Mandi Coulter just gave up her full-time job to run her own sewing studio.
"It’s scary, but it’s so exciting. Like, some nights I can’t sleep because I’m so excited about all of the things I want to do,” she says.
Coulter is a self-taught sewer who dabbled in high school and then lost interest. After having her first son, she says she got right back into it while on maternity leave (thanks to some inspiration from the show Project Runway) and hasn’t stopped.
When she was living in Belleville two years ago, Coulter says a friend was looking for someone to teach her daughter how to sew and Coulter offered to assist. From there she fell in love with instructing and began advertising her services. And so, Yes Please, Sewing Studio + Design was born.
"I like with teaching that it’s just a really great opportunity for people to learn at a young age,” she says. "And then there’s just so many different things that you can do with sewing. I find that it’s just really about every person being able to make it their own."
Coulter’s sewing style consists of things that are simple, but fashionable.
"I like to sew anything that’s sort of comfortable and easy to wear,” she says. "I generally sew casual wear and take inspiration from things that I see in stores and then try to recreate them on my own."
On the business side of things, she either lets her students pick a project, or tries to select ideas for workshops that are easy to make with the focus being on millennials who never got the opportunity to learn how to sew. Though she still gets interest from older generations, too.
Upon moving to Kingston a year and a half ago, Coulter says things have only gone up.
"Business has really grown since we've moved here. I think it just has a great population of people that are interested in making their own things and just learning that skill that isn’t as common any more."
Though she loves sewing, Coulter says she does more teaching than making these days. She recently began doing small group workshops out of her home studio and will be teaching bigger groups at places like The Kingston Collective and the Southpaw Cat Cafe in August.
With these workshops, Coulter says she loves seeing success.
"The best part of my job is seeing the satisfaction that new sewers get when they make their first item or project. I think that seeing the excitement that people have when they realize they can make something on their own and they can go on to do more complicated things on their own is the best part."
She says she hopes her future will proceed to bring bigger and better things.
"Eventually I would like to have a space outside of the home that’s bigger and offers workshops and classes. Just sort of kind of like a DIY studio where people can take different kinds of classes."