Q&A: How MemoryStitch transforms your treasured shirts into forever quilts
Thousands of people have used and trusted MemoryStitch with their treasured items, so we wanted to learn more about the process and the story behind it.
With the recent Mari Kondo frenzy, thousands of people across the nation have been sorting through their belongings with the goal to declutter. If the item doesn’t “spark joy,” it is discarded, given away, or donated. It does if, you keep it. It’s as simple as that. However, when it comes to the clothing part of the process, what if you’re like many people across the nation with a collection of old, cherished t-shirts that are collecting dust, but still “spark joy?” This is where MemoryStitch comes in.
MemoryStitch helps their customers tell a story while looking out for the environment by recycling and upcycling unused clothing items and producing quality t-shirt quilts packed with personal messages and memories.
Plus, not only will you put your old shirts to use, but you’ll be further decluttering your closet by transforming many into one. Thousands of people have used and trusted MemoryStitch with their treasured items, so we wanted to learn more about the process and the story behind it.
Q&A with Steve Nabity, CEO of MemoryStitch
How did the idea for MemoryStitch come to fruition?
MemoryStitch is a service business that was born on a car trip to Wisconsin. I was headed north for a family vacation the summer of 2018 with a dear friend with a background in marketing and sales. And it clicked! We had spent the earlier part of the year putting the necessary tools and processes in place for sewing and quilting at our manufacturing facility.
For years, we had made the products (dies and fabric cutters) that helped our customers make quilts, but we never made the quilts themselves. It seemed like the natural next step for our business operations. Then the question became, “how can we best help our customers with this new service?” After some more research, we landed on the idea of MemoryStitch – helping our customers both tell their story and look out for the environment by recycling and upcycling unused clothing items and producing a quality t-shirt quilt, full of their personal messages and memories.
What has been your biggest struggle thus far?
Finding the best way to help the customer – simplifying the process as much as possible. These t-shirts and other apparel share such precious memories and stories, and it’s critical that we provide the customer with a product they’re satisfied with at the end of the day. The critical step is finding the best way to allow the customer to effectively communicate their vision for their memory quilt.
How does the MemoryStitch Process work?
Typically, our customers find us when they’re trying to tell a very personal story. It could be a child graduating from high school, a loved one who has passed away, the birth of a new baby, and everything in between. Once they find our site, they can start the simple process by selecting the size of quilt, selecting the color of their soft minky backing, and adding any of the additional upgrades we have available. They can choose to upgrade to a premium quilt, personalized embroidery, prioritized shipping, etc.
From there, they follow the easy steps in our video to prepare their shirts to ship. They will cut their shirts, lay them out as desired, snap a picture, print the picture and order form, and pop them in the mail. Once we receive the shirts at the MemoryStitch manufacturing facility, we review the order, match the shirts to the pattern desired by the customer, and make the quilt. We finish off the quilt with an individualized tag – signed by each person who worked on creating that customer’s story, and we send it back to the customer. We follow up with each customer to ensure their full satisfaction after they receive their quilt! It is very important to us that we help people preserve their memories in this special way.
Do you have any memorable customer stories you could share with us?
One that stands out recently came from Hugh and Morgan Cheek,
“Our twin daughters, Ally and Bailey Grace, have a rare genetic mutation called HECW2. It has affected every area of their life; but recently, Bailey Grace was freed from this disease forever as she passed away on July 13th. We got the girls a joint quilt for their birthday in April, and when Bailey Grace died, I knew that I wanted to make another quilt specifically with the t-shirts that remind me of her. While they are all my favorite because they are hers, I love that I will be able to look at the, “It is Finished” square and be reminded that because of Christ and what He accomplished on the cross, Bailey Grace is no longer suffering and is safe with Him forever.”
Another great story is from Olivia Dixon:
“The quilt is a gift to myself. I graduated college last year from URI. I was super involved in Greek Life so I mixed all my URI and ZTA (Zeta Tau Alpha) shirts so that all the shirts I don’t wear could go to use and serve as daily reminders of happy memories. There is also a shirt from Bond University where I studied abroad in Gold Coast Australia. My favorite shirt is the one with angel wings on the back, one of my best friends Dominique, passed away this year and my sorority chapter made those shirts in tribute. The hand writing on the shirt where my friend passed away is actually her hand writing and her life motto she was president of our chapter when she passed and I was president before her so we were very close.”
What’s in store for the future of MemoryStitch and your own personal journey?
One of the great things about what we do here is the fact that I don’t know what tomorrow holds. If you asked me 2 years ago if I would be in the t-shirt quilting business, I would’ve laughed and said “no way!” But life has a way of changing things. I’ve learned over the years that you have to be willing to zig and zag, and the key is running a business that is more proactive than reactive. We’re working to do just that here at MemoryStitch.
In just the last 6 months, we’ve added many options and upgrades. Expect more of that in the future. The key for us is that we always stay true to ourselves, and we always remember that we are here to help our customers tell their story. Everything else is just noise. That is our one, true mission.
You can learn more or create your own quilt at MemoryStitch.com.
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