Grant Recipient

April 17, 2024

March 2024 Amber Grant Awarded to SpiritThread Studio and Stitches

SpiritThread Studio & Stitches

Woman Entrepreneur:
Brittany Fentress

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We’re excited to announce the March $10,000 Amber Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Brittany Fentress, Founder of SpiritThread Studio & Stitches. She is the fourth qualifier for the 2024 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).

Recently, WomensNet Advisory Board member Jama Hernandez sat down with Brittany for an exclusive interview. You can listen to their conversation and view the transcript below.

Video Transcript

WomensNet: Hi everyone, my name is Jama with the WomensNet Advisory Committee and we are so excited to introduce our March 2024 winners. We have with us Brittany Fentress with SpiritThread Studio & Stitches, and she is our Amber Grant winner. So before we begin, can you please tell us a little bit about SpiritThread Studio & Stitches.

Brittany: SpiritThread Studio & Stitches is an upholstery business and an interior design business, but I really focus on the upholstery. It all came from having a kid and wanting another hobby. After my first time having a child 12 years ago, I took a class and fell in love with it. I fell in love with taking something apart and putting it back together. And then a hobby ended up becoming a career. And my favorite thing is to find the trash on the corner, like that beautiful sofa that somebody decided they didn’t want. And I love to reupholster them, but my favorites are the heirlooms that people bring me- like we take the grandmother’s chair and we make it a thousand times better. But usually my clients want exactly what their grandmother chair looked like in like the sixties! They’re like, I want it to look exactly like that so that their grandmother keeps living! So we we’re based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we do work worldwide.

WomensNet: Can you talk a little bit about what makes your business approach unique from other businesses that are providing a similar service as yours?

Brittany: What makes it unique is that if you’re in an upholstery business and you’re a woman, you are rare. So what makes it different is that I’m a woman and it is as simple as that. There are two other people that I know of that are women.  But, if you go to the upholstery businesses in the San Francisco area, they’re all men.

There is one woman who owns a business here, but the men do the upholstery. I grew up with a father who’s a contractor, and he taught me how to use every single machine. I took construction classes too- I wanted to be an architect. So I took any kind of hands-on experience classes, like electric, electrical work, and plumbing. So I do not believe that a woman can’t use a piece of machinery and that you have to be a man to pick up a sofa. It bothers me so much when someone’s like, oh, let me get that furniture. I’m like, no, I move furniture all day long. I can. I’ve learned how to leverage a sofa down the stairs all by myself. So it’s a woman’s business too. 

I teach women how to do upholstery online and in person. So I am also different in that way. We do group classes and we’re now doing online classes. For example, you want to build a headboard, here’s your DIY tutorial and you follow along. We are going to start doing live online classes, it’ll be interesting. It’s gonna be kind of  like a trial period. 

So being a woman ran business, my goal is to hire women. I really want to empower moms. Like if you are having financial troubles and you have a gift, something you could do with your hands, you can offer this and no one can take that away. So I love teaching women how to do something with their hands so that they can make an income for their family.

WomensNet: Absolutely…Can you tell us a little bit about what effective strategies you’ve used? I know you said that you’re not just local, but you’re national and beyond. And so what strategies do you use to let other people know about what you’re doing?

Brittany: I have like three things here. So first one, go local. I use Thumbtack. So first think about where are people looking for this service? They’re either gonna Google it, so make sure you’re on Google. So you’re either gonna Google it, you’re gonna yelp it or maybe you’re gonna Angie’s list. But think like your client. Like where would they look? So I have my name in all of those places… and Thumbtack actually is my number one lead magnet. I get most of my clients from there. Very low cost and high profit off of that. So my husband was like, how much do you pay for this? I’m like, dollars and I’m getting thousands back. So it’s a great thing to get your name on. 

The other way is local and creating relationships. When I wasn’t really a full business yet I went into local shops asking, could I sell my pieces in your shop? So I created this relationship with this woman. I started selling all my stuff just in her store. Then anytime she had an antique fair or she did big events, I was always there. And then we ended up doing this huge corporate job together where I upholstered like 20 sofas, a massive job while I was super pregnant, like nine months pregnant! 

And sometimes we think, I need to be on Instagram, I need to be on Facebook. I need to be all over the place. No, pick one. You do not need to be on all of them. Just pick one. Where are your people at? Like knowing your avatar is key. If you are for the 20 year olds, you need to be on Instagram. Forget Facebook. Like Facebook is for probably our generation, but not for the younger generation. So make it simple. 

Like I used to think with one of my businesses, I kept thinking, I just need an online course. Well really, all of my money came from local community people. So think locally first. That’s what I think, especially after Covid. There’s a lot of noise online right now, people can push out a lot of content really quickly. So go locally, like find, who can you look for, like for me, interior designers, who can you collaborate with? One day I emailed every local interior designer and made it very personal. I emailed anybody that could possibly offer my service as like an affiliate. So think fabric designers locally, furniture shops, even if it’s just home decor shops. But really think about who’s within your community. 

And then the third one is, I joined a mastermind and it, it’s again, creating relationship and community. Because when they talk about you and you’re in, you’re always in like these relationships. They can always refer someone that you might not even have thought about or they’ll talk about you on their show and you can collaborate together. So it’s collaborations, relationships, thinking locally and using resources like Thumbtack or Angie’s List that are really low cost. I didn’t start my online courses until after I built  more local business.

WomensNet: Okay, so our final question. Where can we go find you? 

Brittany: and also SpiritThread Studio and Stitches on Facebook. They couldn’t fit that whole thing on Instagram, so it’s SpiritThread Studio there. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and on my website. I’m based in the San Francisco area. 

WomensNet: This has definitely been an amazing discussion, thank you so much for joining us today.

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