Careers in Sewing: Content and Social media manager
Have you ever considered a Career in Sewing? Do you dream of ditching the 9-5 and pursuing your creative dreams? In this blog series we will be posting interviews for a range of different sewing jobs to give you a taste of what possibilities are out there. Today we interview Alex who works as Content and Social Media manager at sewing business Sew Over It. Hear about Alex’s job in creating images of products for social media, writing magazine articles and launching new patterns into the wild!
1. What is your background and how you have ended up working where you are?
Since I was a child I’ve always been crafty, but I don’t have a sewing background at all. In fact I was utterly hopeless at Textiles at school. Wary of the sewing machines, my teacher did all my work for me!
I studied for a degree in Film Production Technology, but I knew after I’d finished it that it wasn’t the career for me. After a little while working as an au pair in Italy, and then a nanny in London, I knew I wanted to get into something creative.
Recovered from my sewing machine fear, I’d been teaching myself how to make clothes for about a year before I applied for an internship at Sew Over It in 2013 – and I’ve been here ever since! Over the years my role has changed quite a bit. Following my internship, I worked on Saturdays alongside my nannying job, and when a full-time position as Shop Assistant became available a few months later I jumped at the opportunity.
2. Can you tell us about your job and where you work?
Sew Over It is a one-stop-shop sewing business in London. We have two shops where we run loads of sewing classes, a very busy online fabric shop, as well our own range of sewing patterns.
I work in Sew Over It’s original shop in Clapham, south London, where my role is now Content Manager. I am responsible for all our social media channels, our blog, marketing, press and keeping the website up to date. I write all the content for our new pattern releases, and make sure they get featured in lots of lovely sewing magazines. I’m really lucky to have a job I love. I feel like I get to do the most fun parts of working in a small business, with none of the boring bits!
3. What do you do in a typical day?
Sew Over It is such a fast moving business that I don’t really have a typical day. I could be doing anything, from planning blogs, taking photos for Instagram, writing email newsletters for something new we’re releasing, attending photoshoots, contacting magazine editors or working with developers to build new parts of the website. Like most roles in a small business, it’s very varied. My family and friends often can’t understand how working in such a “cute” sewing company could be stressful, but sometimes it can be. There’s never a dull moment though!
4. What are the best and worst bits?
My favourite part of my job is seeing a whole project come together. When we release a shiny new product out into the wild, whether it’s a new pattern, online class, or something completely new, it’s always really nerve-racking. I have to send myself a million test emails before sending out a newsletter to our email subscribers. But when you start to get lovely comments coming in on social media and kind messages from customers in the inbox, you suddenly feel a gentle wave of relief. When you see people sewing up our new patterns and proudly wearing their finished makes on Instagram, that’s when it really feels amazing.
My least favourite bits usually involve technical problems with the website! Spending hours on the phone to our web host when I could be taking new photos for social media is definitely not my favourite way to spend my time.
5. Did you always want a creative career?
I did, but I was never really sure in which particular area. I studied Film Production at uni because I wanted to make Michel Gondry style music videos for the rest of my life, but I quickly realised that world was too cut-throat for me. I fell into sewing almost by accident, but it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened. Not only did I learn to sew my own clothes, which is a reward in itself, but I get to spend my working days surrounded by creativity, and as part of the loveliest team. (I actually met Kate and Rachel at Sew Over It!)
6. What qualifications, skills or experience did you need to get your job? Have you continued to train since starting?
None of my qualifications or training are at all related to sewing. I was armed with an excitable passion and an interest in social media and blogging, and that’s what got me started. I remember starting my internship and telling Lisa about all the amazing sewing blogs I read (Dolly Clackett, Did You Make That, A Stitching Odyssey to name a few), knowing that my knowledge of the (then quite small) online sewing community was a way in which I could contribute to the business.
Since working at Sew Over It I haven’t had any formal training, but I’m really committed to learning new skills on my own. If there’s something I don’t know how to do on Photoshop, I find a tutorial on YouTube, or if I really want to get to grips with a new feature on Mailchimp, I’ll research it until I know what I’m doing. I didn’t even know what a press release was before I started my job, and now I write them every month. I love learning, and in an ever-evolving industry, keeping up to date is something you have to be committed to.
7. Do you have any tips for someone looking to get into the same thing as you?
Social media especially is a huge industry at the moment, and it’s growing all the time. I would say the most important thing is to really have a passion for what you’re going into. It’s so draining to be excitable about something you’re not bothered about! Apply for internships and use that time to discover what you can offer the business. It might be something they hadn’t even realised they needed until you point it out!
8. If you could do anything else what would it be?
I do a lot of writing for my job, and if I wasn’t working at Sew Over It, I think I’d like to try my hand at copywriting for craft titles. Through my job I have written sewalongs for Simply Sewing magazine, and I’ve discovered it’s quite thrilling to see your name in print!
9. What is your favourite sewing tool and why?
I’m not sure about favourite, but most-used is definitely my seam ripper. (I’m sure a lot of sewers say the same thing!) I have sewn so many garments completely incorrectly that if I didn’t have a seam ripper on hand to undo my work and start again, I wouldn’t have any handmade clothes in my wardrobe at all. You can’t beat a sharp pair of scissors too. My favourite are the orange-handled Fiskars.
10. What are you sewing right now/will be your next project?
There is a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress on my sewing table that I started months ago, and still have to finish. (I am a notoriously bad project finisher – I hate hemming!) After that I am desperate to make our new Nancy Dress pattern. It’s pretty much my dream dress, so I know I’d wear it loads. I’m not exactly known for my out-there fabric taste – I’ve got some black rayon that will be perfect!