… In a stroke of luck, a macabre turn of fate changed everything and lead to the birth of Sew What? Inc.
I was 20-something when I arrived freshly from my native Australia and found my way into James Ramsey’s “Fright Craft” stagecraft company specializing in amusement park installations and special events. A stage electrician by way of an apprenticeship, I got to business as I hung lights, drew electrical lines, rigged sets and loved the life of a rockin’ roadie. I’d have gladly continued down that path…but luck intervened.
The specialty event company got an unusual request: build ten coffins for a Halloween attraction at the world renowned Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park in California. Although that was a bit afield from their usual business, the company accepted the assignment. But they had no one to upholster the satin linings into the coffins. James asked all employees if anyone knew how to sew, and I spoke up without too much confidence, “I do!” (Grandmother was a tailor, Mother a knitter. I was more of a “shopper”, if you know what I mean?…. but the crafting skill set had somehow rubbed off……)
For a week I sat in coffins in a garage-style warehouse; with yards of material, a staple gun and a rented sewing machine, making each casket a prop to die for.
In the process of learning, I thought, this could actually be fun….. And so in future months, as word spread of my newly discovered talents, I took on other independent projects, starting with sewing drapes and linens for entertainers and party planners, then onto specialty fabric projects for Las Vegas casinos. With my love of rock and roll, I soon began sewing drapes and backdrops for a few rock concerts. That brought an end to my work as a stagehand, and Adam and I launched the new company, Sew What? Inc., in 1997.
Since that time, the company has grown into one of the leading providers of custom sewn drapes and fabrics in the concert and theatrical industries, creating spectacular sets for such A-list names as Madonna, Kid Rock, Rod Stewart, Lady Gaga, and even the cover of the iconic 1000th issue of Rolling Stone. I could not be more thankful for those clients who have trusted and supported us along the way. To think that we are here some 18 going on 19 years later!
Images below: Photo shoot and finished iconic cover of the 1000th edition of Rolling Stone Magazine.
I believe that our formula for success is, and has always been, simple – personal drive, pride of ownership, and a commitment to improvement by employing the most qualified staff possible and embracing cutting edge technology. The results speak for themselves – the prestigious Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award for business innovation, Inc 500/5000 Award as one of the fastest growing privately held businesses in America, PC Magazine’s SMB 20 Award for technological innovation for small and medium-sized businesses, and the Stevie Award for “Most Innovative Company of the Year – Up to 100 Employees.”
Who knew that sewing a couple of coffins could lead to all this? Sometimes, the secret to success is just being there when dumb luck happens to fall on your head!
Customized coffin, anyone? Put me on speed dial…………
About Sew What? Inc.
Sew What? Inc., located in Rancho Dominguez, California, is a well-known stage and theatrical drapery manufacturer known for its dramatic theatrical drapes and fabrics used in major rock concerts, top fashion shows and other artistic staged venues. Their drapes have dressed the stages of Sting, Elton John, Madonna, and Rod Stewart to name a few. The company has received numerous awards for innovation, including the Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award, and was featured on the 1000th cover of Rolling Stone. For information, contact Sew What? Inc. at (310) 639-6000, visit us online at www.sewwhatinc.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Rent What? Inc.
Committed to providing an ultimate experience in drapery rental products and customer service, Rent What? Inc. is proud to be woman owned and operated. The firm, located in Rancho Dominguez, CA, has set the stage for artists including Beyonce, Nickelback and Demi Lovato. In addition to its large inventory of Inherently Flame Retardant stage drapes, traveler tracks and portable dressing rooms, the company is widely regarded for its basic pricing schedules, innovative damage waiver policy and fast and friendly service. For information, contact Rent What? Inc. at (310) 639-7000 or visit https://sewwhatinc.com/rent-what-inc/.
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