We Southerners hold many things near and dear to our hearts, and a classic monogram is definitely high on the list. For Mackensie Heath, founder and owner of Sew Sweet by Mackensie, this is especially true, as she has made it her mission to bring a personal touch to children’s garments through hand embroidery. We spoke with Heath to discover more about her business and why she’s so passionate about monograms.
1. What is your professional background? How did you get into the retail field?
I am a full-time middle school teacher at The Dunham School. I have been sewing or stitching in some form since I was a young girl (both of my grandmothers taught me how to stitch). Some of my fondest memories from my childhood involve practicing needlepoint/cross-stitch/embroidery with my grandmothers.
2. What inspired you to start Sew Sweet by Mackensie?
In April of 2020 at the height of lockdown, I needed a quick birthday present for a close friend’s daughter (shout out to Elizabeth and Ann McCutchen). I had a brand-new gingham dress, but I didn’t have anywhere to get it embroidered or monogrammed. I drew on a vintage Mike the Tiger design, hand-embroidered the dress with a needle and thread, and hoped she would like it. I’ll never forget when I tossed it out my car window at the drive-thru birthday party and Elizabeth said, “Mackensie! You know people are always looking for hand-embroidery, right?” And Sew Sweet by Mackensie was born.
3. When did your store launch, and how has it grown or changed since then?
Sew Sweet really took off from the time I launched it in May 2020. Because I am a full-time teacher, I consider Sew Sweet my “professional hobby.” I quickly discovered that my friend was right; moms are looking for quality hand embroidery, and it can be quite difficult to find locally. My range of services has greatly expanded, too. Originally, I was stitching children’s clothing items. Now I work closely with each client to create a custom one-of-a-kind piece with each order.
4. What sets your business apart?
My attention to detail and close relationships with my clients set my business apart. Lots of clients want a classic look when adding embroidery to their children’s clothes. Hand embroidery offers a much softer look than machine embroidery. Delicate items like heirloom clothing and handkerchiefs require much more detailed and intricate stitching than usual.
5. What is your day-to-day like?
I teach at The Dunham School during the school year, which keeps me very busy. I have two young children, Shepard (5) and Rosemary (3), who also keep me on my toes. My favorite time to stitch is after my children have gone to sleep—it’s just a relaxing way for me to unwind and decompress while being productive at the same time. Depending on the number of clients on my waitlist at the time, I usually stitch anywhere from 2 to 3 hours in the evening.
6. What would you say is your overall style at Sew Sweet by Mackensie?
Two words: classic and custom. Hand embroidery is a lost art. Many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers embroidered clothing items in the past. It brings a timeless look to many children’s clothing styles. With hand embroidery, I am also able to provide clients with a one-of-a-kind piece that perfectly fits their needs. For example, I love to embroider birthday outfits that coordinate with the invitations and décor of a party. Using samples of handwriting on handkerchiefs has also been very meaningful for some of my clients after a loved one has passed.
7. What are some of your favorite items in your shop right now?
I have had a lot of fun recently making hand-embroidered bows for the back-to-school season. I make each bow by hand and then embroider a custom design on the ribbon. I also love stitching heirloom baptism gowns. It is special to embroider the names of the different generations who have all been baptized in the same piece.
8. What is the number one thing you think people should know about your shop?
Sew Sweet by Mackensie is a locally owned small business. I embroider each piece with painstaking attention to detail and customization. Stitching with a single needle and thread by hand allows for a very personal touch.
9. Can you share a hint about what customers may see in the future?
I will be selling my Christmas bows in a local children’s boutique in Baton Rouge (more info on that closer to the holidays). I will be offering lots of designs and customization options, though I’ll always love making a custom bow to match your child’s favorite outfits.
10. How can customers find Sew Sweet by Mackensie?
The easiest way to find me is on Facebook or Instagram. If you have a piece that you would like hand-embroidered, it is best to reach out as early as possible. My waitlist fills up quickly, especially during the holidays.