JUKI Spotlight: Exploring House of Lilli with Anjori Halder

Meet small business owner Anjori Halder, creator, and designer for House of Lilli, a business that does embroidery a little differently. Known for her free motion embroidery work created by free motion quilting on the HZL-F600 sewing machine, Anjori has begun making a name for herself in the sewing world. From beautiful full portrait designs to small motifs that bring her apparel to life, let’s learn about how Anjori discovered her skills in embroidery work, where she began, and where she plans to go!

It all started with a wedding invite in 2010. One day, after becoming a bridesmaid to her dear friend Veronique, Anjori needed a crinoline slip for a themed dress! In her “I want to DIY everything” phase of life, she decided to take it upon herself to create a slip with the help of some blogs and a machine off Craigslist. Even after “crudely” finishing her first piece of apparel, her journey in sewing had truly begun.

Outfits created by Anjori through sewing, upcycling, and embroidery

“I call it my therapy and use it constantly to de-stress. But I also use sewing to keep my mind sharp.”

While the journey was on and off, Anjori would find time to complete refashions and housewares in her downtime from her career as a software engineer and project manager. It wasn’t until she transitioned to a stay-at-home mom that Anjori truly began immersing herself in sewing. Finding the need to do something and gain a sense of accomplishment, she threw herself into the hobby. However, she would soon find out that sewing could be toxic after experiencing the push of social media on her work.

“That need to sew turned toxic, though. Social media and the idea that you had to be creating content all the time to grow followers, to, in turn, grow your business took a toll.”

This moment would change the direction in which Anjori was running her business. After learning about slow fashion and revaluating how she was running her business, Anjori decided it was time to do things differently. Slowing down her work, she began creating again for pure enjoyment and not just for the sake of creating.

Outfits created for Anjori’s daughter through sewing, upcycling, and embroidery

Indie patterns and pattern testing brought the fun and creativity back to sewing for Anjori. She began by creating clothing for her daughter, honing her skills at a smaller scale, and was able to grow her confidence in garment creation. After sewing an Anarkali from a sari that her late mother had gifted her, Anjori’s confidence in garment creation for adults rose as well.

Inspired by those she was creating for, she focuses on how her creations will be used and enjoyed before sewing. Her favorite inspiration is her daughter, a strong-willed and goofy personality who had an obsession with construction vehicles! After her daughter requested a dress with a bulldozer on it, and Anjori had no luck finding one, she decided to test her skills in embroidery and make her one! Continuing to create for her daughter, Anjori focused on embroidering designs and sayings that would inspire her daughter in life.

House of Lilli showcases this with Anjori’s creations focused on positive & reaffirming messages. Her embroidered art shop concentrates on creating art with only a machine, thread, and her hands. Pulling from her heritage, she creates Indian garments, or garments with Indian motifs such as paisleys, peacocks, elephants, and tigers. Completed with free motion embroidery through the free motion quilting feature, you can see the pops of color and bright energy she pulls into her work. Described by friends as positive and always looking for the bright side, it’s no wonder she brings this into every project she creates, not letting mistakes in her projects hold her back.

“Mistakes are opportunities to learn and keep going or realize change is needed and pivot to something new.”

Free Motion Embroidered Designs

What’s our favorite part of her creative process? The unique use of free motion quilting as free motion embroidery! Gravitating toward embroidery work, even as a child, Anjori knew that adding images and designs would be the next step in going from homemade to handmade. Unfortunately, it was here where she hit a wall. Knowing that the cost of an embroidery machine could be high, she found herself at a standstill on what step to take next. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon creator Emma Giacalone on Instagram that she discovered the possibility of embroidering using free motion quilting.

A new door in creating had been opened, and Anjori walked right in! Finding a new way to bring her art to life, she was excited about how simple the process was to begin. All she started with was a sewing machine that could drop the feed dogs, thread, fabric, and a design. It would take time before she began using a darning foot, admitting to still skipping that step on some days!

Using the HZL-F600, she created her designs quickly and easily fill them in. Creating embroidery using the HZL-F600 is fun and different and has allowed Anjori the freedom of creation in embroidery while sticking to her budget. When asked about what she recommends for JUKI users out there who want to try their hand at free motion embroidery through free motion quilting, she advised having the following tools in your sewing kit:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Stabilizer of some sort (washable or tear away)
  • Open toe darning foot
  • Heat erasable pen

While using a machine with ample throat space has been helpful, as well as her tools, she also advises to seek out training! After taking a sculptural embroidery class from Meredith Woolnough and learning new tricks and tips for her projects, she encourages others to invest in themselves and their hobbies.

“Never be afraid to invest in learning.”

While opening her small business has been a journey, she knows that planning and strategy are what build a business. As a small business owner, you are now the marketing manager, designer, producer, shipper, and so much more. Success can be different for everyone, so Anjori advises taking time to figure out what success is to you and not comparing yourself to other businesses. She also recommends getting to the nitty gritty and taking those “boring” business courses that can assist you in running yours!

Taking her own advice to heart, she’s recently taken a business course presented by Jan Ditchfield and has begun reworking her strategies and plan. So while we wait for the new and improved House of Lilli to rise, we’re so excited we were able to introduce her creations and technique!

Created using Free Motion Embroidery

Continuing her work in embroidery, Anjori hopes to keep instilling positive messages in her creations and sharing her work with others.

“Creating with my hands, whether it is sewing, painting, drawing, or knitting, is a treat for my soul. I find it relaxing and fun, with a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. Of course, in the end, you usually end up with something nice to look at too.”

To learn more about Anjori and her journey in embroidery, follow along below for her social links!

Visit House of Lilli’s website today to keep up with her blog and sign up for her newsletter!

Keep up with Anjori’s free motion embroidery work on her Instagram here!

JUKI Spotlight: From Bio to Quilting with Jessica Dayon

From her days in biochemistry and biology to becoming an author, quilt creator, and pattern designer, we’re so excited to introduce Jessica Dayon! Author of three pattern books; ‘A Year in Solids’, ‘Season to Taste: Quilts to Warm Your Home All Year Long’, and the upcoming ‘Precut Parade’, releasing August 1st, we’ve asked Jessica to join us and talk about her life in quilting, and journey in becoming a pattern author.

Like so many of our readers, Jessica’s journey starts with a pull towards quilting. Coming from her background as a scientist, with a degree in Biology and Biochemistry, she hadn’t tried quilting before. But, with no connections in the quilting world at the time, she decided after her 4th child to dive in! After being bit by the quilting bug in the summer of 2017, she began teaching herself and fell in love with the craft. Her first project? A table runner for a birthday, one that was never even completed! It did, however, open the door to quilting and hasn’t closed since.

“The first day I started quilting, this little fire was ignited inside of me, and it’s been burning ever since. Quilting is my passion.”

With each day that passed, she continued to work on the aspect of making a quilt and improving her skills. Pushing herself to learn new skills for the sake of learning, she attempted new methods and tricks for quilting her projects.

In 2017, Jessica also decided to open her Instagram account to document her journey and share her work. She still remembers having less than 100 followers and the excitement that came when a new one followed. To this day, she is still in awe when she sees new followers join her page. Currently, Jessica’s following topples over 76 thousand followers, a community focused on inspiring each other in their quilting journeys.

“I work hard and I love sharing and engaging with my followers. I hope they feel valued and inspired by following me. I want to share the joy of creating every day with them. I’m grateful for the community that I’ve built there.”

As her skills grew, she decided it was time to start creating patterns. Working hard to understand pattern creation, she began designing patterns after only one month of quilting.

Sitting at her computer, Jessica would design quilt after quilt, constantly creating. Thinking of the design was the easiest aspect when she began writing patterns. With hundreds of designs currently saved on her computer, it’s no wonder she went on to author and design pattern books. Within a short timeline, she found the most challenging part of becoming a pattern author has been the time constraints from publishing. Teaching her to work quickly it’s now become a strength to begin and finish a quilt quicker than she would have imagined possible when she first started.

Fireworks – Contributed to Red & White II

Inspired by the freedom of creating, Jessica focuses on not pressuring herself to finish one project at a time. Instead, she allows her creativity and curiosity to flourish and wander, moving from project to project, not restricting herself to one at a time.

“When I’m at the sewing machine and I’m working on a project, sometimes my mind wanders to another block and I just have to make it. I don’t stop myself when the urge to do this arises.”

Knowing she’ll go back to her original project with a focused mind, she’s found letting herself have this freedom while creating removes pressure from her work. Even if a design doesn’t come out how she expects, she’ll just design another and another until she’s happy with the result.

Just like she creates, Jessica allows her designs to wander in style too! Not picking a distinctive style, she creates using her TL-2010Q sewing machine and a versatile collection of fabric types and patterns. Easy to take care of and use, Jessica loves recommending the TL-2010Q to quilters out there! While she chose the machine for its features and price point, she’s found the TL-2010Q to be highly reliable, accurate, and speedy.

Depending on her mood, she’ll select patterns and styles that speak to her and fill her up creatively. Instead of boxing her style and creativity, which Jessica believes would lead to burn-out, she focuses on her creative self-guide to create her designs.

Abloom – From ‘Season to Taste

As for her pattern books, Jessica focuses on creating themed designs! Allowing her creativity to flow; her books focus on patterns that inspire her while hopefully inspiring those who use them. For example, in her pattern book, “Season to Taste: Quilts to Warm Your Home All Year Long,” Jessica focuses on quilt designs for all four seasons! Centered on the seasons, with each season having three quilt designs, you can see her creativity flourish with each pattern being different and beautiful.

Her best advice for pattern creators trying to sell their work is this, “I recommend staying true to yourself and your style. There is room for everyone who wants to design patterns. Each person is unique, and you don’t have to do things like anyone else… it’s better if you don’t! Being your own, authentic self will get you far. Hard work will get you even further.”

As a pattern creator and author, she advises creators to be mindful of the work that comes with this venture. From marketing to IT, you will be the one to do it all when you first start your business. While it can seem overwhelming at first, taking each step one at a time has been her motto. Her recommendation is to write your goals down, like a skill you need to learn or a marketing project that needs to get done and work towards each one.

As we eagerly await Jessica’s next pattern book, to be released this upcoming August, we’re excited to share she has even more in the works! Keep an eye on Jessica’s social for future quilt-alongs, new pattern books, and possibly, even classes one day.

“Quilting is a major part of my life now. It is my passion – There are so many wonderful things to do in the quilting world, and I want to do them all!”

Scrappy Sampler

To learn more about Jessica, her pattern books, and her quilting journey click on the links below and join her socials today! We hope this spotlight encourages you to begin writing your own sewing and quilting patterns, and even possibly publishing them one day!

What theme would your pattern book have? Let us know down below!

Jessica Dayon’s Links:

Click here to download the Scrappy Sampler today!

Check out Jessica on Instagram today here!

Learn more about Jessica and her journey here!

JUKI Spotlight: Designing with Kiana Bonollo!

In this month’s spotlight, we are introducing Kiana Bonollo! Fashion designer, YouTuber, and TikToker, Kiana has grown in popularity in the last couple of years due to her videos showcasing apparel projects and behind-the-scene how-tos for new sewists. Follow along today as we talk to Kiana about her journey in sewing and how she grew to the 400k audience she has now!

Photo Credit: Kiana Bonollo

From a young age, Kiana always had a curiosity for sewing. Her earliest memory was borrowing her mother’s sewing machine and altering her clothes while creating skirts from scratch! Later on, she would take her first sewing class, a week-long course on sewing basics, where she began with making pillowcases like so many of us do. Following her interest, she went on to take apparel classes in high school, finding she had a true talent for the hobby and diving into the journey. She began learning how to create patterns and learning complex skills she hadn’t tried before. College would be no different; continuing her studies in the fashion design industry, she has continued to grow her skills and talent, creating new patterns and projects for her audience and shop.

Using fashion as a form of expression, Kiana loved that fashion design allowed you to imagine anything you wanted and create it. Like so many of us, she struggled with inspiration in the past but finds that her favorite work to design are those pieces that she knows she will wear and show off in the real world! Focusing on projects that bring her happiness, her patterns range from loungewear to evening wear, a versatile selection that her followers love. 

When asked about how she chooses which patterns will be sold, “It’s really important to me that I take into consideration what my customers are suggesting and asking of me, so if a lot of my customers are asking for a prom dress- I’m going to make them a prom dress.”

Following her ideas and likes, she pulls from her customer’s suggestions and creates projects that align with their wants and her taste. It’s here that she’s been able to compromise on what’s highly requested and what she truly enjoys designing, creating that relationship with her customers, so many shops want to build.

Kiana describes her style as “edgy, but still tailored and chic.” However, finding it boring to stick to one aesthetic, she likes to dabble outside her comfort zone and enjoys mixing different design styles and aesthetics to create fun looks! With so many different style aesthetics and designs, she doesn’t let one style hold her in a box.

Photo Credit: Kiana Bonollo

With an audience of over 400k across platforms, it’s amazing to see what was accomplished in a couple of short years. Kiana’s page quickly gained popularity by opening her YouTube account in May 2020 due to her easy-to-follow and straightforward “how-to” videos and project compilations. When she first began her online page, she would put in 40 hours a week designing, editing, and creating, treating it as a full-time job. Feeling she needed to give herself a real chance, she dived into her work and focused on her dreams of working in social media and fashion design.

“I never imagined that my audience would grow to the size it currently is so fast, and I’m so grateful for everyone who has subscribed and liked my channel and followed me.”

For those out there who want to raise their following, Kiana advises finding your strengths and taking advantage of them! With so many talented artists and sewists in the world, it can be hard to distinguish yourself sometimes, but finding what you can offer that’s different or better from those out there will help you stand out. Kiana, for example, is known for her videos teaching sewist techniques and how to create different projects, focusing on her strengths of being a technical sewist and the joy she finds in educating others on her favorite hobby.

And a recommendation she has out there for those building their skills in sewing? Invest in a high-quality machine that you can also grow in too! Finding a sewing machine that can handle heavy-duty fabrics and stitches quickly and versatilely is perfect for those learning. They can upgrade their projects and skills without needing to upgrade their machine.

Kiana’s sewing table is always ready to work with her machines! Using the JUKI DX-2000QVP and a QVP serger, she’s prepared to create her silk gowns, cotton loungewear, and more. She loves recommending this machine to her followers who are serious about starting their journey. She states they’re great choices for intermediate and advanced sewers alike.

Photo Credit: Kiana Bonollo

Currently, her sewing table is being used for project requests and suggestions submitted by her followers. With the current pandemic closing shop for fashion shows in many cities, she’s been focusing on her customer base before planning to create another collection. Waiting for the world to feel a little safer, Kiana hopes to continue once fashion shows are back!

Besides her current wish for the runways to come back, Kiana hopes to launch a fashion design course one day and sell her fashion line. But for now, she’ll keep busy creating content for her followers and expanding her current business. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kiana and her fashion line!

To keep up with Kiana and her journey, click her profile below. And the next time you want to learn some fun fashion sewing tips, check out Kiana’s YouTube here!

Check out more from Kiana below!

Learn more about Kiana here!

Etsy Shop: Click here to visit!

Instagram: Click here to check out her latest projects!

Tiktok: Click here to see behind the scenes!

JUKI Spotlight: Blossoming with Flower Sew!

From quilting to bag making, Flower Sew has you covered! Today we’re meeting up with Daisi Toegel, Flower Sew’s shop owner. In 2017, Daisi founded Flower Sew only one year after learning how to sew. Flower Sew began as an idea out of curiosity for the sewing world. After watching endless videos of other sewists creating bags and projects on video sites, Daisi found herself wanting a sewing machine to start her journey in the community. A year after seeing these videos, Daisi’s boyfriend surprised her with a sewing machine to begin, and the rest was history.

Daisi went on to practice and practice some more after receiving her gift. Finally, a year after receiving her gift, Daisi began constructing bag patterns, creating and selling them. Since completely self-teaching herself, she sewed and sold bags for three years at her local craft fairs and on her online e-shop, Flower Sew, named after her now husband’s pet name for Daisi, Flower.

After three years of focusing on bag creations and patterns, 2020 changed the course of Daisi’s business. She began creating and selling masks during the pandemic, creating and designing over 2,000 masks. Daisi, later on, realized she wanted to take a step back from sewing masks and find a new craft within the sewing world. So she began venturing into the quilting world, where she taught herself to quilt, and began expanding her knowledge and business along the way.

Taking a step back from her bag-making days, Daisi jumped into the quilting world head-on. Using her social media platforms, she began sharing her progress and work with her followers, re-building her brand along the way. 

Now focused on quilting, Daisi has held six ambassador roles over the years that range from small notions to beautiful fabrics. These programs helped her not only grow her business but allowed her to make connections in the sewing and quilting community.

After discovering her passion for creating quilts, she moved on to pattern designing, a hobby she had picked up in her bag-making days. When she started patterns for her bags, she was inspired to design something different and new. Quilting was no different. She bought a design program and began drawing! Starting small, Daisi began with baby-sized quilts and built herself up through trial and error. Through this practice that she’s been able to create seven patterns; 4 on her own and 3 in collaboration with different craft and sewing magazines. Many of her patterns interwork the ambassador programs she’s involved with by including their notions and fabrics. 

As someone who’s been able to grow her business and obtain credibility from other sewing and quilting brands as an ambassador, we asked Daisi what advice she has for those out there trying to build their brand.

“Forget about money. In the beginning, it’s all about gaining value and confidence before you gain any money. If you need to give your time, work, or product for free, do it. The reward is certain, just know everything has its own time to come. Being an ambassador doesn’t involve anything but receiving products in exchange for your time and work, and it is the most wonderful experience I have had in the quilt world; it’s fun, and I learn a lot. There’s nothing that says that.”

Daisi’s brand continues to grow each day through her social media channels filled with new pattern works, projects, and her quilt progresses. What makes Flower Sew unique is the designs and patterns created by Daisi, inspired by ideas that bring her happiness and not trends. Focusing her attention on bright colors and fun designs, Daisi’s page is filled with bright fabrics and colorful looks. As she continues to grow her skills in quilting, we’re looking forward to seeing more patterns released!

The future of Flower Sew is blossoming beautifully! Daisi’s plans for her small business include more original pattern creations, with the hope for a pattern book soon, and continuing her ambassador programs with new possible positions. Currently, a sketch is in motion for membership for Daisi’s business, but we’ll have to wait and see for that one JUKI lover!

We hope you enjoyed getting to learn more about Flower Sews and its owner Daisi Togel! When you’re building your brand, learning skills like pattern designing or diving into ambassador programs are great ways to get yourself out there and grow your business. We hope reading Daisi’s story in how her business has grown and changed over the years inspires you to begin yours!

To follow along Daisi’s journey, follow along below.

Visit Flower Sew’s shop here!

Follow Daisi’s quilting journey here!

JUKI Spotlight: Tails Up, Pup

Photo credit: Tails Up, Pup

So many of our furry best friends are spoiled, and companies like Tails Up, Pup is here to help you do more of that! Tails Up, Pup, a small business run by Danielle and her husband Nick, is a dog mom shop that believes your dog deserves to be spoiled while keeping you in mind. They create the perfect duo for dog moms and their dogs, customizing and matching clothing items with pet bandanas! Follow along as we speak with Danielle about what it was like becoming her own boss and opening up Tails Up, Pup.

The Tails Up, Pup journey began in Danielle and Nick’s basement in 2018. After creating dog bandanas for her very own furry friends, and posting her final projects on social media, friends, and others started requesting their very own pet bandannas! With time Danielle realized her shop was growing, and after hosting her first black Friday sale, she brought in her husband Nick to help fulfill orders.

Photo credit: Tails Up, Pup

After 18 months of setting up shop in her basement, Tails Up, Pup found its first office space in Marietta, Georgia. Primarily an eCommerce business, Tails Up, Pup has grown into a storefront shop, where the company has continued to see new fans and customers every year! As time passed and Tails Up, Pup continued to be a success, Danielle and Nick decided it was time to grow their space and expand to the office next door.

With two offices under their belt now, Danielle could designate a production office and shop! Over time her team has grown to its current line-up, three full-time employees and one part-time. It’s a great success to hire your very own team, and at their small business, everyone has their hats to wear. Tails Up, Pup’s current team members include Lauren, their head seamstress; Connor, their cutter and handyman; Ensley, their Inventory manager; and Keelan, their other seamstress. With each member bringing in their own set of skills, Danielle says, “we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.”

Using their JUKI TL-2000Qi machines, the Tails Up, Pup team has created slip-on and tie-on bandannas for their shop. Small businesses like Tail’s Up Pup are a great example of how small items like bandanas can turn into their very own business when you let yourself be creative and have fun! Starting from just a piece of fabric, their team uses personalized stencils for sizing, sewing techniques to keep their products looking clean, and pressing to create the perfect bandana. In addition, with machines in their line that can do embroidering, they also offer the chance to personalize your pet bandanas with your pet names! Using embroidery in your projects is one of the easiest ways to give a product a touch of personalization that you can’t find everywhere.

Having a great product isn’t the only reason so many customers continue to love Tails Up, Pup, but in fact, it is the community they have been able to grow and create through marketing on social media platforms! Social media marketing has been in their company DNA from the start, and as they first started as an eCommerce-only shop, social media marketing was a no-brainer for getting their brand out there. By consistently posting and interacting with their followers, they were able to see real growth in their shop! While Danielle shares Tails Up, Pup’s social media wasn’t an overnight success, it can instead be seen as an example of how a long and steady process can help you grow in the long run.

Since building their following online, Danielle shares how the community within Tails Up, Pup makes the business unique. When she and Nick first opened up their social media pages, they hadn’t set out to do anything special; Tails Up, Pup just happened. When they legitimatized Tails Up, Pup as a proper business, Danielle says terrific things started to happen.

“We started to find an amazing community of dog lovers that shared many of the same passions as us. Over time this has become what we like to call the Tails Up, Pup Family.”

This community has focused on inspiring others to pursue their passions, helping people build their confidence and spread happiness when the opportunity is there. With the TUP family ever-growing, Danielle and her team appreciate every new member that follows along and joins their journey.

Since Tails Up, Pup has opened, they have continued to grow their team, followers, customers, and even property. When asked about the future of Tails Up, Pup Danielle brought us back to how this business wasn’t even an idea three years ago. While we don’t know what the future holds, Danielle shares this, “I hope we can continue to add to the TUP family and keep pursuing our mission of inspiring others to pursue their passions, helping people build their confidence, and spreading happiness in any way that we can.”

It’s a big transition to becoming your own bosses like Danielle and her husband Nick. The hardest part was knowing when it was time to take a break. If you’re planning to open your own small business, it can be difficult finding that balance between work and personal life sometimes, but it’s essential to figure it out early on. Starting a business isn’t always fun and games and includes a lot of moments where you can be physically or emotionally drained, but being prepared will make life easier. As Danielle says, “-if you are prepared for the difficult times to come, running your own business can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding. Nick and I wouldn’t trade what we get to do for anything.”

Before closing our interview with Tails Up, Pup, we asked Danielle what advice she has for those out there who have been dreaming about owning their own business.

“My biggest advice would be to just start. Good and done is better than perfect and incomplete. Taking that first step is always the hardest part.”

Take advantage of the resources available and enjoy what the internet can do for you! Use the internet to start your side hustle when it’s time to open your business. Then, grow and transition from your old job to your new career. Financial stability is one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle when you own a business, so prepare yourself by creating business plans, marketing ideas, and learning your finances.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Tails Up, Pup, and how Danielle and Nick were able to grow their company from their basement to where it is now! With so many small businesses popping up over the past few years, we at JUKI love learning how you create and start your businesses. So check out the links below to learn more about Tails Up, Pup, and how you can get a sweet matching set for you and your furry friend today!

Click here to visit the Tails Up, Pup website!

Follow their Instagram here to keep up with new products!

Check out behind-the-scenes footage on their TikTok here!

Lastly, don’t forget to follow their Facebook here!