Andrea Lim (pictured) is an associate manager at OMD Singapore. She is also the content creator of online journal Sew and Prick. Lim started the website with the intention of earning extra cash during her university days, as well as recording down the bags and pouches she had made and sold to families and friends. "The name of Sew and Prick came from me pricking my fingers during the countless nights of making the pouches and bags," she explained.
*Editor's note: Lim was a media planner at the time of filming.
Interestingly, her passion for sewing stemmed from her love for buying bags when she was a student, which then led her to spending a hefty amount. With a limited allowance, she had to counter this. And thus she decided to learn to make bags and pouches from scratch by signing up for an express class. Within four days, she learnt the basics of sewing and pushed herself to improve her sewing skills by experimenting with more designs.
Her most memorable item was the backpack which she sewed for her husband. "It took me 18 hours of hard work to complete this backpack. It's the biggest project I have done. It's not perfect but the sense of achievement is the highest for this one," she explained. From sewing for simply pleasure, Lim converted her passion into a business in 2015.
"I was really happy [when I made my first sale]. On top of that, I was also very happy when I saw people posting the bags on their social feeds. I even requested to take a screenshot of that and put it on Sew and Prick," Lim said.
However, she stopped a few months later as she got too stressed out in ensuring each piece was perfect. Lim currently does it as a hobby and only sells bags for special occasions such as birthdays or Christmas. To date, she has mainly sold clutches and laptop bags, with the former gaining popularity due to the ease of use.
Lim who at the time of interview had been with OMD for more than two years said that she despite the long hours agency-life in Singapore presents, was determined to not let that hinder her passion for sewing. Instead, she forks out time during weekends to sew.
Challenges of running her own business
Just like how life is not a bed of roses, maintaining Sew and Prick also had its challenges. As she did not have professional training, the onus was on Lim to allocate time to pick up advanced sewing skills. Moreover, finding the right fabric is also a challenge, said Lim, which then hampers her creativity.
"What I have learnt is that it is not easy to sew a bag, especially if it is a big project. You tend to prick yourself a lot or want to give up because the designs are tough to execute," she said. For her, this translates to her day job as well as sometimes things do get tough, but you just need to push your belief through to succeed. "For example, if things get tough and I am unable to continue on, I will always take a break, relook at the problem and solve it the next day," she said.
When asked what her family and friends thought when she first revealed her hidden talent, she said they were simply put, "Amazed".She explained that this was because most saw sewing as a skill set typically associated with the older generation. Nonetheless, Lim aims to take Sew and Prick to greater heights by venturing into even more products such as fashion to realise her dreams.
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