I am so pleased to have The Sewing Directory on board as new advertisers with Very Berry Handmade, because I am a huge fan of the site, and am very appreciative all the work that Fiona Pullen and Julie Briggs (the partnership who own and run The Sewing Directory) do to create and maintain one of the best sewing resources on the web – especially for (but not limited to) us sewers here in the UK. It’s an honour to be associated with their brand (as us business people say!!).
I thought it would be fun to let Fiona and Julie introduce themselves and the fantastic Sewing Directory project, so I sent them some questions, and here are their answers. First up, let’s put some faces to names – here’s Fiona:
and this is Julie:
- So Fiona & Julie, let’s start with a biggie which will also serve as an introduction – what do you think The Sewing Directory brings to the sewing scene in the UK?
Fiona: My goal when setting up The Sewing Directory was to save people time and bring together information about sewing businesses, free projects and sewing tips etc., all into one place to save people spending hours searching Google for it. Here’s my motto for the site:
Even as the site as grown over the years we still keep a big focus on that time saving aspect with features like the workshops database, independent pattern designers list and round up posts like this 50 fat quarter projects – all of which allow people to just visit one page to find what they are looking for. We also wanted to make it easier for people to find their local sewing shops and schools and support them whilst indulging in their hobby.
- Although you founded the business Fiona, Julie is now a full partner at The Sewing Directory – how are you enjoying it Julie? How are you finding having a partner Fiona?
Julie: I love it, I’m really glad I made the move! When Fiona first discussed it with me I had no hesitation at all. I had known Fiona for years as editor of Sewing World Magazine. I knew how passionate she was about the business and how much it had grown over the years so it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Fiona: The site had grown to a point where it was no longer manageable by one person but I couldn’t think who I wanted to share it with. Then one day it came up in conversation with Julie and I realised she would be the perfect partner. I haven’t regretted it at all, it’s so nice to have someone else’s input in the business, to finally have time to sew and spend time with my family.
- What roles do the two of you have within the business?
Fiona: Given her background Julie was the ideal person to be in charge of the content as content manager. Her primary duty is commissioning and adding content to the site but she also assists in other areas such as SEO (search engine optimisation) and social media. I remain the point of contact for customers because I already have a relationship with them, and I also do the financial side as well as social media, marketing, SEO and admin. We both work closely together especially when it comes to decision making and working on plans for the future. We didn’t find it any issue working together, we just naturally became a team. It was almost as if it was meant to be.
- The Sewing Directory has been around for 5 years now – what do you feel most proud of Fiona?
Fiona: The main thing would be how big it has grown, I had never imagined we’d be viewed by people all around the world and getting close to 100,000 visitors a month! I also love how well respected it has become within the industry, and how it’s become one of the UK’s top sewing sites. When I first launched I never imagined it would be so popular.
- I know that you haven’t been there for quite that long Julie, but we’d love to hear about the work that you’ve been doing too – what do you feel proud of so far?
Julie: I’m very proud of how I’ve managed to make a tangible difference to the site in just a few months, increasing traffic and introducing an expanded range of content. My favourite so far is the huge independent pattern designers feature which took a lot of work but has been very popular. I’m very excited about the content I have planned for 2016.
- I’m sure you have great plans for the future development of the site and the business – is there anything you’d like to share about how things will develop? What do you have in store for us?
Fiona and Julie: Now there are two of us we can really build on the content side of the site. We have lots of brilliant things coming up such as a hand stitching series, a machine embroidery series, garment projects (which is a new area for us) as well as some smaller makes like bags, purses and cushions. With two of us we no longer spend the majority of the time keeping up with the day to day work of running a business and can focus on growing and improving the site. We are also working back through older content, updating and improving it. Plus we have top secret plans to build the traffic to levels we’ve never seen before….
Thanks so much to Fi and to Julie for sharing their experiences with us. I can’t wait to find out what their top secret plan is – maybe we can have an exclusive reveal here at Very Berry ;-) ;-)