Editor’s Note: This Q&A profile originally appeared in our Winter 2013 TNNA member newsletter.
Member: Claudia Segal
Company Name: Weavolution
Type of business: Social network for
Length of time in
business: Five years (we
started the planning in 2007 and launched the website in June 2008)
Q. How did you first
become interested in the needlearts? Who or what inspired you, and how did your
A family friend
introduced me to the art of crochet over 50 years ago. A year later, I learned
to knit and sew. My grandfather was a women’s tailor and he loved to create and
sew. He never used patterns and taught me to make clothing without patterns.
I learned on a foot
treadle sewing machine, which I regret selling over 30 years ago. No one in my
family used patterns, so I taught myself to read them in college. Weaving is my
real passion, and I met my first loom in 1974. Living in New York City, I was
unable to buy and house my own loom, so I used my friend’s huge Swedish loom
whenever possible. I left NYC and weaving in 1976 didn’t return until 2003.
Since then, I spend almost every spare minute in my studio doing something "weaverly."
Q. What prompted you
to go into business?
I helped create
Weavolution so hand weavers could have a social network of their own. We shared
space on several Web sites and bulletin boards as an afterthought. A social
network for knitters was gaining popularity, and hand weavers had a small
presence there, but we were still in the background.
I started talking to
other weavers about the idea of an online presence for hand weaving and found
Tien Chiu, a gifted engineer who knew a lot about computers, software and the Internet.
Tien and I began working on Weavolution in August 2007. She organized the
online work and I did most of the marketing.
We still needed one
or two more dedicated hand weavers at the top of the Weavolution organization.
Alison Giachetti stepped forward and offered to work on all
concerns. That was perfect; neither Tien nor I had any experience in that area,
and Alison was overqualified for the job. With the help of several volunteers
to assist Tien with Web site development and funding from an online auction of
donated items, we launched in June 2008.
Later that summer,
Tien had to sell out for personal reasons and Alison and I ran things until we
sold Weavolution in September 2011.
I continue to work
with new owners Erica and Oliver Jones, and am an active user of the site. I
enjoy the relationships I have developed in the weaving community over the past
six years thanks to Weavolution.
Q. What business
practices have you found work well for you?
relationships with others in the weaving community and inviting their ideas and
suggestions. To use a phrase from childhood, learning to play well with others. I had a good working
relationship with many who were my competitors. We had a similar goal: to serve
the weaving community. We each approached it in different ways.
Q You’ve been very
active in TNNA. How do you think the Association helps needlearts
I have enjoyed
getting to know as many TNNA members as possible and learning about their work to
strengthen needle arts. I have met so many bright, friendly, creative people that it’s been extremely easy to want to contribute to TNNA. I admire TNNA for recognizing the changes in spinning and weaving in recent years, and inviting the formation of the Spinning & Weaving Product Segment Group. It’s been a natural fit, and we have received a warm welcome.
Q. What’s next? And what
do you do when you’re not working?
I am working on
SpinZilla, a community event designed to bring together new and experienced
spinners to raise money and awareness for the Needlearts Mentoring Program.
Stay tuned for more details when we launch at the trade show in Columbus in June.
I also spend my time as
co-owner of a small, local fiber arts business we named Lotsaknots. We sell
handcrafted wearables on Etsy and at local craft shows. In addition, I teach knitting,
crochet, weaving and spinning. In my spare time, I love to weave rag rugs. I
also enjoy knitting for my family and for our business.