my business from others. I feel so proud when people walk in and are amazed and excited about the physical atmosphere we have created. I also make sure all my associates provide a wonderful shopping experience for my customers. Taking on a new craft can be intimidating – I like providing a no fear/no judgment zone in my shop. We also offer tons of lessons to support our customers and that list is pretty extensive.
What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?
Now that I own a business I have less time to dedicate to my crafts. I enjoy sewing and knitting but now that I own and operate a business that promotes these activities I have a lot less time to enjoy them myself. Some of what I struggle the most with is the administrative piece. There is no creativity in the paperwork of running a business. It simply needs to get done! I also kept my day job as a teacher. First the benefits are great and being self-employed with 4 kids and a husband I need insurance. Plus it helps that I love teaching high school – it is a different experience than toddlers – that’s for sure!
How many children do you have. What are their ages? And ages when you started your business?
I have 4 children – all boys. My oldest, Douglas, is 4 and I have 2 1/2 year old triplets Charlie, Kayden & Samir. I started planning my business when they were 2 and 6months (crazy I know) and then I opened a year later.
What are some of the creative ways you have found to juggle being a woman, a mother, a business owner, and a wife?
Well, first I need to have help. I have some great employees that I trust working at my shop. I also have a wonderful husband that is great with our kids and our family that helps all the time. I am very lucky to have younger sisters who are always willing to pitch in. My husband and I also try to give each other nights “off” to do our things outside the home.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is really my customers. My mission is to bring together a group of instructors each passionate about their craft (and good at it) to share their talents and help others learn. I love seeing customers finish their first sewn or knit project. I love hearing them brag about how they finally made something. Even when the projects aren’t perfect they are so happy about what they made.
Now for some fun and easy questions….
Dessert – really! Sometimes I skip supper for a sundae! For real food I love anything hot and fresh. No leftovers for me please.
Lemon mouse cake from Kondeitermeister. Sometimes I’ll sneak a quick ride to Braintree just for a little snack. Second favorite is boxed cupcakes and store bought frosting
Favorite restaurant (can be anywhere)?
Pizzeria Regina in the North End (has to be the real original) and the Blarney Stone in Fields Corner.
Favorite piece of clothing or accessory?
The mother’s day right after the triplets were born (May 2006) I really wanted a new, fancy coffee maker and my husband surprised me with an emerald and diamond ring. There are 3 emeralds (for the triplets) and two diamonds (for him and my older son).
Favorite vacation spot? Any National Park.
Favorite childhood memory?
I should say sewing with my mom (she taught me) but that is second to hanging out at Carson Beach with my grandparents.
On any given day, what makes you smile?
My kids of course – especially on nights we order out and I don’t have to cook – just throw away the pizza boxes!
When you have free time (ha!) what would your ideal day entail? In one word – Sleep. (love that!)