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The Moms on the Move Show
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Laura Kelly left a career on Wall Street to stay home with her kids but found a niche in knitting.
This kind of work is handwork. Crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, you name it, if you can make it with thread or yarn, and pair of hands, you can make it here at the Handwork Studio. Laura Kelly is now building the business of her dreams after leaving a dream career that wasn’t her own.
Linda:You really started your career on Wall Street because your parents wanted you to have a real job.
Laura: And benefits - and benefits. And then you get the golden handcuffs because you’re earning a certain kind of a living. The weekly workshops you have a choice between handwork classes. So after the birth of my son I was working down on Wall Street and I was commuting two hours a day each way everyday. It was stressful; it was stressful all the time trying to be everything to everybody all at once. So I stayed home for the next 7 years.
And in those seven years, the idea for her new business kicked in after an experience with her children’s first school.
Laura: All first graders knit, all 2nd graders crocheted, all 3rd graders did needle point. It spoke to the mother in me, but then as the businesswoman I thought this could really be something. We started for the very first class around our kitchen table and the second year we had 10 classes out of my house.
And as Laura’s business grew, her husband John got involved.
Laura: Thank you honey.
Linda:Oh you have helpers.
And so did her kids
Linda:How do your children view your new business?
Laura’s Kids: It's really nice. Yeah.
Linda:Does she pay you?
Laura’s Kids: Yeah
Laura: When they come home from school I find them asking me, “Hi mom, how was your day?” Because they know I'm starting from the ground up. They play an active role in it. We'll sit here many a nights folding brochures together and doing mailings and they have a good time with it. It's not all about the alphabet, and just about getting great math scores, but really about a well-rounded child and they work on projects that give back to the community.
Linda:Parents must love what you do with your children.
Laura: You know the kids are so into computers and tv and their not use in their hands like they used to so we have to work with natural fibers and natural wood knitting needles.
And naturally, mothers got hooked on the Handwork Studio too.
Laura: Adults can come in and have as much fun.
Client: When I find a lot of kids in the house and I need to be supervising and I can’t have all of my attention, knitting is a really good diversion.
Laura: The kids are coming to our studio and they’re going home and teaching their mothers.
Laura: Dropping your stitches makes you a knitter so welcome to the club.
Linda: I’m a part of the team.
Laura: I'm just glad it's not my purse.
Linda: How do you get through the anxiety about getting back into the game after raising kids for so many years?
Laura: I think it’s just a process of not thinking about the big picture and omigosh, how am I going to get back to that big job again.
Linda: See the goal but just know you have to take one step at a time?
Laura: Absolutely it's like running a marathon. You wouldn't start that day thinking you were gonna run 26.2 miles because nobody would do it. You have to think today I'll run half a mile and next week I'll run 3 miles. I'd like to see all kids doing this but obviously we're starting in Narberth. (laugh)
Linda: Little step by little step is the way to do it.