Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in handcrafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kate Ward, Founder of Zen Stitching, located in Truro, NS, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Zen Stitching takes the mindfulness that creativity brings and combines it with sashiko, the elegant, traditional Japanese stitches that have been used to mend and patch clothes. It brings beautiful aesthetics and functionality together and has a long-lasting impact, both environmentally and on the mental health of my audience. Through Zen Stitching, I teach courses online through both pre-recorded and live Zoom workshops. I cover topics from Sashiko to Beginners right up to Sashiko Masterclass, as well as a few classes on fabric manipulation/dyeing. My audience hails from all corners of the world and is made up of folks who are looking to learn new skills, repair their clothes, meet like-minded people, and care for the environment and their mental health, all through the lens of textile art.
Tell us about yourself
I’ve always had a fascination with art, from learning to knit, sew, and embroider as a girl, to studying textiles at art school, to several artist-in-residencies in different parts of the world. I quickly learned to love traveling because I get to experience different cultures whilst learning more about myself! With those interests and ethics, Zen Stitching has been a natural progression of sharing my textile knowledge. I get to teach and share the joy that creativity brings to my community. They are a wonderful group of people, and they’re what motivates me to continue doing what I love and sharing my knowledge with others.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’m most proud that my business has allowed me to give back to the community in a number of ways. I get to contribute financially to organizations that are close to my heart, and I get to share my knowledge and the peace of mind that comes from mending and creativity with my community. I also feel like I’m giving back to the environment by helping others become aware of how we can recycle and repair our clothes.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
So much to do and so little time! It can be tough to fit all the things that need to be done in with all the fun ideas and dreams I have for my business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Don’t be afraid to start. We all have to start somewhere, and we can’t let perfectionism keep us from achieving our goals! It’s okay to make mistakes - so long as we learn from them! Always be looking for and learning new ways to do things better. Continual improvement is key! A bonus tip - treat your customers like they are your friends. They are integral to your business and should be treated as such!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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