One of my favorite chick flicks is "You've Got Mail", a loose adaptation of the 1940 classic "Shop Around the Corner". In the old version, two employees at a gift shop in Budapest who can barely stand each another, don't realize they're falling in love as anonymous correspondents through their letters. In the 1990's version, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks correspond via email - he, the owner of a mega-giant book conglomerate who plants an huge outlet across the street from her shop, a small boutique book store.
The movie is a romance, but the underlying sub plot depicting the demise of her precious Shop Around the Corner as it becomes overshadowed by the giant chain is all too familiar in today's economy. "Box stores" are everywhere touting huge inventories, mass produced products and self-checkout lines. There are no Megs to query, no experts with advice...just aisle after aisle of stuff you don't need, can't find and don't want.
As a whole, Fabric stores are no different. If I want candles, Halloween decorations or silk flowers I can go to any of the big-name chains. If I want fabric - I mean real fabric to make a new outfit - I'll drive 100 miles to Berkeley to my precious "shop around the corner" Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics. There are precious few of these specialty stores left and they survive because of the hard work and perseverance of people like Suzan Steinberg, who still believe that customer service and product knowledge are the cornerstone of enduring success.
As I shared in my first post about our budding collaboration (see original 2013 post below), Suzan and I share a vision of a renewed interest in garment sewing. Over the past year, we have created a new buzz about sewing for yourself on her blog Fabric Lady, and I personally have been blessed to play a small part in her life. We have made over 50 garments together, many of which she wears and displays in her shop on Shattuck Avenue.
I admire, respect and love you, my Leo-Sister, and congratulate you on the continues success of your precious "shop around the corner", StoneMountain. Have the happiest of Happy Birthdays this weekend!
Be fierce, Suzan...afterall, are we NOT Leos?
Laurel. Sew On!!
My Exciting New "Gig"
(Published in June, 2013 in Laurel's Quill)
My friends know that have always wanted to have my own fabric/yarn/jewelry/artwork etc. boutique, but somehow it was never in the cards. When I visit a shop that I love, I try to imagine how I might "become a part of it", but more often than not, I will just breathe in its ambiance, buy a few trinkets and leave, wishing I had had the chutzpa to do it myself.
Along came Suzan Steinberg, co-owner with her father Bob, of my favorite fabric shop in Berkeley, Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics. Suzan put out a notice to her customers that she was looking for people who might be interested in sewing garments for her, as well as samples for the store. I promptly replied to her. expressing an interest in more than just the sewing gig, but some sort of "collaboration" that might also include my love of blogging and photography as well as feed my inner need to create, teach, otherwise influence and inspire others (there's that "corporate" head still trying to rule!).
Suzan and I met, threw around some ideas and quicker that you can say "fabric", I was sent home with bags of material, patterns and notions to make several outfits for her. Somehow, things are just meant to come together - it's almost like I've known her for years. I will be a guest contributor on her blog, FabricLady, that will feature some of the outfits that I am making for her, along with some tutorials perhaps, and whatever else Suzan has in store!
I am excited to work with her creating some garments that not only showcase the quality and variety of Stonemountain fabrics, but just get women to want to start sewing for themselves again. Both of us think that fashion sewing is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and for my part, the more I can get that message across, perhaps more of the big "chains" will start to take notice and truly be able to call themselves "Fabric Stores".