A day with Simplicty by Brother and SpotlightBy Susan | Comments: 20 | November 10, 2014
I’m endlessly fascinated with how stuff gets made, clothes, food, cars, electronics. Those educational type programs on factories are brilliant. I just like seeing the process of how things come into being. So a few weeks ago when I was asked to attend the launch of some new sewing machines I thought it would be a great insight into learning about how the machines came about.
The event was to launch the new collaboration between Brother and Simplicity. Three new machines are going to be co branded and exclusive to Spotlight. Christy has done a fabulous wrap up of the actual machines at Little Betty Sews. They will be called Simplicity by Brother and each machine is aimed at beginner, intermediate or advanced sewers, come with a Simplicity pattern that matches the skill set of each machine.
Essentially it’s a good, better, best type program which I’ve dealt with all the time in clothing. It’s all about hitting the correct price points and features to match the price points. Every retailer from supermarkets to hardware has a version of it. Homebrand, known brand, designer brand is what it equates to. In this case it means that the “good” machine is to entice newcomers to sewing. That can only be a good thing, I like that more and more people are learning to sew. What impressed me is that it wasn’t all about the beginner. They have thought about the natural progression of sewing and that there are more than just beginners out that. That showed some smarts as too often things only get aimed at beginners.
Overall the entire project has taken over 3 years to come to market. That seems like such a long time to be working on the one project! I was sitting in the audience mentally calculating how many ranges I would’ve designed or worked on during those 3 years. Even for companies where I only design 2 ranges a year that was still 6 seasons ago, that seems forever in my experience. It was insights like that which can make a launch day like this one so interesting. It’s all about learning new things.
The team from Spotlight were there and they were super knowledgeable not only about their products, but also about different bloggers and what plans they had for the stores. They certainly have some exciting fabrics on the way and I’m so glad. I grew up in a country town where for years Spotlight was the only fabric choice. Sometimes it felt limiting but with a bit of digging around you could turn up some gems.
These days I like plenty of their lines, a notable highlight being the Japanese Lawn which I’ve used here, here, here, here, here, here and a bunch of not yet blogged makes. I genuinely like the fabric and find it a great wash and wear basic that suits my lifestyle. In fact I was wearing this dress on the day, it’s my current favourite dress for when I need to look semi dressed up but not too dressed up and for when I don’t want something that will distract me. It was a little weird to have people patting my fabric and talking about how well it sold and citing facts and figures on it. My dress also received one of the oddest compliments. I was told “but it looks as good as store bought and no one would know you made it”. Such a weird compliment to say at a launch of sewing machines? What exactly did they think a sewn dress would look like?
If you took a selfie with a sewing machine you went into a competition to win one, this one has 5 kinds of buttonholes so I grabbed a photo on the off chance I may win.
I had a great time hanging out with Christy who was a bit nervous to begin with and was quite the celebrity as so many people recognised her from her excellent blog. The team from Spotlight are certainly reading blogs and seeing what people have to say about their stores/fabric lines and taking it on board. They rattled off a bunch of facts and figures around their customers and honestly I had no idea they were such a powerhouse. There wouldn’t be many bigger brands in retail in Australia that have a following that large.
Overall I found it a really interesting day. I hesitated to write this as a post because I didn’t want it to seem like an advertisement but I also wanted to offer insight into what is happening in the sewing industry and how that translates to my own experiences. It was an interesting day and I hope the whole promotion works to bring more people to the joy that is sewing.