Think Global, Craft Local: Going Batty Quilt Shop in Reno, NV
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Welcome to our third edition of Think Global, Craft Local, where we will share ideas and resources for staying within your local community for your crafting needs. When you shop from a local retailer you are supporting your local economy, and helping your neighborhood business stay alive and thriving. It’s not just good for them, in return you get the support of your local dealer, who can answer questions for you face to face, and may offer hands on classes, events, and groups.
For this feature, we interviewed Carie McGhie the owner of Going Batty Quilt Shop in Reno, NV. We enjoyed getting to know her and learning about this awesome store.
|Where is your store located?
We are located at 9744 S. Virginia St., Suite C in the Foothill Commerce Center next to the Winco grocery store, at the corner of South Meadows Parkway and S. Virginia St.
| How long have you been in business?
6 years, 2 years in Sparks and 4 years in our current location which is over 5,000 square feet with a dedicated classroom. The suite has been recently remodeled and we are constantly working to make things even better!
Is there an interesting story behind your store name?
I started as a long arm quilter, and so the name came from a play on words – batting. My husband thought of the name, which is appropriate for us.
|Give us a run-down of the kinds of products you sell.
Everything a quilter/sewer would need. We’re known for having high quality trendy fabrics, innovative notions, Tin Lizzie long arm machines, and we’re one of the top Bernina dealers on the west coast.
What are the services you offer regarding repairs and maintenance of sewing machines?
We repair all makes and models of sewing machines with our on-site technician.
|What are the services you offer regarding classes, lessons and other events?
We offer classes for all levels of quilters and sewers, from a quilting 101 class that is a 6 session course teaching a newbie everything from start to finish to advanced embroidery classes. We try to offer a variety of classes to appeal to every type of sewer: crafting, embroidery, home dec, quilting, heirloom, fashion, etc. Every year we have a huge event called “My Sewing Studio” where we invite in some of the biggest names in the industry. In 2008 we had Alex Anderson come and we rented a huge place, and in October of 2009 we are bringing in Libby Lehman and Nancy Bednar. We have a lot of fun events every month, it’s always a party around here!
| What are your three favorite products in the store right now and why do you like them?
The Bernina 830 as it is the most advanced sewing, embroidery and quilting system in the world! We also have our own line of patterns which are cute, practical and fun to make. I also love the bias binder attachment for my Bernina as it saves me from having to hand sew the binding to finish my projects.
|Why do you think it’s important for people to buy from a local sewing dealer when possible? What are the advantages of this versus shopping online?
We can help with fabric and notion selection, assist with making sure you have the right products for your projects, cheer you on to success in these projects. As our logo says, we are “the gathering place for quilting and sewing”!
If someone was to make the trip to your store from a bit of a distance away, are there some other great craft-related stores near your store that they should check out while they are in that area?
A Stitch in Time is a favorite local Stitchery shop.
|What is your role at this store? Owner? Manager? Other?
Owner and teacher
How did you come into this role and why?
I started the store six years ago from nothing as I saw that there was a need for a store that emphasized service and instruction.
What tips do you have for others who may be looking to open a business of their own perhaps related to crafts, sewing, etc?
Plan on working a lot of hours and paying someone else to sew for you until you can get things the way you want it to be and have everyone trained.
|What’s the most unexpected thing about owning/running your store?
The amount of time and work involved
What’s the most rewarding thing about owning/running your store?
Sharing in the personal aspect of our Customer’s lives. It feels great when someone has had a bad day and came to our store just because they feel safe and loved there, and then left with a smile.
|Are you a crafter or sewer yourself? If so…
I love it all:) I have a soft spot for heirloom sewing. I love working with all of the dainty laces.
What was the first thing you remember making?
It was a ceramic music box in 4-H. I actually won a ribbon at the California State Fair!
Why do you think it’s important to teach future generations how to make things by hand?
I think this is an important outlet for creative expression, for people to be able to create things on their own, gain recognition for doing so, increase their self-confidence, and enjoy the projects that they have created.
Why do you enjoy crafting or sewing?
It is my therapy. I feel so relaxed when I sew.
What craft or sewing tool has not been invented that should be?
The machine to make time stand still so I can finish my projects…
What has someone else made you that you will treasure forever?
One of my students made me a hand-painted needle box! I love it!
Advice for people who want to start to sew for the first time…
Work smart and not hard…take a class! I would have saved a lot of time and money if I had just taken a class instead of “finding out the hard way”.
How do you recommend picking out your very first sewing machine?
Do your research first. Think about what you will be using the machine for and then look at machines that have a little more. That way you won’t grow out of your machine quickly. Next, go for a test drive. Ask questions. Don’t let price be your determining factor. It is important to buy your machine from a store that will support you with instructional classes, technical support, and sewing knowledge.
What’s the best way to learn the basic techniques of sewing?
I think taking a class. It is so helpful to have someone right there showing you how to do something and sharing tips to make it easier along the way.
What are your favorite tips to give to beginner sewers?
To give yourself a break! This is your first project and it might not be perfect but we learn best from making mistakes. Besides when you’re done and look at your finished project I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
If someone says they want to learn to sew but it looks daunting, what advice do you give?
It’s just like driving a car! Put your foot on the pedal and sew!
What sewing projects do you think are the most rewarding for a beginner to try first?
Craft sewing projects like simple bags. Something that is easy and you can use.
Do you customers come back and show you what they’ve made with your products? If so, what’s your favorite thing you’ve seen lately?
We have customers bring back projects all of the time. My favorite lately was a wall hanging that was made for a charitable fundraiser. It had the most adorable 3-D frogs and bugs on it!