Passion leads to profit for seamstress

By Robert Soares

January 23, 2013 - 4:41 pm
Glenda Kelly, who owns Uniquely Sewn, whips up some vacuum bumpers to protect furnishings when floors are swept. Dan Miller photo

BUSINESS PROFILE: Uniquely Sewn

Owner: Maricopa resident Glenda Kelley; Maricopa Chamber of Commerce Ambassador; and embroiderer.

Where did your passion for sewing come from? My grandmother sewed. She kind of raised me, and I started following in her footsteps.

How did the idea for the business come to be? Ten years ago somebody asked me to make something for them. After a couple things here and there, I thought, ‘Well I might as well make money out of it.’ It started with one sewing machine now I have 10 all together, three of which can even sew leather.

How did you come up with the name? The first time I went to a chamber meeting, I was wearing the same shirt as somebody else. You go to the store and everyone’s wearing the same thing that you just bought. I want to create something unique.

What sort of items do you make? I have a trailer full of clothes and I embroider them. I can embroider things you already have. I make skirts, pants, I design dresses. If it has anything to do with a needle and thread, I’m going to try to see what I can do.

You started Uniquely Sewn four years ago but had a ribbon cutting this November. Why is that? When I started with the one sewing machine, it gradually turned into a couple more and they kept multiplying. There was no room in my house anymore, so we got a little office building that I refer to as my Creative Center (4973 N. Reggae Road). The ribbon cutting was the grand celebration of that new beginning. 

What kind of stock do you have? I have a vending trailer full of gifts, and they are all unique one-of-a-kind things. You’re not going to buy something for someone that anybody else has. I have skirts, yoga pants, jackets, jeans, backpacks, purses, you name it, all of which I can custom embroider.

Anything special for kids? I create what I call Boo-Boo pillows, and they’re made to be kept in the freezer for little kids. They’re in the shape of fish, turtles and bears so when they get hurt they go in the freezer and grab what looks like a stuffed animal and they put it on their boo-boo. And it makes them feel good, and that’s theirs.

Are you working on any new projects? A lady designed these vacuum bumpers and I helped her tweak some of the design aspects. I’m supposed to help her figure out designs for cart bumpers for hotels.

What are vacuum bumpers? They go around vacuums, no matter what kind you have and they protect the vacuum and whatever it runs into so you don’t destroy furniture or walls.

What are your hopes for the future? It’s in the works to get the bumpers sold in local retail stores. So if that goes well I’ll never see the light of day. What I’d like to do really is open up a manufacturing place in Maricopa. I would have a storefront for my products and also have that manufacturer element.

You said at one point you were a single parent with five children. How did that experience affect your business? When you’re a single parent your time is so jumbled. When I was working, it was structured. You had to be at work from this time to this time and I didn’t want to miss out on my kids’ things any more than I had to. So I want to help other parents make a little bit of money by offering them a job with a flexible schedule, giving them the freedom to be able to be active with their kids. They grow up so fast and you miss that time and you can’t get it back.

Uniquely Sewn: 602-722-8104 

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