I often dream about giving up life as a researcher and setting up my own little business. It is not that I hate my job, in fact by lunchtime on a Monday I am always happy to be at work*, but for some reason I am drawn to the idea of running my own business. I have numerous ideas for a business venture, all of them bearing the name ‘Phil & Jack’. One idea I frequently return to is running a ‘sewing cafe’. Similar to an Internet café, customers could come in and rent a sewing machine. Unlike an Internet café, however, I would serve good (probably Merlo) coffee, leaf tea & homemade baked goods. In the centre would be a big table for cutting and pinning and resource books would be scattered around the shop. Knowledgeable staff (as in my Mum) would be on hand to answer any questions and provide advice. (If I allow my imagination to really wonder, the cafe would be staffed by family and friends who would all be sitting around busily sewing their own marvellous creations to sell).
I was reassured last year that the idea wasn’t totally crazy when I read about the existence of a sewing café in Paris called Sweatshop (on a quite street just off the very trendy Canal St Martin). The cafe was started by two friend, one a Swiss make-up artist and the other an Austrian clothing designer, who decided that Paris needed a place where both novice and experienced sewers could gather. By all accounts business is booming. On our recent trip to Paris we took a visit to the Sweatshop and it really is a lovely creative space.
I am far too sensible and conservative to every do something as daring as setting up my own business, but I do love reading about people who have thrown caution to the wind and risked everything on a crazy idea.
*My measure of job satisfaction and enjoyment