Introducing Crystal Hammond: full-time engineer, frequent Fiverr buyer, fitness instructor, and money blogger at Sophisticated Spender. A multipreneur, to say the least! Sick of overspending on clothes, Crystal decided to take up sewing—and enjoyed it so much, she opened up shop at Sip and Sew Old Town. We had the pleasure of stopping by Crystal’s Alexandria shop during #DoersAcrossDC to learn more about sewing, building a business, and what makes DC a special place for entrepreneurs. Learn more about Crystal below, and then check out our Instagram Stories for a play-by-play of our custom Fiverr sewing class!
Tell us a little bit about Sip and Sew Old Town.
Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, I was inspired by all of the clothes my mother made. She loves to sew and apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
I’d always have trouble finding pants that were long enough and shirts with sleeves long enough. So I decided to revamp my interest in sewing. As an engineer by trade, I could figure out sewing patterns for items I wanted to wear by looking at clothes on the rack. Technology has come a long way when it comes to sewing and I’m here to share all that I’ve learned and pass down the sewing tradition!
Sip and Sew Old Town is anyone interested in sewing, learning to sew, learning about fabric, making cool gifts, designing their own fabric—the list goes on! All skill levels are welcome. I started these classes to meet other sewing and crafting enthusiasts.
What makes DC such a hotbed of entrepreneurship?
Living in DC has surrounded me with people who are the cream of the crop, the go-getters and future leaders of the country. It’s no accident that all of the elected officials from all of the other states have to congregate in DC to make decisions. They bring their ideas, energies, and passion here and it has rubbed off on me for sure.
How has doing in DC changed over the past 10 years?
We are a LOT more connected than we were 10 years ago. I didn’t even know I’d have my own business 10 years ago. The city has numerous programs out there that encourage entrepreneurship and will help you along the way on your journey. A lot of these programs have been around for years however, they were difficult to find. Now the information is available for anyone who is ready to learn and take advantage.
What do you love about being a business owner here?
The support and networking opportunities are amazing in this area! I’m currently in a class for entrepreneurs at the Greater Washington Urban League. I have a mentor from the SBA’s SCORE program. Since I’m a resident of Alexandria, I also have mentors and attend workshops given by the ABDC (Alexandria Business Development Center). All of the small business owners in my neighborhood know each other and regularly meet with one another.
What motivates you as an entrepreneur? Why do you do what you do?
The next big thing is small! I LOVE sharing what I’ve learned with others because the more I give, the more I receive. I had a HUGE issue finding affordable, stylish clothes that fit me properly. I decided to make my own clothes and quickly realized there were other people who wanted to do the same thing. So I started my business Sip and Sew Old Town to help people create their own wardrobes for pennies on the dollar!
What are a few of your favorite hyperlocal neighborhoods or small businesses to support?
My sewing shop is in Old Town Alexandria which was picked by Money Magazine as the best travel destination in the US. And that’s no accident! I frequent the same shops and restaurants. I LOVE knowing the name of the person who cooked my food when I’m dining out. We are family! I know their business and they know mine. The level of love and support that we have for each other keeps me going every day!
How do you use Fiverr for your business?
What are some of your tips for entrepreneurs just starting their business journeys?
Start today! For example, there are a LOT of sewing classes out there. But mine is different because of ME. I have a unique style, story and teaching technique that will draw like-minded people to me. Someone is looking to connect with YOU. Someone who has your same experience, story, style and flavor is in need of your services (whatever that may be). Take advantage of all of the programs that are here to help you strive, learn and succeed. I have and the rest is history!
Want to know more about Crystal’s approach to entrepreneurship? Ask her in the comments below!