Whitby entrepreneur creating next generation of makers

Rebecca Munn stitches together a successful sewing business in Durham

Original Article Jan 14, 2019 by Ian McMillan  Whitby This Week

WHITBY — What do you want to do with your life?

That’s a question many young people struggle with as they plan their futures beyond high school.

But not Rebecca Munn. She knew what she wanted to do with her life at the tender age of six — sew and create beautiful garments.

Fast-forward 24 years and Munn, 30, has now stitched together quite a career for herself. She owns and operates a Whitby sewing business, giving sewing lessons to both adults and children. More than 250 students take classes with her every week.

“I can honestly say I have 25 years of experience,” she said while taking a break from her hectic schedule at a local coffee shop. Not bad for someone who is only 30.

Rebecca Munn worked at her Whitby studio on Jan. 8. The local entrepreneur teaches sewing to children and adults and recently won the Business Advisory Centre Durham’s Pitch 2 Win Business Competition. – Photos: Ryan Pfeiffer/Metroland

Munn’s passion for sewing began after watching her mother sew. Munn said she started taping things together in an attempt to mimic her mom. Before she knew it she found herself taking sewing lessons. She was just six when the lessons started, and before long Munn was making her own clothes.

“At 11, I was making overalls and jeans,” she said.

At 17, she took part in the Business Advisory Centre Durham’s (BACD) Summer Company program, which was a turning point for her. Not only did it foster her love of sewing but it sparked two new passions: business and mentoring. She said the program helped her become a teacher and a proprietor.

“I love what they (BACD) do and what they stand for,” Munn said.

Soon afterwards Munn found herself operating her own business, something she said she owes to the BACD, which gave her the knowledge and confidence to be successful.

She also won the BACD’s Pitch2Win business competition last fall. The idea behind the competition was to give small businesses an opportunity to perfect their pitch and use this new, improved elevator pitch in the real world to help increase sales. Applicants went through pitch training with BACD’s business advisers and got advice from a professional coach.

With the competition now behind her, Munn’s schedule has never been busier. Through her website, www.rebeccamunn.com, young and old alike register to take sewing lessons at her Whitby studio. She has a six-month waiting list for clients, and one of her goals in 2019 is to secure a second studio and hire two seamstresses to help teach her classes. She’s also busy creating her own sewing curriculum, which she hopes to complete this year before launching it across Canada.

“My goal is exposure,” she said. “I want more people to find out about sewing.” Because once they get hooked, “it’s a great feeling.”

Munn said she’s proud of her accomplishments to date and even happier that through her sewing lessons and mentorship she’s helped 26 businesses get their start.

“I’ve always been a believer in helping others succeed first,” she said. “I’m helping create the next level of makers.”

For more information or to register for sewing lessons, visit www.rebeccamunn.com

Business facts:
Business: www.rebeccamunn.com
Studio address: 20 Jamieson Crescent, Whitby
Phone: 289-600-7528