I am Rhonda Sigrist, owner of A Stitch in Time Embroidery Designs.
I have always been an "artist" at heart as long as I can remember and my mom taught me to sew when I was 8 years old. Getting into the embroidery business was a natural fit for me.
I had worked in an office for many years in office management outside of the home and had always wanted to be home with my children. When Jonathan (my second child) was around 6 years old, a friend told me about an embroidery business that was for sale. I went and looked at all the equipment and started investigating the in and outs of machine embroidery and the business. Then I shopped around to see what new equipment would cost. I decided to start fresh and do it on my own and not purchase an existing business. That way I could work in my current job and build my own business over time for less money.
So I took the plunge in late 1997 and purchased my first embroidery machine. I spent a few months learning everything machine embroidery and officially started a business in early 1998. Although I was still working full time in office management when I started, I had decided this was going to work no matter what and worked hard to grow the business at night and on the weekends. Six months later, even though I was scared, I left the security of my full time job.
After joining a local business association and meeting lots of business owners, managers and employees in the area, I decided to focus on embroidering company logos on shirts, caps, jackets, tote bags, etc. My little business grew fairly quickly after that and we added additional machines and screen printing equipment. We were embroidering hundreds of shirts, jackets and caps each month and screen printing for schools, festivals, clubs, etc. My parents were a huge help during those years. Mom was always here helping with the kids and orders. She loved the business and all my customers. Some of them even called her mom... she would invite them in, try to feed them, etc...lol My dad helped me make deliveries, set up or move equipment and was always encouraging me and telling me I could do anything I put my mind to. He is still the voice in my head cheering me on although he is gone now.
I served for a few years on the board of directors and as President for the Saint Charles Business Association which allowed me to meet and work with so many wonderful people. We helped with fundraisers, local events, etc. and it helped grow my business even more.
At that time we contracted out all of our custom digitizing. I did do a lot of editing for many years but had never tried to digitize a design from scratch. I was too busy with all the other aspects of the business.
As my children got older and I wanted them to be more involved in the business, I purchased Wilcom Digitizing Software and tried to get my son Jonathan to learn the art of digitizing. He resisted at first as all kids do so I set out to learn myself. I took Wilcom online classes and also had a very talented and experienced digitizer help me along the way.
I started selling some of my designs on Etsy and later created this website to sell them on. Things were going great and I had some wonderful friends that were helping me to advertise on social media.
In 2019 Jonathan finally agreed to learn to digitize and I purchased Wilcom Hatch for him to use. He was mostly self-taught until John Deer offered an online class using Hatch. I enrolled Jonathan right away and he learned to digitize like he had been doing it all his life. His story is also in this blog if you are interested in reading it.
Now our business is mostly digitizing designs. Jonathan and I sell our embroidery designs on this website even though we still have a few favorite local business customers that we do direct embroidery for. They have been with us since our beginning and are “family” now.
My daughter Tabitha is learning the office tasks, website management and marketing and we hope to have her working with us full time soon.
It has really evolved into the "family business" as she calls it... on any given day, you can find me in my sewing studio before the sun comes up since that is my favorite time of the day, checking emails from customers, posting on social media and planning my day. I usually get any local orders done in the morning, have lunch with Jonathan and Mikko our mascot (a blue and gold macaw) while we discuss new designs and other business issues. Then in the afternoon we are testing designs, taking photographs, planning, etc. And now in the evenings a few days a month I teach online machine embroidery classes.
We love what we do and sometimes work 7 days a week during busy seasons. Being creative is what I enjoy doing. As long as I can remember I have been creating something. In my earlier years I was always drawing, painting, sewing costumes, etc.
I hope you enjoy using some of the embroidery designs we have created and would love to see pictures of what you are creating with them. Join our Facebook group, Embroidery Room Reality to make new friends and hang out with us!
PS – If you would like to see some of the designs I have digitized that are my favorites, click here