My first sewing machine came from Waco’s Sew & Quilt Store. One perk of shopping with them: they teach you how to use your machine — for free! I remember coming in for my “machine basics” class; as I was getting set up at the table, I watched as two children across from me put the finishing touches on their (Japanese-inspired) aprons.
I noticed their pride and enthusiasm with their finished pieces, as well as that of their sew instructor. Even store owner Jennifer Trumble joined in to praise and admire their projects. The kiddos even got a shout out for their final works, complete with photos, on the store’s Facebook page.
Call it good marketing or customer service, but after a chat with co-owners and hubby-wife duo Jeremiah + Jennifer, I think that’s just the way Sew & Quilt operates: loving their customers well.
Jeremiah + Jennifer are second-generation owners of the Sew & Quilt Stores mini-chain. The business began in 1997 and the Trumbles took over from Jeremiah’s parents a few years ago.
I asked if they had always planned on taking over the business someday.
“Yes, we had planned to take over the world, muah ha ha!” Jennifer mischievously answers. (And they are slowly but surely working on it—if not the world, maybe at least the sewing industry. They opened their fourth location in 2018.)
Jeremiah started working with the company when he was 14 years old. Jennifer joined in soon after.
In their 20-some years of work, they’ve gone through every position. “We’ve both been managers, we’ve worked sales, customer service...we’ve done it all. I think it was just the natural progression that we would take over someday,” Jennifer tells me.
Sew In Love
Clearly the two had been working together for a while. My curiosity was piqued — did we have here a sewing store love story on our hands?? I had to ask: “How did you guys meet?”
Jeremiah: “She worked for my mom!”
Jennifer giggles, “That’s not how we actually met!”
Jeremiah: “Technically we met in high school, but in high school she worked for my mom!”
Turns out the two started dating shortly before Jennifer started at the company, but their mutual jobs brought them even closer.
“Well...sometimes,” says Jennifer.
“If she would just do what I tell her to do, it would be fine!” adds Jeremiah.
And Jennifer just laughs. Obviously, despite whatever trials come with spouse business partnerships, these two still enjoy each other’s company quite immensely.
“We just have fun,” Jennifer says. “We’ve been friends forever, we were friends before we dated and will continue to be friends forever. Working together, it does drive you nuts sometimes, but we’re a good team. We got married when we were 17 & 18, and we still like each other now.” (“Sometimes,” Jeremiah interjects, making Jennifer laugh again.)
So what’s it like to work in a store like theirs? I naively assume sewing is a fad of the past but quickly find out I’m mistaken.
Apparently, sewing is actually one of the fastest growing hobbies in the nation.
Jennifer thinks the steadily growing interest in the craft is because, “People are wanting to go back to their roots. It used to be a necessity, not a hobby. You did it because you have to, you needed clothing or blankets.
“Now, it’s a privilege. It’s a fashion thing, or a family heirloom, or something to give as gifts. People are wanting to learn how to do things for themselves again.”
The best part of work for Jeremiah and Jennifer? Both answer, without hesitation, “People, definitely.”
I ask them to explain.
“People are the most amazing part of life. Seeing them light up when they love something...when they enjoy something, it gives them peace as well as inspires them.”
“And the relationships that you build. This job is sales, but ultimately you build relationships through what you do. People come in and they’re looking to have a friend that can tell them an honest answer about what to get, why to get it, why would they want this over that,” Jennifer explains.
Jeremiah goes on to add, “It’s a different kind of sales though. It’s not like when you’re out buying a car and they’re hounding you. Here, we’re helping someone find the tools that they’re needing and wanting to help make their job easier and life easier. Creating memories is truly what this is about.”
They offer an example of the meaning that can come with their customer interactions.
“We had one customer that had wanted to make a dress her entire life. She came to us and we helped her make the dress. We did big embroideries from one shoulder all the way down to the opposite ankle. And she was actually buried in that dress.”
The Value of Local
The Trumbles tell me that one common misconception people have about their store is that they only sell high-end, specialty equipment.
However, they offer a range of machines, starting at $99. According to Jennifer, not only are they competitive with prices you’ll find at large department stores, but they offer added value when you purchase a machine from a Sew & Quilt Store:
“When you buy a machine from a big box chain store, you have no one to rely on when you have problems, nobody to help you figure out why your machine won’t make a button hole or do a certain stitch.
“Whereas we literally give out our cell phone numbers. We have store lines and our ladies that work for us are excellent. We offer classes on how to use the machines that we sell, and a 2-year warranty on any machine you purchase through us. You’re not going to be left high & dry. We help you the whole way. It’s just the better way to do business, it’s local.”
And we agree - local IS the better way to do business. If you think so too (or are curious to investigate on your own), make sure you check out Towny, the free resource that rewards you for exploring Waco and choosing local. You can find us online here or download the free app here.