This NJ Mom Turned a Therapeutic Pastime Into an Empowering Business

Embroidery Babes offers custom hand-stitched bags and baby gifts, as well as connection-minded workshops for women.

Embroidery Babes founder Michelle Fleischer with one of her custom totes

Embroidery Babes founder Michelle Fleischer with one of her custom totes. Photo: Fox Images Photography

In need of an outlet during a difficult time, Haworth mom Michelle Fleischer picked up an embroidery needle and not only stitched herself out of depression, but eventually into a new business.

“I miscarried two days after my birthday, and it was devastating,” Fleischer says, explaining that sharing stories is one of the most rewarding parts of Embroidery Babes, her stitch-and-sip company that sells custom-embroidered designs and offers hands-on workshops.

Before becoming a mom to her first child, Gavin, in 2016, Fleischer, who grew up in Tenafly, worked as a corporate trainer in retail marketing. “As a person who likes control, when I couldn’t get pregnant again on my own, it was hard because it was out of my hands,” she says. Fleischer and her husband, Scott, began in vitro fertilization treatments in 2020, but were sidelined by the pandemic shutdown.

“I just had to do something, so I started painting. I’d always been a crafter, so then I bought an embroidery kit online and found it therapeutic and just kept doing it.”

As the pandemic waned, Fleischer became pregnant with her second child, a girl. She decided to use her stitching skills to update her son’s baby clothes for his new sister.

“Before long, people were noticing the pieces I made and asking where I got them,” Fleischer says. “I made an Instagram account and started getting orders.” She personalizes items for customers and sells her own hand-stitched bags, bandannas, baby gifts and more.

A natural teacher, she wanted to share her self-care skill with others and began holding the stitch-and-sip workshops. “It’s like a paint-and-sip, only with embroidery. After all, how many paintings of a sunset do you need?” she laughs. The beauty of the stitch-and-sip, Fleischer says, is it’s an opportunity for women (men are welcome, too) to connect, whether they are struggling with a challenge like infertility or just need a night out.

Embroidery Babes workshops are held everywhere from breweries to retail stores and charity functions. Events cost around $75 per person (alcohol is usually extra, depending on the venue), and include an embroidery kit with a hoop, threads and stencils. Most people leave the two-hour workshop with a finished product.

“I just felt so alone when I was going through infertility,” Fleischer says. “ I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. This business gives women a place to support each other and share their stories.”

Follow Embroidery Babes on Instagram and Facebook.

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