Needling a Passion

by | Feb 2022

Local artist sells her crafts on online store.

Photo: Chris Emeott

Local artist sells her crafts on online store.

Online shopping has dominated the retail industry for the past few years, leading individuals to sell their personal crafts to those around the world. Edina resident and artist Holly Winje has experienced the demand firsthand.

Winje opened her Etsy shop, called You’re Sew Sweet, in 2020; she sells homemade gifts designed and sewed herself. The online store gives her a way to showcase and sell her products, though she also sells them locally to friends and other people who hear about her products. “I’d always wanted to open an Etsy shop,” Winje says. “The pandemic gave me time to finally start it.”

Working as a dance teacher and costume designer at Victoria Dance Productions, Winje has always had a knack for sewing. Her mother taught her how to sew when she was younger, and she ended up with opportunities for lots of practice. “I’m shorter, so I had to hem a lot of my clothes,” Winje says. “I kept practicing and then started making my own prom dresses.”

Once people at Victoria found out about her sewing skills, they put her in charge of the costume department, where she makes more than 400 costumes a year. The sewing doesn’t end there for Winje, as she also runs the embroidery and design department at Educational Outfitters in St. Louis Park and makes products for You’re Sew Sweet. “Creative people can’t always turn their brains off,” Winje says. “I’ll get an idea for a design and make it just because I feel like I have to.”

Winje features a variety of products in her online store. Popular items include decorative wine bags, tooth fairy pillows, journal bags, ballet skirts and aprons for dance moms. While these are common items, she’s always looking for new creative ideas. If someone has an idea for a design, Winje takes custom orders and requests. She also hems dresses, especially around prom season.

Opening an Etsy store was an easy way for Winje to get her work out to the public. Anyone can start one online, and it’s a much simpler process than trying to enter a local craft fair or flea market.

Eventually Winje thinks it would be nice to have her work in a physical store. She’d love to have her own section in someone else’s store. “Some businesses only carry work from local artists. I like to shop local and would love to sell local,” she says

Regardless of selling her products or not, Winje just loves what she does. Sewing is her passion, and the shop is a way to show off her work and make some money while she’s at it. “Creative people need an outlet,” Winje says. “I have definitely found my outlet.”

Valentine’s Day

Looking for a cute gift for your loved one for Valentine’s Day? You’re Sew Sweet has some great gift options.

  • Winje recommends one of her wine bags, specifically the one that says, “Love the Wine You’re With.” She uses a Valentine’s-themed fabric, plus she says wine-related gifts are always perfect for the occasion.
  • If your loved one is into journaling, Winje recommends one of her journal bags. The bags are perfect for taking a journal on the road, and it has room for pencils, pens, books and more.
  • If you’re shopping for a dance mom, Winje has an apron perfect for dance competitions. It has pouches capable of holding a cell phone, extra safety or bobby pins and any other things needed to make sure your little dancer is good to go.
  • If none of these suit your loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out to Winje with a custom order to ensure you give a great Valentine’s Day gift this year.

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