‘Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends’ reads the sign Michelle Medeiro’s parents hung by the door upon the opening of her Lakeville shop, Homestead Quilting and Fabrics. True to that promise, Michelle has created a community of like-minded folks whose relationships blossomed, through their shared interest in the craft they’ve explored within the cozy confines of her shop.
Michelle’s initial interest began in home economics at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School,and was reignited after she revisited a quilting class as an adult, but she says it was her MBA in Finance followed by 20 years in financial services that gave her the confidence and know how to change course and open a small business.
Besides putting together a smart business plan, Michelle knew how to secure a low-risk business loan. “I had the opportunity to try something different and if it didn’t work out, I wasn’t going to lose my house over it,” Michelle remembers, “I said, why not?”
Though Michelle’s primary function has always been to maintain the store’s ongoing success, she has been able to rest on her savvy financial background – and let her creativity guide her in the process. She doesn’t quilt much anymore but still loves sewing and creating things and is always invigorated by the ever-changing textile offerings in the industry.
“You go nuts over new fabric!”
With endless offerings, Michelle says she has pared down her purchasing style through the years. Past the guessing game she played in the beginning, Michelle builds her stock around solids, blendables, and seasonal fabrics with some variations within those categories while scrutinizing trends and relying heavily on her customer’s feedback: “I’ve gotten to know my customers.”
Michelle has not only become acquainted with her shopper’s buying habits, but has built lasting relationships with them over the years. More than a store, it became an escape; no matter what someone was going through at home, they could find peace at Homestead..
“They could come to my store, relax and just quilt,” she says, “That’s the best part of my job.”
Most friendships begin through customer participation in the ever-changing classes offered at Homestead Quilting. Michelle employs three teachers, each with their own special talents: Diane H. McGuire, an expert in the history of quilting and antique and vintage quilts who Michelle says loves hand piecing and hand quilting reproduction miniatures while enjoying the creativity, freedom, and elaborate embellishments of “art” quilts; Cheryl Martel, a resident certified Judy Neimeyer Instructor, who also enjoys hand embroidery projects; and Pat Robinson, a machine embroidery instructor and resident aficionado of Baby Lock, a specialty brand sewing machine. According to Michelle, Pat enjoys helping students get the most out of their embroidery machines. Private lessons as well as beginner to advanced classes round out their offerings, while Michelle says she always follows her clients’ lead in exploring new things.
Together with her customers – now friends – she delights in the overall process and seeing their final products come together. Michelle helps in finishing the top layer of classroom quilts on her industrial quilting machine, and though she remains focused on the business, she has her own occasional work to be proud of, as well. Michelle recently finished a sample quilt for the store, one featuring mermaid images that she will eventually gift to her granddaughter. Prior to the pandemic, she entered what’s called a scrappy quilt made of just that, the leftovers, into the well-known MQX quilt festival in New Hampshire. As her first submission, her quilt was ineligible for a prize but was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback by the national show’s judges. Michelle has since insured it and will display it as an art piece.
Still, her pleasure derives from creating a space for people that is free of outside stress, and watching them move through life’s phases with support from the women they’ve gotten to know so well.
“I never thought I’d be doing this,” says the finance expert who admits the store won’t make her millions.Yet Michelle seems to have already found success following the wisdom carved into that auspicious sign hung nearly nine years ago.
“I’m so happy that all these customers that keep coming back are my friends now,” she says “That makes my day.”
Michelle will participate in the New England Shop Hop in the fall where quilters are invited to head from shop to shop with friends and can win prizes in the process. Email email@example.com, learn more at homesteadquiltingandfabrics.com or, better, makes plans to visit the shop:
Homestead Quilting and Fabrics
54 Main Street