Photo Credit: Rachel Gomez
Fabric Bliss is a fitting name for the cutesy boutique located at 828 Santa Fe Drive. This gem of a business offers a variety of classes and machinery to help encourage Denverites to get crafty and channel their creativity by working with their hands. Aurora Sisneros, master crafter and owner of Fabric Bliss, says her “goal is to inspire people when they walk in the door.” And that is exactly how I felt after visiting the shop and interviewing Aurora about what motivated her to start the business.
1. Fabric Bliss offers everything a “do-it-yourself” crafter could want in a local boutique. You’re a fabric store, yarn shop, sewing studio and knit lounge all in one; but what exactly is “a knit lounge?” What all do you do here?
You’re actually sitting in it. The knit lounge is a gathering space for people who want to sit and do handwork— like knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and tatting (i.e. a method of knotting lace that’s mostly used for trimming on clothes).
2. How long has Fabric Bliss been in business and inspired you to open your own store?
We’ve been open for a year. Prior to that, I had zero knowledge of the fabric and yarn industry - my background is actually in IT! I was an Oracle Database Administrator for eleven years and there is zero creativity in that job, plus a lot of stress. I found myself crafting in my free time to de-stress from that job. Then it occurred to me there were a lot of other people in my position, so I decided to open shop and offer crafting classes during weekday nights and weekends when most “nine-to-five-ers” are off work.
3. What attracted you to the Santa Fe Art District and what do you enjoy most about this area?
I liked the Art District because it was up-and-coming and it seemed like there was a lot of opportunity here. Most importantly, it’s a creative environment, which reflects our business goal and mission here at Fabric Bliss.
4. In your eyes, what sets Fabric Bliss apart from big corporate stores like JoAnn’s or Michaels?
Customer service. We’re experts in the craft and passionate about it. We enjoy giving free advice and helping people work through projects they’re stuck on. Our goal is to inspire people when they walk in the door. If you’re new to crafting and you walk into JoAnn’s, both the store and task you set out to achieve can seem overwhelming. Employees at bigger stores can’t spend a lot of time with you because there’s a bigger shopper to worker ratio in bigger stores like that. Not all of their employees are experts in sewing or knitting either, so oftentimes people’s questions don’t get fully answered.
5. I know you support local artists and handmade goods by selling them in your store. Even during the recession have you found the community receptive to buying small, luxury and handmade items?
Yes, people really like giving unique gifts they can’t find elsewhere at a generic store like Walmart. There’s also a big movement towards buying local. People are eager to support businesses and others in their communities to help keep money flowing locally.
6. Okay, tell me about this gigantic, sexy shoe in your window display (shown below). Did you make that?
Unfortunately, I can’t claim responsibility for that - my mom is in charge of my window displays. I hope to have gotten one-eighth of her creativity but her originality is limitless! When I told her the Yves San Laurent (YSL) Retrospecive Exhibit was coming to the Denver Art Museum, and that I wanted to support it with YSL inspired designs in the store, she just went to town and created the shoe display. That’s YSL’s “Mohawk shoe” and the other display is a replica of one of YSL’s dresses.
7. Very cool! So, if you could only choose one of the following three activities to focus on, which would you choose? Sewing, knitting or crocheting?
Sewing. I feel like knitting and crocheting are just as creative, but I get more immediate satisfaction from sewing. My middle name isn’t “patience” so I get more self-gratification in seeing a finished product in a matter of hours as opposed to days or weeks.
8. Can you name three artists, homemakers or crafters who inspire you? For example – whose blogs or websites do you follow?
My Mom definitely inspires me the most. She even made my wedding dress! I follow about 300 blogs to help keep my pulse on what’s happening in the craft world. A few of my favorites include Sew Liberated which has great tutorials and is a good source of inspiration. HowAboutOrange is a good resource because Jessica Jones is not just a fabric and ribbon designer, she’s a general craft addict – so her posts are incredibly inspiring and the photography is fantastic too. It’s nice to see somebody else who is completely and frequently distracted by new creative outlets —be it paint, paper, fabric, yarn or other mediums. If it looks fun to put together, she’ll do it and that’s
9. You try to create a welcoming, entertaining and comfortable space for people to craft – a sort of “home-away-from-home” feel in your store. People can even host private parties, take private lessons or pop in and craft freely at an hourly rate with full access to your machinery. Are you open during First Fridays too?
Oh, yes. You wouldn’t believe how often people come in and exclaim, ‘Oh my gosh – I came here for the Art Walk but I sew!” I actually sell a lot of fabric on First Fridays. Another common thing people confess is “Oh, I haven’t sewn in years….” but a cool fabric will catch their eye so they end up buying a new fabric or material and are inspired to sew again. It’s so cool!
10. Well before we wrap up here, what else would you like people to know about Fabric Bliss?
That our whole mission is simply to inspire people; to satisfy that piece of them that wants to make something with their own hands. We encourage people who may be intimidated by learning how to use a sewing machine or learning how to knitting. Which is very simple really and here at Fabric Bliss, there’s a whole team of to support you. You won’t ever have a question unanswered after coming here.