From Smith Smoothies to the recently launched Hotchstitch, the entrepreneurial spirit runs high at The Master’s College. Students are becoming increasingly creative and successful at meeting the needs of their peers. Most recently, Fall Thing was the buzz of the campus, and freshman communication major, Jenna Lui, found a way to bring in clients for her new sewing company, Hotchstitch.
“Hotchstitch is a sewing company that I started in September. I think it was the week after WOW [Week of Welcome] week,” says Lui. “I saw that there was a need for sewing and for someone to fix things within Hotchkiss at least. I figured I have my sewing machine, so I might as well fulfill that need and make a few bucks off of it if I can.”
Lui is from the Santa Clarita Valley. She taught herself to sew in the second grade and continues teaching herself new techniques. She began by sewing clothes for her and her sister’s Barbie dolls and stuffed animals. Lui has taken those skills and combined them with her natural entrepreneurial spirit to create this sewing business that now pays dividends on her college education.
Her business has mostly spread through word-of-mouth and business cards. Hotchstitch has rapidly drawn in clients. Lui described how she would wake up some mornings with a long list of text messages on her phone from people she didn’t even know who had heard of her business. Meeting new people through sewing is one of Lui’s favorite parts about Hotchstitch.
“[One] benefit [of Hotchstitch] is definitely getting to know people on campus. People approach me that I have never met but they know me and suddenly they know my name,” Lui said.
In one of Lui’s classes, she had to give a speech so she chose Hotchstitch as her topic. Soon, more people were coming to her with jeans that needed patches and as Fall Thing drew near, costumes that needed to be made.
Freshman Keenan Schmidt was one of those new clients who commissioned Lui to help him with a costume. In four days, Lui made wolf ears, a wolf tail, and a red sash to add to his wolf costume. She also created a red cloak from scratch, complete with ropes that scrunch the hood, for his date’s Little Red Riding Hood costume. Lui received only glowing reviews.
“She’s super fun to work with,” Schmidt said. “She’s willing to hear your ideas and she wants to hear what you have to say and then she’ll throw in her twist. … She had some great ideas with the simple basic stuff I had in mind. I would definitely recommend her to anyone.”
Before Fall Thing, the bulk of Lui’s sewing jobs consisted of jeans that needed fixing, patches that needed to be sewn on and buttons that needed repairing. Near the beginning of the semester, a friend of Lui’s came to her with five pairs of shorts that needed patches sewn on because they weren’t dress code.
“[The dress code] has actually helped my business,” said Lui while laughing.
Despite how much she enjoys working on projects and meeting people, Lui admitted that managing a business during her first semester of college is not without its challenges. In fact, some projects can take an entire day.
“When I was getting the [business] cards, I was like, ‘this is ridiculous. I’m not going to have time to do any of this. I’m going to be crunched. I’m not going to have a social life.’ But God is good and He’s blessed me. I’ve found the time to talk to my friends and make friends and sew,” Lui said.
Lui hopes to work in costume design, so Fall Thing was the perfect opportunity to gain experience in that area. Through Hotchstitch, she’s establishing a foundation in sewing and business. She’s already taught herself how to use Excel to manage her finances. Eventually, she would like to turn Hotchstitich into a side business, like an Etsy shop. However, Lui said that she’ll “always carry the name Hotchstitch.”
“I don’t think it’s something I’ll stop doing after college,” she said.
By Samantha Dick