Photo above: inside Workroom Social winter 2017.
Hi hi! I don’t think it’s a super secret. If you’ve ever met me, or maybe heard me somewhere else on the Interwebs, you know I don’t love blogging and posting on social media. What can I say? I’m more of an in-real-life kind of gal.
Because I’m not the most active in online communications, sometimes our day-to-day fun times (work, work, work) never leave the walls of our Brooklyn studio. Last week Suzanne and I were chatting, and we realized that I’ve never really written about why I started Workroom Social and what my and the company’s main mission is (psst…it’s to empower YOU).
As Workroom Social slowly expands into different areas of my favorite hobby (sewing of course!), I thought it might be fun to tell you a bit more about the company, who’s working on what projects, and how it all came to be.
The start of the sewing studio
Workroom Social was always a business for me. It was never a blog turned company or an Insta-famous account that started selling stuff.
When I left my office job in 2010, I had no real plan. I just knew that I was spending a lot of time at a job that was draining, and I was ready to create a work life that was more aligned with my lifestyle and with my personal values.
Fast forward to a boutique sewing class I took and had a negative experience at. I was disappointed that I spent my time and money on an event that wasn’t fun, wasn’t welcoming, and wasn’t educational to me. After complaining to a friend, she got me thinking that I could run a great sewing business. With 15 years of sewing experience, a background in training adults, and experience producing events, I created Workroom Social*.
The very first Dressmaking Intensive at Workroom Social.
As I taught Workroom Social’s first sewing classes in Brooklyn**, I focused on creating experiences that would educate, build confidence in, and created warm, fuzzy feelings for women. Of course I wanted our students to learn how to sew their own clothes, but I also wanted them to learn that it is OK to mess up, that good work takes lots of practice, that they can accomplish more than they might think, and that their peers support them no matter how good or bad their projects turn out.
Camp Workroom Social 2016.
When I started planning our annual sewing retreat Camp Workroom Social, I built on those warm, fuzzy feelings, working hard to create a welcoming and safe learning and social environment that any sewist would find comfortable, whether she came as a camper OR a team member (CWS counselors are the BEST!). As a past sleepaway camp counselor myself, I knew that camp + sewing would equal MAGIC!
With the start of our fashion fabric line, I wanted to support our customers with different resources to enhance their work. At the same time, I wanted to support my friends and peers in creative new ways, knowing that helping each other grow our own separate businesses would create better community for us all. Our first collection was designed by screen printing, weaving, print designing, crafts-and-laughs extraordinaire Whitney Crutchfield. Our second and third collections are in the works, and are being designed by some other familiar faces.
As we launch our first sewing patterns, I’m excited to empower even more sewists through our designs, our supporting online classes, and our workbooks (Workroom Social’s take on sewing instructions). I know not everyone can travel to Brooklyn to work with us, and I’m excited to expand our reach to you virtually. We want to help you make clothes you want to wear!
Today I am super proud of my little company and all the women I’ve met and connected with through our work. Our students, our customers, our fellow teachers, and our collaborators all inspire me every day with their curiosity, creativity, and more than anything, with their kindness.
This is my tribe
Workroom Social was just me for a long time. I contracted teachers and assistants for classes, but it was me alone running the show. Last year I welcomed two new members to the Workroom Social tribe, and I’m excited to formally introduce them to you!
If you follow Workroom Social on Instagram, you’ve probably seen Suzanne a ton of times already as I like to exploit her willingness to model whenever I can! We’ve been working together for almost a year on a number of projects, including a new line of sewing patterns*** (more to come!). She’s a home sewing pattern expert (formerly of the McCall Pattern Co.) who shares my deep appreciation for snacks and ’90s hip hop and R&B.
And if you’ve taken a class at our Brooklyn studio or attended Camp Workroom Social, you probably have at least one friendly email in your inbox from Dani. For over a year, Dani has worked for Workroom Social remotely from Maryland, where she lives with her husband and adorable daughter. In addition to being the nicest person ever, she keeps everything organized and makes sure every last question gets answered.
More to come!
I hope this has been an interesting read! Watch for interviews with Dani and Suzanne soon, and more fun announcements about upcoming projects.
*Fun fact #1: Workroom Social’s name was almost “Topstitch.” After thinking more through what I wanted the company to be—a place for people to gather, to do work, and to find a social community around sewing—I settled on Workroom Social.
**Fun fact #2: Workroom Social started in my house! The studio was located on the 4th floor of my Brooklyn townhouse for the first 2-3 years of the company’s life.
***Fun fact #3: I have been working on our sewing pattern line Shuffle for almost 5 years, and it’s still not released. Eek! I will get it out soon, but in the meantime, we have another line to announce in April 2017.
Dogs of Workroom Social. From left to right: Avery, Rosie, and Luna.
Fun fact #4: Dani and Suzanne have nearly identical black dogs, which together with Rosie, my white pitbull, make an adorable Oreo dog sandwich!