How Entrepreneur and YouTube Guru Mimi G Turned a Love for Sewing Into an Empire
If you're familiar with YouTube's thriving DIY space, chances are that you're familiar with the work of the inimitable Mimi G.
She's a fashionista, creator, entrepreneur and mom whose channels make her the biggest sewing influencer in the world—and it all started with a sewing machine, the desire to create and a big dream. Today, her online sewing and design school, the Sew It! Academy, is a multi-million dollar business that's also giving others the skills needed to start their own fashion careers.
There are a thousand reasons to be inspired by Mimi, and we got the chance to ask her all about her start in sewing, and how she built her online brand from the ground up.
Sweety High: When did you first get into sewing and crafting?
Mimi G: I started sewing when I was 12 years old. I would spend the summers visiting my dad and watching my aunt create amazing dresses from fabric. I really got into it and my dad saw I was enjoying it so he bought me a sewing machine. I started taking apart my clothes, copying the shapes, and then sewing them back together which is how I taught myself construction. It was fun when I was able to see something in the store and go home and make it. It's still very thrilling even all these years later.
SH: Did you ever imagine you'd be able to make a creative career out of them?
MG: No, not initially. I always thought I would be a fashion designer, but after having had the opportunity to design a collection and put it on the runway, I realized that something was missing. It didn't excite me as much as I thought it would. When I started my blog as a way to journal what I was making for myself, I realized I enjoyed sharing my process. That soon turned into me sharing my techniques, and eventually teaching via the blog and YouTube. Now I have built an amazing DIY fashion empire and I sometimes can't believe it.
SH: When you made your video about sewing a face mask, did you ever expect it to go so viral?
MG: No, I never think of anything I do with that in mind. I truly feel that if you provide a service or product because you want to help and be of service, then everything else falls into place. I lead all my businesses with that mentality. I want to be of service first. I want to provide value to people, and the money and success will follow. The mask was something I knew people needed, so I did the YouTube tutorial, but I knew that wouldn't be enough. If you have never sat at a sewing machine, even with a tutorial, you still would need to know the very basics of working with a sewing machine. So I opened up my online sewing school sewitacademy.com for the first several courses free of charge to help people learn how to use a machine, so then they could make the mask and protect themselves and those around them.
SH: Have you been surprised by the success of your YouTube channel?
MG: Yes and no! Yes, because there is so much content out there that you wonder how people will continue to find you year after year, but it really is just a matter of consistency. No, because I was fortunate enough to start making video tutorials long before others were doing it. I came in early when YouTube was still kind of new to everyone. I was very consistent, had a clear mission and I did the most I could to provide fun and entertaining videos.
SH: What do you think it is about the platform that has really allowed you to grow and thrive there?
MG: I think YouTube makes it easy and convenient to learn just about anything, and so that has been helpful to me and my growth. It gave me a place to share something in a format that was still new to people and that was exciting to watch. I developed sewitacademy.com because of my YouTube channel. I realized that although YouTube was great for teaching one-off projects like making a top or a skirt, there was still a certain level of assumed knowledge that as a content creator you expect people to have. For example, if I teach you how to make a skirt on YouTube, I expect that you already have basic sewing knowledge and can follow along. If I had to go over everything you need to know about working with a machine, tools, terms, fabrics, etc. every time I did a tutorial, the videos would be very long! So I decided to create an online school that was affordable but taught you to sew in a way that helped you build your skillset one course at a time and that required you to have zero experience to start. Now with over 20k students, many go on to have their own fashion brands and businesses.
SH: What advice do you have for young creators who aspire to do what you've done?
MG: The first thing I tell anyone looking to follow in my steps is to make sure that you are doing this because you love it and not because it has become trendy to be an online content creator. There will be moments where things can get difficult, and you need to love what you are doing enough that you are willing to keep at it. If you focus on creating good content that brings value to people and do it consistently and with a mindset of gratitude, you will achieve success. There is also something really important that I want young people to understand. Social platforms can sometimes be difficult to maneuver. There is so much being shown and glamorized and so many people are concerned about algorithms and keeping up, and not enough time is spent teaching, sharing and creating valuable content. I have never worried about an algorithm, I have never researched hashtags and I have never been worried about what someone else was accomplishing. I only ever worried about making sure that what I was sharing and putting out to the world was worth someone's time and energy. I have built a multi-million dollar company simply because I like teaching and sharing something I love.
SH: Do you have a favorite project you recommend to beginning sewers?
MG: Yes! We have tons, but we always start sewitacademy.com with a sunglasses case and a railroad tote. Then we immediately start sewing garments. The beginner projects are a great way to get people used to sew in a straight line, which sounds simple enough but it's the one thing students have to practice most when they get started. The free trial in Sew It! Academy is a great place to start.
(via Mimi G Style)
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