Hello everyone! I hope you’re all keeping well. I thought it was time I wrote another little blog post as it’s been a long while!
So today, I thought I would share some before & after photos of the fabric shop & sewing studio as I think a lot of people may not quite realise what a transformation the place has gone through. We started with a damp & mouldy broken white box which was structurally unsound before it became what it is today!
We gutted this grade II listed building & stripped it to its core! My mum used to say ‘Kathryn, remember, you need to crack a few eggs to make an omelette!’ And oh my, what an omelette I was making! 🤣 I remember my sister commenting, my god, how do you sleep at night?? But actually, weirdly, I slept like a baby as I was so exhausted haha! The only night I didn’t sleep well was the night when the floor was being replaced. I was so relieved when the new beams went in & the building was structurally sound again!
I always had a good feeling about Coffee Yard, from the moment I entered the building for the first time, I knew it was my job to bring the building back to its original beauty & turn it into something special! I could visualise it completely & could really see it’s potential! I had also seen a lot of ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ & ‘Grand Design’ shows over the years haha, so I knew what I was getting myself in to!
I had numerous conversations with builders, the conservation team, planning officers, archaeologists, Building Controll, various other trade people & I had an inbox I could barely keep up with as every day I had so much to sort out! But slowly but surely I made it and every day there was some improvement.
Sadly in June, just before launching the shop, we unexpectedly lost my dear mum. She too was a seamstress and she was my bestest friend and my biggest supporter! This was a massive blow as I’d also lost my dear dad just 4 years before. As you can imagine, with everything that went on, I really felt the shine had gone off all my plans of opening my dream shop. But my mum made me promise to still launch the shop after all the hard work I’d put in. If I make a promise, I stick to it! So, between June and December, I did not stop. I plowed myself into my work and gave it my all.
The building that houses the Sewcialising shop was once derelict.. and now we were ready to launch, I didn’t want the building to be empty again!
So.. this time last year I was in full swing trying to get the fabric shop ready to launch. There was a lot of uncertainty due to covid-19 lockdown restrictions etc, but I kept going. I spent endless days painting & cleaning & ordering from suppliers not knowing what would arrive and when due to pandemic & Brexit delays!
I debated about opening a shop during a pandemic as it was inevitable that we’d probably go into lockdown in the January, meaning we might only be open for just 1 month, if that .. but something just told me to go for it! I was already selling online and I figured, I may as well let people know we’re the new place to be for beautiful fabrics & haberdashery!
Before I knew it, it was the 5th December, so, I put my big girl pants on, took a big deep breath and opened our door for the very first time! WOW and what a day it was! So so many of you came to the shop and supported me, and my social media exploded! It was so overwhelming & meant so very much!
There was such a buzz in the shop and I was so proud of myself for finally getting to the day of the launch! As cliche as it sounds, it felt like mum was a part of it as for months and months I shared all my plans and a million photos with her! Not once did she complain, she just let me rattle on about things on the phone. She kept saying she was proud of me, but I’d cut her short and say ‘Mum tell me when I’ve finished it, not yet, I’ve not made a success of it yet!’ She would have LOVED the shop, I just know it! I also often wonder what my father would have thought of it all! Mum & Dad renovated a few properties as I grew up, so I think it must be in my genes! 🥰
Anyway, thankfully we could open our doors again on the 12th April after a lengthy 3 months of being in lockdown.. We launched our sewing studio which was also very well received by all. Daily, people were asking when workshops would start! So in June, we hosted our first workshop and it’s been busy ever since!
Every day, even now, I pinch myself and think, did I do all this?? Is this mine? Have I opened a fabric shop? My little Sewcialising A board on Stonegate makes me smile every day 😊 It’s still very surreal!
And now it’s been almost a year since we welcomed our first customer through the door! I’ve said it a few times, but thank you so so much to every single person who’s supported us, bought from us, visited us, shared my posts online, mentioned us to their friends etc, it honestly means the world! ❤️
So many people ask me if I would do it again if I knew beforehand about how much work it was, about the difficulties of refurbishing a listed building, Brexit and the pandemic etc..
Yes it was very stressful, especially with a young family to care for too.. I was at Coffee Yard daily and still did every school run, & spent endless evenings doing work and trying to get on top of my admin. My husband supported me as much as he could & was amazing during this process! In all honesty, I would do it all again in a heartbeat! It’s all rather bittersweet though, as I couldn’t have achieved any of this if it wasn’t for my dear mum & dad who I still miss daily!
Coffee Yard has been an amazing journey and the shop honestly gives me so much joy. I really hope the shop goes from strength to strength & continues to be York’s leading fabric shop & sewing studio!
Before I close off.. I just want to say an extra big thank you to everybody involved in this project. My amazing hubby, RV Engineering, Toby & Ian from York Archeology, Lee & Ian who worked on the building daily for just over a year, my suppliers, & all my friends & family & anybody else who cheered me on along the way! Loren who helped me tremendously to get the shop (& the holiday let above) ready to launch and still works in the shop today.. a massive thank you! Also a thank you to Rachel who joined our team recently which has allowed me to take a little step back and have more time with my family… ‘Thank you!’
I hope you enjoyed reading about Sewcialising’s journey and enjoy seeing the before, during & after photo’s of the shop!