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Business Plan

Donated sewing machines serve a need

Erin Daley worked as a garden designer for her family’s landscaping business before studying fashion design in college. Just over two years ago, the fashionista joined her father, Thomas, and brother, Michael, in establishing a sewing shop, Daley By The Yard, in Acton.

With dual commitments to customer and community service, the Bernina sewing machine dealer is collecting all makes and models of sewing machines for tune up, repair, and donation to Household Goods, an Acton nonprofit serving local people in need. Erin Daley, who sews, teaches, and is a do-it-yourselfer and crafter, then invites recipients to the store for free training.

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Q. How did this partnership with Household Goods come about?

A. We’ve done something to give back to the community since we opened. The first year, we raffled off a new sewing machine and donated the money to breast cancer research at Dana-Farber. Then we participated in the Give and Get Back campaign through Bernina, where people got a discount by trading in their old sewing machine for donation globally. Household Goods is a half mile from our shop, so I’ll be able to give the people who receive a sewing machine the personal attention they deserve. I want them to leave happy. That’s what sewing is all about, being happy.

Q. Part of your business plan from the beginning was offering in-store classes for all skill levels. Why is that important?

A. When you see someone working, it inspires you to get started on your own project. We have a quilt club, an embroidery club, and a wearables club where everyone is interested in garment-making and fashion, which is where my heart lies.

Q. Do you worry that sewing is a dying art?

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A. I think sewing is making a resurgence. Young people like to do things ourselves, and products like pretty organic fabrics are being tailored to us. Our fabrics at the store are young and modern and trendy. Older sewers like working with them, too, so it all sort of melds together.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. I have a short sewing attention span, so I like projects I can get done in a weekend. I just finished a little wall hanging to go over my bed in my new apartment.

481 Great Road, Suite 102, Acton. 978-263-5900, www.daleybytheyard.com. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Cindy Cantrell may be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.