Mary sat nervously at her computer screen, wondering if it was a good idea.
Begging for help? It wasn’t really Her Thing. She didn’t like asking people to go out of their way for something that might mean a lot to her, but didn’t necessarily mean much to anyone else.
“Still,” she mused, “that’s what Community is all about, isn’t it? And Needle ‘n Thread is a community, after all.” And so…
She decided the best approach was a forthright and sincere one, because, after all, she was talking to friends.
I need your help! I have an opportunity to apply for a grant through Mission Main Street, which is an endeavor of Chase bank, partnered with Google and additional supporters, to offer small businesses in the US grants that will help them expand.
Like most of us, I have a pet dream. It’s not a needlework shop. It’s not a “big money-making endeavor.” It’s actually a rather small dream in the scheme of things, but I think it is a dream that could resonate in the lives of many.
My dream is to establish a hand embroidery learning center – a place where, at the local level, classes can be taught to youth and adults who want to learn the art of hand embroidery. At the global level, it is to make classes and learning resources for hand embroidery on all levels more widely available through the internet.
In order to do this, three things have to happen:
1. Needle ‘n Thread needs dedicated space – a place outside my home where classes and workshops can take place, and where I can kit up and store materials for teaching.
2. Needle ‘n Thread needs more than me. Operating the blog, preparing projects, keeping up with the industry, and doing all the embroidery that you see featured on Needle ‘n Thread is already a full time job. To establish an apprenticeship-type program that would allow one or two people at a time to work with me would enable me to teach in person, to organize classes that other skilled embroiderers could teach, and to expand my offering of online teaching materials on Needle ‘n Thread.
3. I need to raise the capital to make 1 & 2 feasible. This can be done much more quickly and realistically with a business grant.
Why the Needle Arts are Important
Since you’re already an embroidery enthusiast, you know how important the needle arts are in the lives of those who love them and who have an aptitude for them.
You already know that teaching even one person the love of the needle can have wide-spread repercussions in the lives of many others.
Embroidery gives us a creative outlet, it generates appreciation for art and craftsmanship, it fosters a sense of accomplishment (especially in youth), it improves lives, it makes people happy, and, with today’s ever-expanding DYI / craft marketplace, it presents the possibility of earning a livelihood doing something you love.
How Can You Help Me?
Since I began Needle ‘n Thread as a blog in 2006 and registered it as a business in 2011, my goal has always been to reach out locally and globally to promote every aspect of the needle arts. I hope that I have been at least partially successful in doing this.
With the Mission Main Street grant program, I have the opportunity to expand that dream, which I could never do without capital. Though I’ll be competing with many other small businesses to win one of the twelve grants on offer, I still think it is worth a try.
So I’m asking for your help. The initial step in the application process requires me to garner a minimum of 250 votes for Needle ‘n Thread on the Mission Main Street website. To vote, you have to have a Facebook account. If you don’t have one or you are uncomfortable in any way with casting a vote, that’s ok.
But if you do have one and you want to vote, I would greatly appreciate your endorsement for Needle ‘n Thread as a worthy grant recipient.
Anyone who has a Facebook account, no matter where you are in the world, can vote!
If you have ever found Needle ‘n Thread useful, educational, or entertaining, I’m (quite literally!) begging you to vote through this link so that I can get through the initial phase of the application process.
And don’t worry – the grant recipients must agree to use the grant for their business purposes as described in the application. So I won’t be buying that little island home where I can melt away hours stitching in peaceful bliss and sunshine.
And I won’t be supplementing my thread stash with it, either!
Are You a Small Needlework Business in the US?
If you’re a small needlework business in the US – either a sole proprietor or a business with less than 100 employees – you can also apply for a Mission Main Street grant. The deadline is October 31st, and the steps of the application process are not too complex.
I strongly encourage you to apply for the grant if you desire to expand your business with a feasible plan but, like me, you don’t have the capital to do so.
I know, in a sense, it seems like “competing” with each other, but I don’t see it that way. It’s all about supporting the Needle Arts. If you do decide to apply, once you have your business profile set up on the Mission Main Street website, write to me and let me know, so that I can vote for you, too, and spread the word.
Maybe with some combined effort, we can at least see one needlework-related business receive a financial boost that can help it survive and flourish, to influence future generations of needleworkers!
Please, if you can, vote for Needle ‘n Thread today!