Behind the Workshop: Sip & Stitch at Cositas.

Have you ever had such a fantastic day that you are just giddy and delirious with excitement and won't stop talking about it to anyone and everyone who will listen (and even those who will not)? Well that has been me ever since my first ever solo embroidery workshop last Saturday.

Previously I have worked with another small business to organise a workshop and have been given direction on a theme. I have then had to sit back while they run around worrying about ticket sales, refreshments, venues and other important business. I have stuck to the fun, creative things like choosing pretty thread and coming up with a kick ass design. It's a hard job but someone has to do it.

I decided that I would take the brave step and go it alone. I would be the one to choose the venue, sell the tickets, market the event and worry about which biscuits looked more delicious. Easier said than done. I mean, have you seen how many biscuits there are?!

In all seriousness, you can't just put in 'pretty spaces to hire' and put your feet up. There is so much to consider and as wonderful as Google is, it really isn't as easy as typing something like that and having all the relevant entries appear before your eyes. I spent quite some time trawling through various websites, comparing a wide array of prices and messaging a number of businesses before I struck the jackpot. Ironically enough these hours were almost wasted when I actually found my venue of choice while scrolling through Instagram one evening. I saw a photo of some beautiful homeware in what looked like a stunning shop and I was immediately drawn in. I then spent a long time scrolling through the feed and drooling over all of the incredible products before heading over to their website. It is there that I discovered that this shop was not only relatively local but it also hosted workshops. I tried my luck and sent a message to the shop, enquiring about hiring the space. I clicked send, made a brew and thought nothing more of it.

A short while later Emma, who is the owner of Cositas, got in touch and shared all the details on this space and what her shop had to offer. As soon as she sent over a photo of the space I knew I had found my venue. It was perfect! A visit a short while later cemented this fact and the date was excitedly booked in the diary and the countdown began.

I did quite a lot of research to find the best way to sell tickets for my event but finally settled on Eventbrite. I think ticket sales were my biggest concern especially because I have so many small business friends who struggle find enough people to attend their workshops. I went in with a realistic idea of what I would need and what I would like for the session to go ahead and hoped that with consistent marketing, networking and targeting I would reach my goal. To my surprise (and joy) I sold nine tickets out of ten! I was honestly shocked! Call me cynical but I just didn't expect to sell one let alone nine. I am sure it won't always run this smoothly and there will be times when things don't go my way but I think we will call this a win!

The rest of the work seemed a breeze in comparison to the pressure of marketing and ticket sales but I think that was because it was an area that I was familiar with from previous workshops. Fortunately the design for the workshop was one I had concocted in my brain a while ago and was just desperate to use and everything else came together organically. The best bit was choosing all of the extra pieces for the goody bags!

Fast forward a couple of months later and the day was upon me to take my hard work to this one big day. To say I had worked myself into the ground would be an understatement. Organising something like this is tough enough but to also work a full time job, care for a family (even the furry kind) and keep up with my regular orders definitely took its toll. I spent the two nights prior to this event and the whole day before, painstakingly compiling all of the kits and stock I would need, even waking up in a blind panic the night before realising I had spent all this time worrying about having all of the physical pieces in place that I hadn't even considered what words would come out of my mouth to all of these people!

I didn't need to worry because my crazy, over organised nature and ability to pull sheer miracles out of the hat meant that it all came together in the end. I had my trusty cheerleader and nerve calmer (aka my Mum) with me and everything was set up and ready with time to spare for a brew and a spot of lunch. Emma had been a super star and arranged the whole room ready for my arrival. We had two big tables to work at along with extras for all my stock and supplies. She also supplied copious amounts of tea (which always makes you a hit in my book) along with lots of yummy biscuits and bottles of water. The space looked amazing and all that was left to do was to wait nervously for my students!

In short I had no need to worry. Everyone was lovely and keen to learn! They listened politely to my rambles and made all the right noises when I revealed the kit we would be working on (I do like surprises). They were even more excited when they found out they had goody bags and were quick to pull out all of the contents and shout out with joy!

After a quick group demonstration on how best to set up the hoop and possible pit falls it was time to get to work on choosing their thread and the stitches they wanted to learn. With embroidery being such a fine skill, it is quite difficult to show the skills to large groups so the style of my workshops is a great way of learning the skills at a pace that works for each person. Not everyone will come along wanting to try a whole range of stitches but equally not everyone will want to do what is suggested in my guides. Giving the group free reign and guidance is the perfect balance. It means that although we are all working on the same design, everyone's work will be totally unique based on the stitches they have used and the colours they have chosen.

The time really did fly and before I knew it, it was time to wrap up the session. I can honestly say that the moment I got home and sat down, it hit me! All of the pressure, exhaustion, relief and happiness. Everything. I genuinely couldn't bring myself to do any more work that evening, instead choosing to curl up on the sofa and take it all in. Reading the review cards was probably the highlight for me. Naturally you always hope that you've done well and that the group have enjoyed themselves but you never really can tell. I received so many lovely reviews not only from the comment cards I left out at the end but also online too! It just confirmed that all my hard work, late nights and anxieties were totally worth it. The biggest compliment for me is hearing that they would come back again to do more sessions with me. It doesn't get much better than that!

If you would like to attend one of my workshops why not head over to the 'Upcoming Workshops' section of my website to see what exciting sessions I have planned?

If you think that you have the right setting for me to teach in just get in touch using the information on my ‘Contact’ page.

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