A SOUTH Lanarkshire sewing studio has expanded its offering and optimised its website, boosting sign-ups to its sewing classes, after receiving support from DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme, delivered by Business Gateway.
Hamilton-based Sew You Can offers more than twenty classes and courses aimed at beginners looking to learn, to more advanced individuals looking to improve their skills, and classes for children.
The business was founded in 2021 by Amanda Gilfedder, a qualified primary school teacher and mother of two. She always had ambitions to start a business with a love for sewing and dressmaking, but she was apprehensive about the risks involved. Amanda was however spurred on and grew in confidence after contacting Business Gateway in July 2021 with an initial enquiry regarding taxes for start-ups.
As part of the support Amanda received from Business Gateway, she completed a Digital Health Check to assess the businesses needs and specialist support in developing her website. This was delivered through the DigitalBoost programme.
Amanda had originally built a basic website for Sew You Can, intended for selling physical products, rather than a platform for booking classes. Working 1:1 with a digital consultant from DigitalBoost, Amanda learned step-by-step how to build a more functional website with plugins which resulted in her creating a new website with a built-in model for class bookings, helping her operations to become more efficient.
Since launching in 2021, as well as the DigitalBoost support, Amanda has also accessed a package of support from Business Gateway’s start-up services including advice on leasing premises, HR guidance and marketing.
Consumer demand has meant that Sew You Can has recently moved into a larger site with two semi-open plan studios and a haberdashery shop, where customers can purchase fabrics for making their creations at home.
Additionally, in response to customer demand for a broader range of classes, Amanda has hired five freelance tutors to teach quilting, knitting and crocheting.
Amanda Gilfedder, Founder of Sew You Can, said, “I initially approached Business Gateway with one question around taxes for new businesses, but during my initial conversations with my adviser, Jaz, we really clicked. It was the first time I had spoken to anyone, outside of my family, about my business and her enthusiasm and positive feedback gave me the confidence boost I needed, and I started to think I could really do this.
“Thanks to the advice I have received from Business Gateway and the clear direction given by its DigitalBoost team, I have been able to not only make my dream a reality but develop it into a fully-fledged business which is growing in demand every day.
“A bi-product of the business that I am really proud of is the community we have created. Most people come back repeatedly and have become fast friends. The classes offer escapism for many, while learning a new skill, and there is always lots of laughter.”
Jaz Gharra McBeth, adviser at Business Gateway, said: ”Amanda’s passion for sewing, coupled with her natural ability to teach, is what sets Sew You Can apart. It is rewarding to have seen her confidence grow and her business thrive through the support of DigitalBoost, which really optimised her website.
“Business Gateway has also helped Amanda identify funding opportunities that she is eligible for, which would assist in purchasing sewing machines. The business currently hires all sewing machines for its classes. Working with Business Gateway, Sew You Can are looking to apply for additional funding this year.”
To find out how Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost programme can help your business, visit: www.bgateway.com/resources/digitalboost/.