On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about growing a sewing pattern business with my guest Heather Lou.

Heather has been passionately making her own clothes since 2010, and discovered she loved sewing so much she left a career in interior design to start Closet Core Patterns. Over the years, the company has grown and evolved and now offers standalone sewing patterns, online sewing classes, and an inspiring pattern membership and private community called Crew, where new sewing patterns and tutorials are released each month based on a changing annual design concept. This year, they also acquired the French pattern company Deer&Doe, and they plan to release future patterns through this new sister brand. Heather also started Core Fabrics with her business partner Tereska Gesing in 2021, an online fabric store that focuses on sustainable, eco-friendly, and artisanal textiles and supplies for garment sewing. She is proudly based in Montreal, Canada.

Heather was a guest on our podcast in March 2016. We wanted to have her back on the show to talk about the growth of her business over the past eight years.

We talk about the rebrand from Closet Case to Closet Core. Heather explains the reason she felt it was important and the steps she took to make it as seamless as possible.

Heather talks about starting an online fabric shop focused on sustainability as a compliment to her pattern business. Core Fabrics is a partnership with Heather’s good friend, Tereska Gesing. Heather talks about the values of that business, the mistakes they made at the beginning, and what they’ve learned along the way.

We also discuss Crew, the membership that Closet Core Patterns now offers. Heather explains why she felt it would be wise to start a sewing pattern membership and how she’s structured it. She also explains the impact it has had on her business both financially and in the way she thinks about developing new patterns.

Finally, we discuss the recent acquisition of Deer&Doe. Heather explains why the move made sense for Closet Core and what it means for the future of both brands.

In addition, we touch on social media pressure, growing and managing a team, and avoiding burnout.

And, of course, I ask Heather to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Heather recommends:

Keep up with Heather on the Closet Core website and on Instagram.