Stockist of the Month: Coles' Sewing Centre

Established in 1996 by husband and wife team Rose and Neil, Coles Sewing Centre specialise in Husqvarna Viking sewing machines and also offer dress making and quilting fabrics plus a range of essentials. They are enthusiastic about teaching and even offer a complimentary owner’s course for sewing machine customers.
We caught up with Rose to find out more about her passion, the history of the business and their future plans.

Tell us about the history of your shop and the team?

My husband Neil and I opened our shop in 1996, we are the largest Husqvarna Viking dealer in the UK selling sewing machines, overlockers, dress and quilting fabrics as well as all the extras a quilter and dressmaker requires, threads, scissors, rulers, mats and a lot, lot more!
When we opened the doors 21 years ago it was just Neil and one member of staff;
now we have eight members of staff helping to run our busy shop, mail order department and our service workshop, plus a number of freelance teachers who teach in our classrooms.   

What do you offer that makes you stand out from other retailers?

All our staff are very knowledgeable in the products we sell and are able to offer help and advice to all our customers whether they are buying a reel of thread or a sewing machine.
Every customer that buys a sewing machine from us will get a free complimentary owners course to help them get the most from their new purchase.
We have three classrooms where we run a wide range of courses quilting, dressmaking, soft furnishing, embroidery and crafts.    

What are you passionate about?

I love the technology of machine embroidery and the creativity it gives you. The latest top of the range machine from Husqvarna Viking has Wi-Fi capabilities and allows you to save to the cloud. Haven’t sewing machines come a long way since Isaac Singer invented his first machine? 

How do you choose what you stock?

We stock a good range of basic lines but we also go with the trends at the time. Our customers are very important so we listen to what they want too!    

What do you love about quilting?

A quilt is a work of art and watching the way colours and designs come together is amazing. We love it when a customer buys all their fabrics and then comes back into the shop with their finished quilt!

What project are you working on at the minute?

I have just completed a quilt top and I am about to quilt it using a computerised embroidery machine. Customers often say its cheating when they see an embroidery machine being used but I think it’s an interesting concept to combine a traditional skill with new technology.    

Are there any future plans you wish to share with us?

We are just in the process of putting together our summer workshop programme which will include classes for everyone whatever their ability including children!
In August we will be exhibiting at Festival of Quilts at the NEC, it’s a great opportunity to see all the beautiful quilts and catch up with customers old and new!
And then in October we will be taking part in Sew Saturday, this is an annual celebration of the independent fabric and haberdashery store and there will be lots of events going on in shops like ours around the country. 

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