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You say you want a Weavolution...

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 8, 2013

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 hand weavers

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 interest evolve?

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

the accounting 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?

Developing 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 professionals?

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.

Tags:  Segal  TNNA  Weavolution 

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