Every day, Lindsey Nicholls loves going to work. She settles down behind her sewing machine and a short while later, she has a new item to sell.
Every person who goes into Annie’s on Abbeydale Road is warmly welcomed by Lindsey. She asks if it is your first time visiting the shop, which opened in October, and says she is happy to help you find what you need or leave you to browse at your leisure.
The walls are lined with an array of coloured fabrics – some with pretty floral designs, some bold bright statement prints, and some covered in cartoon characters. There is something to suit every age and every taste.
There is also a range of products which Lindsey, who has been a keen sewer and crafter all her life, has made. There are teddy bears, bean bags, oven gloves, shopping bags, make-up cases, aprons and tea-cosies.
“It all started in 2010 when I was shopping with my friend. I saw a bag and I said I could make it. My friend suggested that I make some and sell them at Shiregreen Community Centre market, so I did.
“After that I ended up at Chesterfield market. I was there for six and a half years. It was there that Annie’s was born.
“My business grew and I started making more products. I also got a regular customer base. Then, last summer, I thought that I needed a more permanent base so I found this shop. I absolutely love it.”
The shop is named after Lindsey’s mum who taught her how to sew when she was young. Now, she teaches others how to make some of the things she sells in the shop.
She has made more than 300 teddy bears, and her recent workshop to learn how to make them was so popular she had to put on extra sessions – and was also in the shop with customers until 7pm helping them to make their own cuddly friends.
“It was always my intention to run classes teaching people how to sew and make these products. People ask if I’m just doing myself out of business, but I don’t see it like that. It’s a skill that I think should be shared, and people do come back and buy fabric from me. I am lucky that I have a very loyal customer base.”
At the back of the store is a classroom with six sewing machines which people use in workshops. They are also available to hire out for people to use for their personal projects – with Lindsey on hand to help if required. Novice sewers can also book in for one-to-one sessions. Customers can buy buttons, zips and cottons in the haberdashery section.
Lindsey added: “People call it a crafter’s treasure trove and it really is.”
For the full feature on Abbeydale Road shops see today’s Star.