New Juki Brand Ambassador Alert! Meet Nicole Moore.

Sewing has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was young, my mother sewed many of our outfits. We went to a private school, and with some additional help, she even sewed all the students’ uniforms. But it wasn’t just my mother who influenced my sewing journey, my paternal grandmother would sew Barbie clothes for me, which filled me with great delight! Later in life, my aunt helped me make curtains for my first apartment. Eventually, a majority of the women in our family started meeting regularly to either sew group projects or just work on our things. We still try to get together every year!

I didn’t start “seriously sewing” until I transitioned out of the corporate world (back in 2013). I’ve always been a driven and determined person and was convinced that there was more to being a stay-at-home mom than philanthropy and the car rider line. Most of my friends and all of my family knew that I love to sew. I was often asked to make things for people and told to sell my creations. I never really gave it too much thought until our local music Association hosted a craft fair. I decided to put myself out there and get a booth. I made several pillowcases and sold the majority of them at the craft fair. I was so excited about my success that I decided to open an Etsy shop and place the leftover products for sale online. This is how my company, Sew Much Moore In Store began. 

My Etsy shop was how I initially made money with sewing. I started with pillowcases, then transitioned to bags, and was doing well making custom ID wallets for people on my Etsy shop. During this time, I started a website and learned about blogging through an online course. I created multiple lines of income through affiliate marketing and paid sponsorships. It wasn’t until 2016 that I made my business legitimate. You see, Etsy sent me an email that said they needed either my social security number or my FEIN#. I decided to go ahead and get my business license and things took off from there.

After I went legitimate, I was motivated and decided to give Amazon Handmade a try. At the time, I was using a hand-me-down 1984 Kenmore. This poor machine was on its last leg. I had made hundreds of ID wallets and make-up bags on it. I was constantly sending it in for service, and it just couldn’t keep up. When I opened my Amazon Handmade shop on Black Friday weekend, I made enough money to purchase my first Juki sewing machine. I’ve decided on an industrial sewing machine considering the amount of bags I was making in my commercial business. I purchased the Juki DU-1181N. I decided to get the servo motor so I could control the speed. I learned a great deal about industrial machines and even wrote a blog series which can be found here.  

I found great success with my JUKI industrial, so it was an easy decision to purchase additional JUKI machines like the JUKI TL-2010Q straight stitch sewing machine. This is hands-down my favorite machine to sew on! I can easily piece my quilts, make most bags and even do some free motion quilting. It sews like a dream! And because I love free motion quilting, I added a JUKI J-350QVP as well. I occasionally quilt other people’s quilts, but because my long arm is currently on a table (and not a frame) I mostly just quilt my quilts with my J-350QVP. One of my business goals is to transition my long arm sit down to a frame and add the automation package. Both my kids are still in the house so until they fly the coop, I don’t have the real estate in my home for a longarm business right now. I’m also learning more about making garments so it only makes sense that I have a JUKI serger and cover stitch combo, MO-735. I bought these as gifts for my Mom and love to use them when I visit her. My mom still loves to teach me new things since sewing garments is something that I am still learning more about.

Speaking of sewing lessons… In 2017, I decided to add sewing lessons to my business! I was already contracted with a local quilt shop to teach monthly lessons to a kids club. I enjoyed working with the kids and decided to offer classes in my home for the local community. We don’t have a large space for group sewing, but we did manage to gather around the dining room table with our machines and learn about quilt piecing, bag making, and many other valuable sewing lessons. I continue to teach sewing and quilting through my videos and offer classes to guilds and quilt shops as well. To learn more about my lectures and and in-person workshops, you can visit my website here.  

2017 was also the year that I was nominated for the Vice President of programming for the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. During my two years of service, I had the opportunity to learn more about being a professional in the industry. I gained experience including contract negotiations, learning what a professional is worth, and the pleasure of getting to know so many inspiring creators in the industry. I was also pleased that the membership of the guild experienced tremendous growth during my years of service. I believe it had a lot to do with the talent we acquired for lectures and workshops. I also believe our guild was more successful in gaining new members and filling most sewing workshops because of the marketing efforts for the guild. My experience with Facebook pages, groups and events provided maximum exposure for our guild members and for potential members as well. We grew so much that we had to find a new place to meet as most meetings were “standing room only” and many workshops would sell out quickly.

I was getting comfortable with social media by this time and started engaging my audience through these platforms. By this time, my business had a weekly newsletter, a Pinterest marketing strategy, a social media schedule, patterns and products offerings on my WooCommerce website while still maintaining my Etsy and Amazon Handmade presence. I even started a custom t-shirt quilt business as well! With all these things going on, I decided it was time for a YouTube channel! This was a pretty good learning curve because I didn’t know much about editing videos. Fortunately, iMovie made it pretty simple and with the help of Google, I was able to start producing video tutorials. This new format helped reach a new audience and brought additional traffic to my website, which was now hosting advertising for yet another line of income to my business.  

Fast forward to 2019, and I was sharing every day on my Instagram stories. I would constantly get questions about my sewing business. These questions inquired about how I managed everything that I was doing, and it made me feel happy and excited to help other people do the same thing. I never thought about adding coaching to my business until I learned more about producing my online courses. I learned how to create my business by online learning, so it only made sense for me to create my own coaching company.

The Creative Day Job began in 2020 and it currently hosts multiple online courses that serves Creative Entrepreneurs (mostly in the sewing and quilting industry). I love to help sewers and quilters that want to turn their hobby into a business by navigating the technology and overwhelm so they can start earning income from their craft. If I were to give a piece of advice to someone about starting or creating their own sewing/quilting business, it would be this, “just get started.” There’s always going to be something to overcome or some obstacle that might get in your way, but if you just get started and keep moving forward you can do it also! To learn more about the Creative Day Job, you can visit my website here

I truly believe there is Sew Much Moore In Store for myself and my journey with the sewing and  quilting industry. I love to help people with their sewing and quilting projects and I love to help  people overcome their creative business obstacles. I especially love the JUKI brand because  with the help of their machines and technology, my work has become more productive and  enjoyable!  

There are several ways to stay in touch with Nicole. You can find her on Instagram every day.  Subscribe to her YouTube Channel and sign up for her Weekly Newsletter. Nicole even has a  Facebook Page and TikTok Channel. If you need help or are interested in starting a Creative  Business – be sure to visit the Creative Day Job website! 

When you follow Nicole, there is always Sew Much Moore In Store!

Author: Nicole Moore

Editing Team: JUKI

JUKI Spotlight: The Moda Lissa

Photo: Moda Lissa

Like many others, Mellissa, better known as Lissa, looked up to her older sister growing up and watched her sew. When Lissa was in fifth grade, she took her first sewing class at her local Ben Franklin. Creating an adorable lime green with bright pink apples trimmed with pink ric-rac pinafore and shorts, Lissa tried following her sister’s footsteps by creating projects with no patterns. She quickly realized it was not as easy as she thought and left the clothing construction to her sister. However, this didn’t shy her away from sewing but encouraged her to look into different projects Lissa could create. One day, she stumbled upon quilting and found herself transfixed with it!

“Quilts don’t have to fit anyone.”

Photo: Moda Lissa

The idea of quilts changed her life. No longer was she trying to hem and follow a body type, but now she was tackling a different puzzle! With a father in engineering, she took to quilting like a math problem, creating patterns in her artwork. After marriage and having kids, Lissa kept up with her hobby by working at a local quilt shop a few evenings a month and on Saturdays. Eventually, she started teaching classes and was hired to open a quilt store. Nine years later, she began a position as the Director of Marketing for Moda Fabrics.

Working at Moda Fabrics, Lissa started collaborating with all different types of designers. Sewing various projects from fabrics those designers crated and creating combinations no one could’ve predicted! Lissa created pieces of art that were as beautiful as they were different. Her favorite challenge with each project was seeing how many different designers she could place on one project.

“It just makes me happy. As I touch each piece I think of the designer, the name of the fabric line, and how fortunate I am to have them as friends.”

Photo: Moda Lissa

As time went on, Lissa began creating patterns she wanted to share with others. Inspired by a high school story where she introduced herself to the class, she came up with a clever tactic to make her peers remember her name. Cutting a picture of the Mona Lisa and gluing yellow yarn to represent her blonde hair, she created a plan! Everyone knew about the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci and all they had to do to remember her name was to think of the Mona Lisa but with blonde hair. Years later, after starting her position in Moda Fabrics, she called it a no-brainer when she created the nickname Moda Lissa for her media.

Lissa’s first solo pattern book, “OH SCRAP” was published after experiencing a series of seizures diagnosed as a subdural hematoma resulting in brain surgery. While recuperating, she was offered the opportunity by Martingale Publishing to create her first pattern book. Continuing forward, Lissa would begin working on the Sisterhood of Scraps and Scrap School. Working with some of the best quilters in the industry sewing scrap quilts, she learned new skills and techniques for her projects. While her books focus on the usage of a scrap quilt, her main goal has always been to encourage freedom for quilters to play and create with fabric.

“You may have always heard that quilting is therapy and it certainly was for me. I love learning and exploring how the publishing world works was very exciting.”

Photo: Moda Lissa

As Lissa continues to sew on her baby Junie, our TL-2000Qi named after her aunt, she hopes to start sewing apparel in the future. With her two granddaughters and three grandsons, she’s excited to start creating their Halloween costumes and more in the future. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Lissa’s next pattern book! Lissa’s goal is to continue her pattern creations and helping sewers like you have fun.

To learn more about Lissa and her story follow her on the links below and check out her site to see her pattern books!

Instagram: Click here

Pattern Book’s and Scrap School: Click here

Rocking with ‘String and Story’!

Photo credit: Klara Cu

Like many, HollyAnne Knight, Founder & CEO of “String & Story,” began quilting as a hobby. From an early age, HollyAnne found herself often being creative. She had hobbies that ranged from oil and watercolor painting to ballet and ballroom dancing and even picked up knitting along the way. Around her art, she focused her passions on education, earning her degree in English Literature, Secondary Education, and Linguistics. If there was one word to describe HollyAnne, it would be a Rockstar, just like she calls her students and sewing friends.

Photo credit: Klara Cu

Surrounded by her family, HollyAnne has been married to her husband John for eight years, has two sons Jem and Ian, and a home filled with their loving pets a dog, two cats, and two fish tanks.  With a mutual passion for traveling, HollyAnne and her family are currently one state away from hitting all 50 states and capitals of the United States!

When HollyAnne was expecting her second child, she decided it was time to find a new hobby to focus on since her current hobby of oil painting wasn’t easy with a toddler and pets around. In comes her friend, who lent her their small sewing machine, and HollyAnne found herself picking up a hobby she hadn’t done since elementary. One of her first projects was a t-shirt quilt her mother had been mentioning wanting, and HollyAnne had taken on the challenge. After a few mistakes with a rotary blade, she had finally completed her rag-style quilt and learned some lessons along the way. As she continued to enjoy quilting, she stumbled across the world of modern quilting and fell in love with the idea of “free motion quilting.”

What started as a small Etsy shop that sold stationery and knitted goods, continued to grow with her as she caught a bit of an entrepreneurial bug. After creating her Mom’s T-shirt quilt, HollyAnne started getting requests from others for their own. Upgrading from her old sewing machine into the JUKI J-150 QVP, she became obsessed with its durability, dependability, throat space, and stitch quality. As she started working on her pieces and growing her business, she began learning to free motion quilt. With her passion for teaching, HollyAnne created online courses to teach and rebranded the name to “String & Story.”

Photo credit: Klara Cu

While the inspiration for the name was created by a trend happening at the time, the idea behind it flourished. With the goal being to show that we were all connected, and can continue to empower one another as we’ve done in the past.

“Spaces like quilting have historically been female-dominated, a rare area where women were considered experts, where information passed through social networks and collective power was used for everything from keeping families warm to expressing social commentary to organizing political activism. String & Story is about continuing that legacy into the modern era– for socializing, learning, empowering, and organizing.”

Currently, one of HollyAnne’s business ventures is her Free Motion Quilting Academy. A String & Story’s signature online course is a 12-week free motion quilting education program to guide students from being nervous beginner FMQ-ers to confident, intermediate FMQ Rockstars, as HollyAnne would say. To date, she’s been able to instruct and help 2000 students on every size, shape, and brand of machine imaginable. Only opening enrollment periodically, HollyAnne encourages people to attend sewing and quilting classes to grow more confident in their projects.

“I LOVE teaching FMQ and other quilting techniques, but my FAVORITE thing is watching my students try new things, master their mindset, and so often learn something they didn’t think was possible.”

Photo credit: Klara Cu

The future of Strings & Story is bright as HollyAnne states, it’s only getting started. With ideas of expanding her digital course and online shop, she hopes to start adding in-person event classes as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. If you’re interested in staying up to date with HollyAnne, her classes, and more, find her on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest) @stringandstory today and via her newsletter at www.stringandstory.com/newsletter!