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Sewcialite


“Find something that fills your cup…and do it!”
…The Sewcialite Story

It’s 3:30 am in Greenland, New Hampshire; a quaint, small New England community of a little over 4,000 folks. Greenland is located just off I-95 near the shores of the 6,000+ acre Great Bay tidal estuary, about five miles southwest of Portsmouth and only a short eight-mile drive to nearby Wallis Sands Beach on the New Hampshire coast.

At 3:30 am most “Greenlanders” are tucked in bed and able to enjoy another few more hours of sleep before the alarm goes off. But not at the home of Roula and Pete Rallis. There you’re likely to see lights on in the guest bedroom, the kitchen and even the dining room. That’s because the Rallis home is also the home of Sewcialite, an online Etsy store featuring a beautiful collection of Roula’s hand-made, artisanal designs that her growing community of customers can’t seem to get enough of.

And Roula? Well, in those wee hours of the morning while her husband and two young daughters are still asleep, she’s usually busy back and forth between those rooms designing, creating, marketing, posting new product photos on her Etsy site and social media as well as fulfilling customer orders.

Roula Rallis hand sewing another product for Sewcialite

So why 3:30 am? “I work full time as a Senior Project Manager in Information Technology with another firm. Sewcialite is really a sideline business. It’s my passion”, says Roula. So, I’m up long before dawn and work on Sewcialite until around 6:30 am. Then I put on my “mom” hat to help my girls get ready for their day before putting on my full time corporate hat. Fortunately, my husband is my biggest supporter in this enterprise. And my daughters are happy to join in when I need extra help.”

And why the name Sewcialite for her Etsy business? “I love to sew and I love to be social. I also love puns,” she admits. “Sewcialite actually began as a hobby that turned into a business. I first used the name briefly back in 2009 but had to put it on hold while taking a creative break to start my family. Sewcialite—as you see it today on my Etsy store—became a real online business in 2017.” “You could say that Sewcialite is my creative outlet,” Roula continues. “My corporate job is very structured and analytical with several management layers. But, with Sewcialite, it’s amazing to be my own boss and create things that I love, that make my customers feel good and feel beautiful.”

OK, so Sewcialite is technically just a sideline boutique business. But, to look at Roula’s Etsy store site (www.etsy.com/shop/sewcialite) and peruse her 83 hand-crafted products within a dozen distinctive product categories, you have to marvel that she continuously keeps her line fresh, innovative and “made to order”. Yes…much of what Roula sells are custom, made-to-order items. And we’re talking about everything from handbags, to earrings, wall art, coasters, table settings, towels, bowls, planters, stationary and more.

A collection of handmade products for sale on Sewcialite’s Etsy page

Consequently, customer satisfaction seems to be the consistent hallmark of Sewcialite. As her own brand ambassador, the name, Roula, (of Greek origin and pronounced Roo-La) has become synonymous with her Etsy, Instagram and TikTok followers. And, with nearly 1900 online followers and a steady 5-star Etsy customer rating, it’s no wonder she receives customer reviews like this, “Love the item…exactly as pictured. However, the picture does no justice…it is even more beautiful in person! Item arrived pretty quick as well!”

By marrying her love affair with seashells, sewing, hand-painting, beading, fashion, home decor and artistic design, Roula has managed to turn her “hobby” into an impressive small business that has attracted media attention, major brand exposure and celebrity customers. “I was excited to be featured in Yankee Magazine in July 2020. I even had an actress on an NBC program start following me on social media. As a show of gratitude, I sent her a custom tote bag with a hand beaded lighthouse. And she was gracious enough to share it in her stories,” Roula notes.

Handbag crafted for Sewcialite

“Draper James featured one of my designs on their Instagram page last year which resulted in 100 orders. That was totally unexpected. Then, this past summer, I had a friend of a celebrity reach out to me to have me design something custom for their bridal shower. The design I created was 120 hand painted seashells for the table setting. I also made the bride-to-be a hand beaded pair of white knot earrings as a special gift gesture. In addition, my friend also ordered my seashell note cards as gifts for the guests,” Roula adds.

Hand painted shells with fresh flowers for a table setting

“Brand recognition is ALWAYS a ‘pinch me’ moment”, she confesses when realizing that the public at large has become familiar with her name and line. “This past summer I had a customer purchase a custom beaded bag for a bride who was having a black-tie wedding in Newport, Road Island. The customer also sent me a picture of the bride opening the bag at her bridal shower. And the bride was so excited with the gift that, after the wedding, she sent me pictures of herself wearing and using the bag.”

“I’ve even had customers send me pictures of zoom calls, where they see a fellow co-worker wearing my earrings,” she continues. And I have other customers who will be out somewhere and see someone carrying one of my designs and will send me a message or picture. Honestly, I’m always humbled and grateful for my community each time I see that they’ve shared my creations and my story on social media.”

To have reached this level of Etsy sales success and brand recognition, you’d think that Roula has a strong marketing background with experience in branding as well as training in photography and social media. But actually, this was a whole new venture for her. “I do have a business background and an MBA degree, but I had no real experience in sales or marketing. There were many lessons I learned along the way on how best to use social media and Etsy to market myself. I guess you could call it ‘gorilla marketing’. When I first started and didn't have many sales under my belt, it was very challenging to get my name out there. There was quite a bit of rejection. I was also learning product photography and editing plus building my brand esthetic,” Roula notes.

Learning how to photograph and showcase her line for Etsy and social media presentation seems to have come as natural for Roula as her creative design talents. And one of her favorite backdrops for photography has been her Westminster Teak outdoor dining pieces. “This past summer Pete and I completed a major backyard renovation. We had two patios, a pergola, stone walls and a standing fireplace installed. We especially wanted to purchase teak furnishings for those areas. So, my husband got busy researching different sources for teak. He’s the researcher. He researches everything,” she emphasizes.

Horizon Table and dining chairs under a pergola gazebo

“We didn’t want to buy cheap, off-the-shelf retail chain store products that were poorly made and wouldn’t last. We wanted something that was quality, that could handle our harsh, New England winters and that would stand the test of time. So, when Pete found Westminster Teak, he said, ‘Wow, this company is amazing. We have to buy from them!’ So, we ended up purchasing patio and dining table sets from Westminster Teak. Their products are beautiful and very well made. They’re also totally coastal looking. So, they fit both our lifestyle and my business setting. And I like taking various product shots using their tables as the photo setting,” she adds.

Roula Rallis setting a Horizon teak table with hand woven placemats

So, where do all of her design ideas come from? Mostly, it’s her own imagination and her passion for creating beautiful things. But she is the first to acknowledge that her customers, social media followers and other artists are a great source for new designs. She considers all input as part of a larger collaboration with her community. “For example, I had one customer ask if I’d ever tried beading my sea shells on handbags. I said, ‘No. But I will.’ So, I got 100 shells to start with. But then I thought that they looked sorta plain. So, I decided to paint them; something I’d never tried before. Well, they turned out beautifully. And that led to me putting painted shells into various art prints, towels, spreads and so on.” Roula says.

Roula Rallis hand painting seashells

To put her entrepreneurial leap of faith into perspective, Roula wasn’t just fresh out of college and beginning to blaze a trail in business when she began Sewcialite. She was already working full time in the corporate world, in the midst of helping to raise a young family with her husband, Pete, and just turning age 37. That was five years ago and she’s going stronger than ever.

Apparently, that spirit of “going for it” is the result of a strong genetic trait, as Roula explains, “I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My family has always only owned small businesses. So I’ve seen both the upside and the downside of owning and running your own business. It can sometimes be feast or famine.”

Given that upbringing, Roula is also keenly aware of the risks inherent in running a small, cottage industry. So, she’s well-grounded in appreciating the security provided by her corporate position while also indulging her creative passion for growing Sewcialite and her community of customers. “It’s quite a balancing act. And I’m always mindful of trying to maintain that balance,” she adds.

Looking ahead, Roula plans to keep Sewcialite a small, intimate creative business inspired by both her followers and the next idea. “One day I hope to be able to collaborate with a national brand where I can combine my art with their products. And, of course, I would also love to be featured in another major magazine,” she admits. “But I don’t want to lose the authenticity of my line being artisanal, handmade-in-New England designs. My customers return because of the quality of my pieces. Plus, they love that I try new mediums and I am always creating new designs.”

As for her ‘life message’ to her daughters and other women with that entrepreneurial spirit, “It’s never too late to invest your time and energy into what inspires you. And it’s never too late to learn. It only takes one idea. You can start small, be small and be very successful. Many people don't ever start because they are afraid of failing. But honestly, it is by working through failure that I have found success. For me, it’s always been…Find something that fills your cup…and then do it!”

Sewcialite logo - Modern Coastal Accessories Handmade in New Hampshire



If you would like to be featured in a trade story feature editorial, then please contact us.

-Story by Steve York, York & Company



 




 
The Fine Print

·Additional 5% Off Lowest Sale Price for First Responders, Veterans, and Current Military, subject to verification of service. First Responders Please Use Promo Code THANKYOU5 and include organization & position in "Order Comments" field when checking out. | Veterans and Active Duty Military please use Promo Code VETERAN5 and state Branch, Grade & Discharge Classification (if applicable) in "Order Comments" field when checking out.

·Promo Codes are nontransferable and cannot be combined with other promotions or discounts, nor applied to past purchases or future deliveries.

·NOTE: Our inventory is shown in REAL-TIME. If an item is in stock it will say "In Stock: Ships in 24 to 72 hours". If an item is currently out of stock then the restock date will be shown when you click on a product and view the product's details. For example: "Ships on or about 02/01/24". If there is no restock date shown in the product details then the status will show "Ships in 4 to 6 months" at which that is the best estimate when that product will arrive to you after ordering.

·Due to the current COVID-19 situation we are taking precautions as advised by healthcare officials and are operating our warehouses in a sanitary environment. We are disinfecting our showrooms, shipments and tools, regularly. Our showrooms are open, however appointments are recommended. Please call 888-592-8325 or click here to schedule an appointment.

·Shipping is calculated within Continental USA. Additional Shipping Charges, Duties & applicable taxes may apply when shipping outside the Continental USA.
·Additional charges may apply for White Glove Delivery services for locations that are not within close proximity to delivery terminals. White Glove Delivery does not apply to special Made to Order items such as cushions, umbrella fabrics or furniture covers.
·Please allow extra time for White Glove Delivery.
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·SITEWIDE Sale may not include Spectra Umbrellas, Care & Maintenance products, MTO furniture covers and finishes.
·Prices can change suddenly and without notice due to inventory and supply shortages.
·Additional Exclusions may apply

White Glove Delivery

White Glove Services include unpackaging, assembly and placement of furniture as well as removal and disposal of all packaging material. It does not include any custom work that may need to be done to assure a fit to the desired location.


In stock cushions and umbrella fabrics will be included with White Glove Services. Made to order cushions and umbrella fabrics are shipped separately via UPS and are not applicable to White Glove Services.


  • Please allow 3-6 weeks for White Glove Services.
  • Non-White Glove, Standard Delivery is 2-7 days.
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Receive Additional 5% OFF
Westminster Teak salutes and honors veterans, military and first responders by offering a 5% additional discount to all personnel and their spouses. Please confirm and enter the following information into the comments section during checkout:

Military:
  • Branch of Service
  • Rank
  • Honorable Discharge
Use promo code VETERAN5

The term "veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

First Responders:
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  • Position
Use promo code THANKYOU5

The term "first responder" is a person with specialized training who is among the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident, natural disaster, or terrorism. First responders typically include law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMT's and firefighters.

In Stock: Ships in 24-72 hours

Shipping within 24-72 hrs applies only for Standard Delivery within the Continental USA. Does not include Made To Order Cushions or furniture purchased with a finish. It also does not include any other special Deliveries including White Glove. Shipments are on business days only. No Shipments on USA holidays or weekends.

Renees

RENEE’S in Mattituck is the premier fashion and furnishings retailer on the East End of Long Island. As a third-generation family business offering men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, and home furnishings and accessories, RENEE’S is in touch with new looks and changing trends. Impeccable customer service elevates your North Fork shopping experience.

Renee's
10095 Main Road
Mattituck, NY 11952
reneesmattituck.com

Renee's
National Marine Suppliers

National Marine Suppliers is a worldwide yacht support group providing their customers with exceptional service and industry-leading reliability.

National Marine Suppliers
2800 South West 2nd Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
https://nationalmarine.com/

National Marine Suppliers
Twisted Elements

International Market Square is the largest home and commercial interior design marketplace in the Upper Midwest. Open to both the home/commercial design community and the public, visitors are invited to explore our more than sixty showrooms, studios, shops, galleries, restaurants and other distinct amenities.

Twisted Elements
International Market Square
275 Market St
Minneapolis, MN 55405
1-612-305-0456
http://twisted-elements.com/

Twisted Elements
Gorsuch

Luxury resort-ready fashion and accessories from ski to sea

Gorsuch
263 E Gore Creek Dr
Vail, CO 81657

https://www.gorsuch.com

Gorsuch
Westminster Teak California, Inc.
Westminster Teak California, Inc.
1350 S. State College Blvd
Anaheim, Orange County
CA 92806

1-888-592-8325 Ext 1 - Sales
1-714-776-0057

Westminster Teak California, Inc.
Cox Pools (Destin, FL)

Cox Pools is a family owned business that has been serving Northwest Florida for more than 50 years, since 1958. With their specialized crews they have the experience and knowledge to build the pool of your dreams!

Cox Pools
36074 Emerald Coast Parkway
Destin, FL 32541
1-850-650-9138
http://www.coxpools.com

Cox Pools
Cox Pools (Panama City, FL)

Cox Pools is a family owned business that has been serving Northwest Florida for more than 50 years, since 1958. With their specialized crews they have the experience and knowledge to build the pool of your dreams!

Cox Pools
12216 Panama City Beach Pkwy
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
1-850-235-7957
http://www.coxpools.com

Cox Pools
Summer House Lifestyle

Summer House Lifestyle is a lifestyle boutique located in Uptown Grayton in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Their store offers a beautiful selection of bedding, lighting, furnishings, artwork, children’s gifts and accessories for the home.

Summer House Lifestyle
57 Uptown Grayton Circle
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
1-850-231-0133
http://www.summerhouselifestyle.com

Summer House Lifestyle
Marco Island Furniture & Design
Marco Island Furniture & Design
713 Bald Eagle Drive
Marco Island, FL 34145
2399704095
http://www.marcoislandfurnitureanddesign.com

Premium Outdoor Products LLC
Premium Outdoor Products LLC
16215 State Road 50
Clermont, FL 34711
https://www.premium-outdoorproducts.com