published Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Ready Set Sew offers help for sewing novices

Melanie Coakley sews in the showroom Tuesday at Ready Set Sew in East Ridge.
Melanie Coakley sews in the showroom Tuesday at Ready Set Sew in East Ridge.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
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• Name: Ready Set Sew owned by Steve and Melanie Coakley

• Location: 3444 Ringgold Road, East Ridge

• Products/services: The shop sells sewing machines, embroidery machines, sergers and quilting machines. Ready Set Sew also offers classes Monday through Saturday on sewing, quilting, serging and embroidering.

• Age: The store opened in July 2012 and held a grand opening Oct. 19.

• Startup investment: $75,000

• Target market: Anyone interested in sewing from the age of 9 to 109 are welcome to sharpen their sewing skills. Both hobbyists and professionals can get use out of classes.

• Biggest hurdle: Finding the right employees to launch the business, looking for people with the right personality and enthusiasm for the products. The Coakleys wanted visitors to come into the store and feel at home.

• Biggest reward: Seeing customers' faces when they realized what they had accomplished in a class was one of the biggest joys in starting. They did it, not the government, Melanie Coakley said. They actually created something from scratch, she said.

• Challenges in the future: Coakley wants to work to bring national educators to teach locals about how to elevate their craft. Quilting has become an art form, she said.

• Lesson learned: Location is so important, she said. It's not just about having a business. It's about getting involved in the community, she said.

• Five-year goal: Coakley hopes to double the size of her store and expand classes. Overall, she wants to build a community of hobbyists and professionals to achieve their goals in the textile industry.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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