Business Member Spotlight: Stitch Simple




Can you provide us with a description of your business?

Stitch Simple  specializes in small minimum wholesale
fabric for fellow small businesses.


Why are you in this type of business?

Stitch Simple (www.stitchsimple.com) started in 2008 as a retail operation
that washed and cut fabric, mostly for quilters.  In 2009, we began our
relationship with Harmony Susalla of Harmony Art - an
independent textile designer working primarily with wide width organic
cotton sateen.  Because Harmony sold her fabric by the full roll (which is
approximately 50 yards) and it was 110 inches wide (that is equivalent to
122 yards of standard width quilting fabric) we found it difficult to be
able to finance her entire assortment.  We figured other small businesses
like Stitch Simple might be having the same problem so we talked to Harmony
about it and offered to sell competitively priced, low minimum order,
unwashed yardage as a business-to-business operation on the side in hopes of
helping everyone- and that is how the Stitch Simple Reseller Program was
born.  For the next four years I ran both businesses side by side until mid
2013 when I had my daughter and decided to take a step back and close down
the retail washing and cutting operation to focus exclusively on the
Reseller Program.  In the fall of 2013 we began branching out again and
started working with local fabric designer Josi Severson of Home Fashion
Fabrics to do similar work.



What is your background? 

Before starting Stitch Simple I worked managing supply chains for medical
device manufacturers and food companies.  I have an undergraduate degree in
social cultural anthropology from the George Washington University and an
MBA from the Carlson School of Management here at the University of
Minnesota.



How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of
business?

Throughout my career in supply chain working for other people, I always
found myself working side by side with more traditionally creative roles (in
medical device manufacturing it was design engineers, in food it was food
scientists).  It's not that my work wasn't creative (in fact it was just the
opposite), it's just that it dealt with a side of the business that was less
glamorous than design work and required a different set of skills and
interests.  As I explained above, I didn't start Stitch Simple with the
focus it has today, but I once again find myself working with my more
traditionally creative counterparts like Harmony and Josi to handle supply
chain issues ranging from sales and operations to shipping and logistics.  I
guess this is the kind of work that suits me.  I like to think of myself as
an expert in making rubber meet the road.


How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?

I rely mostly on word of mouth advertising and social media.  I also
personally reach out to people I come across on an individual basis.


Do you have employees? How many?

I am the only full time employee, but my husband Eric (aka Mr. Stitch
Simple) helps out as needed with large orders and projects.  We call our
kids (Chas-almost 4 and Solveig-almost 1) and our cat Gabe (almost 18) our
"moral support officers".


Can you describe your customers?

My customers range from the micro small business that sells its handmade
products at farmers markets and on etsy to larger small businesses that
place their items in boutiques and retail shops around the world.  Whoever
they are, they need smaller quantities of fabric (generally 5 yards or less)
and they don't want to pay retail prices for it.


Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

Price and customer service.



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