Get Your Sew On at SewMoni
Brooklyn is a highly creative and crafty hub for many gals and guys. New businesses are constantly opening. Sew Moni is no exception! This super cute new shop has everything you need for supplies, ideas and crafting lessons of the sewing persuasion. Sew Moni’s Monica Briones (owner and founder) and Katie Mann (managing partner) know what it takes for business to meet creativity. I was able to visit the shop, and Monica provided me with a wealth of information as to what this new hot spot is all about.
Born in a bedroom in Corpus Christi, Texas and eventually expanding to Ridgewood and now South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Sew Moni originates in Monica’s childhood where sewing, cooking, crafting, fixing cars and building homes were basic living skills for her family. As Monica gained more experience and saw the happy results of her work when she handed over a finished project to its owner, it was clear that there was something to these life skills that she could apply to her career path. Two and a half years ago Briones and Mann met and combining their knowledge of sewing and design, a beautiful relationship was born.
It’s clear that Monica and Katie take a lot of pride in the “art technique” of sewing, as it has been in both families for generations. One business goal for Sew Moni is to really focus on “educational methods and not mass manufacture our educational experiences.” This means that when you register for one of their classes you will gain a qualitative understanding and appreciation of the craft in a smaller setting as opposed to a class where you may get lost in the technique and/or process. A quality of this environment that I, personally, love to hear is the emphasis on a welcoming and educational environment, which is what Monica and Katie strive to provide through their work. “We’re here to teach and help you express your point of view through simple to advanced sewing skills. Such skills will be your gateway to even more creative expression within your lifetime.”
These two businesswomen are clearly committed to their mission, and here is some proof; they’ll set up your work space in order to make it work! This sewing machine (left) is used by a student who, due to her advanced age, has trouble seeing fine lines. Sew Moni came up with a solution to place this bright red paper along the border so it would be easier for this student to work. They really do want you to learn and succeed!
And it’s not only the students who love the newbies to South Williamsburg; Sew Moni’s landlord, neighbors and everyone in the area have been extremely welcoming to the shop’s presence. With a high saturation of Puerto Rican inhabitants along South 3rd, the vibe is very communal with neighbors constantly looking out for one another.
As if Briones and Mann were not busy enough with Sew Moni, they also work together on Sew Moni’ sister company, GreeneandSunset.com, which consists of fashion forward items that do not fit with Sew Moni’s mission. Sew Moni Ridgewood serves as a showroom for SewMoni.com and GreeneandSunset.com.
Monica had the following advice to share with potential or new business owners: “Be very clear and decisive in your business purchases. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. If you can make it, weigh your time versus purchasing before exhausting yourself in DIY land. To expand upon that point, remember that your time is of great value, and doing everything yourself can actually hinder your businesses growth more than you think. Therefore, save and invest in employees. They will be the backbone and future of your business.” Monica also shared that she plans to compile a ‘How To’ business manual that is short, to the point and easy to understand with illustrations and exact resources in about 50 pages. Sounds like an exceptionally useful tool for many people out there who probably find the idea of starting their own business very daunting.
Best stated by Monica: “Sewing is rich because it is rooted in history and history takes time. Small is the next big for us, and if that leads to more Sew Moni sewing studios across the country, where we can continue to plant sewing seeds, then we’ll be there, for sure.”
Monica will be teaching Craft Business 101 courses in the spring at Sew Moni Williamsburg. Check back with Sew Moni’s website for details. You can follow Sew Moni on Twitter @sewmoni and Monica Briones @sewmonistyle.