One Spark Recap
Oh man. One Spark is over. Finally. Five days downtown, 12 hours or more on all of those days. What a long, long, but amazing, week it was. We were there to present our new business idea, "Sally Ann's Sewing Lounge", that will be opening in downtown Jacksonville sometime in 2014. Hoping for $20k in crowd funding to help us get off the ground, we competed with over 600 other creators, all vying for a piece of the $310k pie.
Festival goers came and visited each booth, listening to our pitch, and then voted on the ideas they loved and wanted to bring to reality. The power was in their hands. Vote for what you believe in, and for what you want to succeed. The final count from headquarters was about 240,000 people attending the festival. Pretty awesome for our little big city, eh?
While we didn't place in the festival, we're okay with that. Out of 650+ creators, chances were slim. I'm hoping when the results come out, we find that it was a close race. So many people told me they came out just to see our booth, and that felt so great to hear! Or hearing people say, "I heard your story on NPR!" , "I saw you in the paper!", "I read about you on the site, and came just to meet you!" It's nice to know people are as passionate about bringing a sewing lounge to the city as I am. This city is really supportive of small business. I couldn't be happier and more appreciative of what I learned and accomplished last week!
We met some amazing local people, traded business cards, and info with so many potential collaborators, colleagues, and business people in our community. Handing out 4,000 business cards and flyers for our project, the marketing for the whole event was priceless! With the help of my sister, Rachael (above), a new friend, Kelly, other creators and friends, and our friends from Denverspeax, we were able to maximize our exposure. We loved getting our idea and business out there. Inevitably, it was a brilliant move forward for us. And people are so excited about sewing in Jacksonville! When we open, people will say, "Oh, I saw them at One Spark!"
Meet my best friend in the whole wide world, Kirsten. She was visiting from Denver with her boyfriend, Steve. Last time you readers saw them, they were visiting Matt and I in Augusta, Georgia, for our spring 2012 lingerie fashion show. Kirsten and I have been BFFs since the third grade, and with each other through thick and thin. This last month was murder for us both, personally and professionally, and it was great to have her here. She and Steven were also presenting as a creator at One Spark, for her blogging platform, CitySpeax, a city blogosphere comprised of JaxSpeax, NOLAspeax, and Denverspeax. A low down of what's good in your city, highlighting only the good. Keep an eye out for what they have coming soon, and be sure to bookmark their sites! Even if you don't live in those cities, it's great to read about for a possible vacation in the future.
So you've probably been asking yourself, well what is a sewing lounge, and why is it coming to Jacksonville? It is a place for people to sew, at any skill level. Take one-on-one lessons, take a class, or just sew at your own pace. A place where you can learn how to become more sustainable by tailoring your clothes, or just come in once a month when you have a few little projects planned. Maintaining a sewing space in your home, when it's just a hobby can be cumbersome, with little thread bits infiltrating all the corners of your home, taking up your dining room table. At our shop, you just show up, and we have all the machines, notions, tools, everything you need for sewing.
Never again will Jacksonville people get rid of a dress or pair of slacks because they are ill-fitting. We want people to understand garment construction and apply it to their everyday life. We want people to sew and express themselves creatively. We want people to make a throw pillow instead of buying it at the store. We want people to shop and support local, and minimize their impact on the eco-system.
The lounge will also serve as my office, workspace, and retail storefront for Sally Ann. We're also looking forward to showcasing other artists work, textiles, clothing, accessories, art, stationary, beauty products, and turning the walls into a gallery, for our friends and colleagues. It will be a local hub for all things handmade. Aren't you so excited to visit? If only you could step inside my brain and see the layout. It's going to be magical.
Our friend, Johnny Vines, chef for Fresh Jax. Locally owned and operated, Fresh Jax brings Jacksonville healthy fresh food. We're set up next to them at the Riverside Arts Market every Saturday, and they were also creators at One Spark, launching a new line of hot sauces. Johnny was having a blast as a pepper at One Spark. Check out Fresh Jax's Kickstarter, they have the most delicious hot sauces ever, and all so healthy and fresh!
Now a day of rest. Then back at it tomorrow, sewing with my 'new' thrifted faux leather. I have some awesome handbags planned. And of course, a special thanks to my favorite person and business partner, Matt. It was a crazy week, and we survived! More soon, friends. I'm spending the day at the beach. Woo hoo!