#55 - Leigh Metcalf @ Top Stitch Makers on starting a business with no formal business education and pivoting from sewing studio to online community

In this episode, Saskia and Leigh Metcalf, founder of Top Stitch Makers Social Community, discuss the importance of building a safe and valuable space for garment sewers.

Leigh shares her journey of finding her ideal customer, reaching them through various channels, and how she puts aside the financial treadmill of retail to focus on what really matters to her customers.

They also talk about the importance of having a community of like-minded people, the value of community in newsletters, and the benefits of sharing knowledge and insights with each other instead of competing. Additionally, they touch on the conflict between values about stuff and business, the importance of choosing the things that give you energy, and the benefits of having a team.

If you're a business owner, especially in retail, looking to build a community and prioritize what matters most to your customers, this episode is for you.



  • When discussing lease terms for your shop or studio, ask if you can sub-let, so you can get out early if you have to.
  • THE MOST BASIC BUSINESS PLAN consist of anwering these three questions 1. What are you going to do? 2. How are you going to do it? 3. How are you going to pay for it to start off with? (because not everyone wants to read a 50 page plan…)
  • LIFE LESSON: When you get cold feet: Just look at the step in front of you.
  • If you just start out; ASK QUESTIONS + READ BOOKS
  • Get connected to other business owners, it’s lonely even if you have a team, you need to talk to people at the same level.
  • Hire people that are better than you at many things to do the things you can’t or won’t do.
  • Learn about the actual cost of things, look into spreadsheets and modeling for businesses.
  • Find a toolset that works for you. For Leigh (and myself) a combination of writing in a notebook and planning tools like Asana, Trello, Google Keep, Notion and Evergreen can do wonders to get your shit in order.
  • Limit the time in your shop, make sure you have a day by yourself in your shop or studio, to do focussed work and to re-connect with your dream.
  • Make smart use of tools you already use. Shopify is an amazing webshop that makes so many things easier for small businesses.
  • Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and experiences with other businesses. We can all benefit from each other. It comes back to you.
  • You have opportunities for sales hidden in your mailing list. Make good use of it.
  • Building a community that is about your customers and not about you is a great way to connect with your customers and your values as a person and a business owner. It does have to make sense from a business perspective.






Go HERE if you want to attend the WARDROBE PLANNING WORKSHOP Leigh's teaching in the Ja, Wol Community. (If you don't have a creditcard, you can go HERE)

Use FIVERR to outsource jobs and tasks.*

FLODESK is a beautiful and easy to use email platform.* 

MIGHTY NETWORKS is the platform Leigh and myself use for building our communities, hosting memberships and programs and teaching workshops.*


* these are affiliate links, you get a discount, I get a small payment. This is a great way for me to be able to pay for making the podcast in such a way that I can choose what to promote. I only promote services and products I use myself and I'm happy with. Pinky swear! 



Go HERE to find the podcast in text and scan through and the topics we discuss fast. The transcript isn't edited so there might be a few weird words and sentences. When the podcast grows (Become a Patron!) I can pay someone to put some hours into that and make it even more accessible. 


Thanks for listening, I really appreciate you choosing to spend your time with me and my guests!

Do you want to get a reminder in your mailbox each time a new episode comes out? SIGN UP here.

✄ ✄ ✄


Have a question? Want to offer your opinion? Have an idea for a guest or topic?Click the voicemail tab on the right, ☞ ☞ ☞ ☞ I'd love to hear from you!

☞ PATREON SUPPORT by becoming a patron here and Pay-What-You-Can. 

☞ JOIN OUR COMMUNITY jawolcommunity.com (free plan available)


☞ SUBSCRIBE TO THE Journey to Wardrobe Consciousness Membership

☞ NO BUDGET SUPPORT Simply rate, review and subscribe to the podcast. Or point a friend in our direction!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.