It all started nine years ago with a Mardi Gras alligator wearing a jester hat, and now Jeanne Rillieux of Destrehan said her idea of selling embroidery has exceeded her wildest expectations.
“I’m very appreciate for the people of St. Charles Parish,” she said. “I’m born and raised here, and I love the community. I’m happy to be able to bring them products that put a smile on their faces.”
Rillieux started her business Stitch Nola nine years ago shortly after the birth of her son. Upon returning to work after maternity leave and medical complications, she was frustrated with how hard it was to get off of work for her son’s important occasions.
“I thought, ‘I want to have flexibility in my schedule and so I can be there for my child,’” she remembers. “On a whim I told my husband I wanted to try embroidery, so I got me a single needle machine and learned on how to use it from Youtube.”
The success was almost immediate.
“Within one month we couldn’t keep up,” she said. “I bought my first 10 needle machine in February of 2014 and by March 2014 I had bought a second one.”
Rillieux continued to find success on Facebook and Etsy, and in 2017 her products found a national stage when her baby monogrammed Converse were featured as a top 10 best baby gear item on the Today show.
“That was unexpected,” she said. “It aired and all of a sudden all of these sales started coming in on my website. It was so intense and then it stopped. But then it started happening again, and what we didn’t realize at the time was that the show was rolling into all these different time zones.”
Rillieux now owns six 10 needle embroidery machines, and two years ago she expanded her business to include printing directly onto garments. For the first five years she ran Stitch Nola out of her home, and four years ago she started manning the operation from a rented space in Destrehan.
On Nov. 1 of this year Rillieux opened the doors of that shop to the public, where she sells her creations as well as a bevy of other gift items such as candles, Crescent City Swoon bath bombs, Glitter Over Nola glitter products, and jewelry. She said she is interested in adding products made by local companies before expanding into other offerings.
The storefront is located at 8 Storehouse Lane Suite B in Destrehan, and store hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Rillieux employees five people now, and said she is happy to provide flexible employment to moms like herself.
“The people of St. Charles Parish … they’re amazing,” she said. “This is not just a job to me. I love what I do and the people that I meet. I’ve built so many friendships and I just love watching people’s children grow. It’s just amazing how supportive people are. I’m so appreciative of that.”
Rillieux took a chance on starting something new, and that chance paid off – Stitch Nola just topped 31,000 sales on Etsy.
“It’s the most amazing feeling … first of all I have to thank God for all of this and my husband who supported me and helped me build this business,” she said. “And now I have this amazing staff I couldn’t do it without. The last two years have been incredible and I’m just so thankful, because I just don’t even know how we got here.”
For more information on Stitch Nola visit www.stitchnola.com.