Angela — Putting her Thoughts into Actions, and Actions into Stitches
Bubbly, expressive and passionate are words that one can use to describe Angela, the boss behind Wish I Were Stitching. Angela began needlework at age 9 and her experiences in the journey of stitching was a major push factor which led her to her current path.
Angela’s Learning Experience — Doing the Stitches without Understanding the Concepts
In her earlier years, Angela sought help from teachers as she wanted to learn how to knit. However, the few teachers that Angela came across did not teach well even though they were skilful. It was disappointing as Angela was not taught the basic concepts of knitting.
“There were many terms I did not understand and I just did it (the process) because I was told to do so.”
As her learning experience was not a pleasant or beneficial one, this drove her to wanting to bring change. At the same time, she disliked the way in which some local craft shops conducted their lessons.
“They basically just ask the ‘learners’, which is an ironic term to use, to purchase the materials which are rather pricey, and then sit down and ‘teach’- by just telling them what to do. If they do not know how it (knitting) works, this would kill the interest of the students.” Angela commented.
Therefore, Angela’s personal experience compelled her to start teaching so that she could pass down the essential knowledge and skill set to her students and keep their interest towards knitting alive.
Getting Out of the ‘8am-5pm’ Routine
In fact, it was never in Angela’s plan to establish her craft business through conducting of workshops.
“Before you began, did you ever envision yourself doing this when you were young?”
“Definitely not, especially in Singapore, where a lot of emphasis is on paperwork and certificates. I still had my full- time job. I was in the office like many people. It’s like an 8am — 5pm kind of job for quite some time — in the morning going into the train and squeezing with the morning crowd, it was so pek cek [frustrating].” Over time, Angela had enough of the daily mundane routine and she decided that this was not the path she wanted to continue on. A full-time job could offer more financial stability but it also meant relatively long and fixed working hours. For Angela, it was about getting a balance between time and money. Some people value money more than time and they would not mind to just work for the money. However, Angela highly values her free time and she “just needs enough money to survive”. With this mentality, she went ahead to quit her office job and go full-time into craft workshops.
Angela received varied responses from her family on her decision to switch from a stable full-time job into pursuing her hobby. Her parents were encouraging as they knew that she was not enjoying her job and told her to ‘go ahead’. Surprisingly, it was her siblings that said that she was crazy.
On the other end of the spectrum, “the person that gave me the greatest support was my husband. He knew that I wasn’t happy, in fact he told me ‘just don’t work’.” Angela shared with us, smiling as she spoke.
When Everything Becomes Literally Hands-on for Angela
While Angela’s shop is all ready to conduct classes, she is tying up loose ends and exclaims that “there are like 20 000 things to do!”
Setting up the shop was challenging for Angela. Amusingly, she told her husband that setting up the job was even harder than having their wedding!
“For marriage, I just needed to sign the papers and — done! But for a shop, it’s really tedious and there are many things to be done — liaising and contacting.”
Angela manages the operations of the business herself but she also receives help and support from her husband. In fact, her husband’s scooter business works alongside hers in the shop.
Building Up Her Knowledge Base, Providing the Best to her Students
In the beginning, as determined as Angela was towards setting her heart on teaching, she herself was not well-exposed to the terms in knitting. Teaching was vastly different from just creating customised orders. Moving into teaching required a certain level of confidence as well since she had to impart the knowledge to her students. To ensure that she was equipped with the expertise, she did a lot of preparation work on her own. This was done through intensive research, where she studied the differences in the styles of knitting in different countries such as Germany and Japan. Angela also frequented the libraries and bookstores to gather more knowledge and to have a better understanding of relevant terminologies. Through this, Angela has built up her own knowledge base and come up with a proper lesson structure of conducting classes.
Currently, Angela has already been conducting workshops for 2 years and she has received much praises and comments from both her students as well as visitors of her website.
Once a student and now a teacher, Angela’s encouragement to all is to “Just learn, start from the basics and do it step by step. Be proactive.”
Written by Mak Yin Kar for Epikk