It’s a month for a triple celebration for Stitchery Stories embroidery and textile art podcast.
I remember hitting record on my very first Stitchery Stories episode with a deep breath and a big gulp…. and actually felt like having not only a gulp of oxygen but a big gulp of wine too. But like anything else, once you get going you forget about all that and find enjoyment in the moment, the challenge, and the delight of chatting with a fellow embroidery enthusiast or textile art pro. And therefore Stitchery Stories was born.
I think it was around April 2017 when I tentatively recorded my first few interviews with local Yorkshire embroidery friends who were willing guinea pigs in my seemingly madcap scheme. It took another couple of months to pluck up courage to actually publish them and make the podcast live. I had ZERO AUDIENCE for anything to do with textile art, although it is my hobby and I know a lot of people through it.
The next surprise was how quickly it spread around the world. And how quickly I had featured in the Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) Top200. It was exciting watching the podcast and its episodes dance in and out of the charts. Who would have thought it eh? My professional career started at the Nissan car factory in Sunderland, UK as a mainframe computer programmer, and here I was hosting a growing globally popular podcast featuring lighthearted chats with textile artists, and laughing about embroidery!
I put a lot of effort into planning my show, working out the format, organising the logistics, designing the artwork. I did everything myself. Everything was done after careful thought and strategy, and anyone that knows me well knows how much effort I put into anything I do ‘cos I am always driven to do a ‘proper job’ as we say here in Yorkshire. Of course I had done a lot of studying and learning around podcasting and was offering specialist podcast services at the time so I knew what I was doing, but I really felt like I was taking a leap in the dark.
An aspect of the podcast that I really focused on was ease.
Easy for me to organise, execute and produce.
Easy for my guests to participate.
Easy for my listeners to listen to.
But even with all that in place, it takes me around 8 hours work per episode, from finding guests to the final sharing on social media. Regular listeners will know that I often struggle to get everything done. I started off with weekly episodes, then stopped over the summer holidays, then back to weekly, then decided after 18 months that I really needed to produce an episode once per fortnight. That gives me a bit of breathing space.
So although the self-acclaimed ‘podcasting gurus’ would denigrate my efforts at not releasing an episode every week for 3 years, I don’t think it matters. I have produced enough episodes regularly enough to attract a loyal and interested audience. I guess you are one of them, ‘cos here you are, reading this! When I apologise to you all for not getting an episode out you all say ‘we are eagerly waiting but don’t stress ‘cos we are looking forward to the next one and anyway, we can always go back and listen to some of the older episodes again!’
That’s what happens when your audience love what you do and support you whilst you are doing it.
And that’s what keeps me going. Knowing that so many people really enjoy what I am creating and look forward to the next one.
And this podcast has also been a catalyst for me to shift the focus of my business towards creating online courses specifically designed for textile artists and embroidery artists. It’s a perfect space for me to fill, and judging by the enthusiastic emails I have received when I have mentioned my new business focus, it’s a much needed focus too.
There are over 1,000,000 podcasts in existence now. So I feel so pleased at how Stitchery Stories continues to grow.
So I am celebrating being in production for 3 years – so many podcasts fade away after just a few episodes.
Celebrating having interviewed 100 guests YAY.
And also amazed that 150,000 people have listened to the podcast over that time.
One final celebration is that somewhere in the world, every day, Stitchery Stories can typically be found in the Apple Podcasts Top200 charts in the Visual Arts category. Just the other day I saw that in the UK Visual Arts chart, Stitchery Stories is listed in the Top60 ‘all-time best-sellers’. I am super ‘chuffed’ at that.
As creators we are often reluctant to ‘toot our own horn’, but, honestly, today I am tooting like mad!
Thank you for listening and joining me in this exciting journey of adventure and personal discovery.
p.s. what do you think I am drinking in that mug???????