I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the incredibly creative Boss Lady, Leslie Grossman of Stitches by Leslie. I met Leslie though a mutual friend, and I knew from the start that we were going to hit it off. Not only is she a creative mastermind, but she’s quirky and fun, to boot. So, when she approached us about a Personal Branding session, I knew it was going to be a magical time.
We met at her house out in the wilds of Florida (at least it seems like the wilds to this city slicker!), and she took me straight to her darling little studio. What it lacks in space, it makes up for in sunlight. The large window lets sunshine pour into the space, illuminating the brightly colored fabrics that line the yellow and gray painted walls. A quilt-in-progress hangs on one wall, one desk faces out the window, and a sewing table faces a minimalist gray wall with a single piece of artwork on it that states “You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray.”
And the piece de resistance, their silky black labahoula, Galaxy, who wanted to be part of the action. One nuzzle from this sweet pup, and I was in love!
As we began taking photos, I asked questions about her journey along the way, and Leslie’s story began to unfold…
Q: How did you get into quilting?
A: I started my quilting journey in January 2011, when my son was a year and a half. I took a quilting class at the local quilt store because I wanted to learn how to make something that I could give him, to snuggle with and stay warm. The class was 6 weeks long, 4 hours every Saturday. I made my 1st quilt, which is also my son’s 1st. I was smitten and bitten and haven’t stopped sewing since.
Q: Tell me about the Journal Mate? Where did the idea come from?
A: I was working in corporate America as an IT project manager. It was a typical day, running between meetings, all over a very large campus and in different conference rooms when I realized that I lost not only my phone but my pen and some other important papers. Frustrated, I came home that night and decided that I was going to leverage my sewing skills and giant mound of fabric to sew a solution. After a few tweaks, inputs from coworkers and friends, I started selling them, and a patent soon followed.
Q: What do you do to relax and get the creative juices flowing?
A: For me the best way to get the creative juices flowing is to just spend time in my studio looking at all the different fabrics, looking at different designs, or flipping through images on the Web.
Relaxing, to me, is just being outside exploring, hiking, being out in nature. Whether it’s playing at the beach or finding trails in Jupiter, riding my bike or just getting out for a run. Taking a yoga class or getting a massage are other ways that I wind down.
Q: Tell us your aspirations in terms of your business.