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Tess Poe

  • Tess Poe, owner of Beehive Sewing Center in Northampton, Friday, Feb. 15.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tess Poe, owner of Beehive Sewing Center in Northampton, Friday, Feb. 15.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tess Poe, right, owner of Beehive Sewing Center, helps Laura Summers with a project Friday, Feb. 15.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tess Poe, right, owner of Beehive Sewing Center, helps Laura Summers with a project Friday, Feb. 15.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tess Poe, right, owner of Beehive Sewing Center, helps Laura Summers with a project Friday, Feb. 15.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tess Poe, right, owner of Beehive Sewing Center, helps Laura Summers with a project Friday, Feb. 15.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tess Poe, owner of Beehive Sewing Center in Northampton, Friday, Feb. 15.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tess Poe, right, owner of Beehive Sewing Center, helps Laura Summers with a project Friday, Feb. 15.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tess Poe, right, owner of Beehive Sewing Center, helps Laura Summers with a project Friday, Feb. 15.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

Job title and company: Founder, Beehive Sewing Studio and Workspace LLC, 271 Pleasant St., Northampton

Age: 37

Your duties: Strategic planning, financing, marketing, programming, administration, sewing — everything!

How did you land your job? I founded the company after 17 years of working in the public and private sectors, first as a fundraiser and communications professional with several international nonprofits, then as a planning and economic development researcher with federal, regional and municipal agencies.

What’s most challenging about your work? Trying to plan and develop a solid longer-term business strategy while carrying out immediate day-to-day tasks, like winding bobbins.

What do you like about your job? Having the freedom to implement my ideas, realize my business vision, and be creative with fabric every day

What is your key to success? Staying positive, viewing the business as an experiment and being willing to hear advice and opinions from a variety of sources.

How do you feel the Valley economy will fare this year? Anecdotally, retail and service businesses in downtown Northampton appear to be hiring more vigorously than in prior years, and I’m hopeful that residents and tourists will continue to shift some portion of their disposable incomes towards “experiences” like sewing.

Why did you choose to do business in the Valley? I’d like to grow my company into one that serves markets throughout the Valley and New England, and the Northampton area is a very supportive place to make an entrepreneurial investment. Having lived and worked in major metropolitan areas (namely Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston), I wanted to establish my first business in a place where I could access very smart and progressive people and helpful business resources.

Who has helped mentor you professionally? I’ve tried to learn from all my prior managers in government and in consulting. A former graduate professor and now dean at UMass was a terrific mentor in the fields of economic development and regional planning.

Name a few of your goals for the coming year: To create at least one quality job for Valley residents (but hopefully several), to connect in a meaningful way with similar businesses around the country (there are about 13 sewing studios similar to Beehive in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.), and to provide a unique and meaningful sewing experience for people interested in a creative outlet (or those who just need to hem some pants).

Tell us a little-known fact about you: I spent several years in Washington at the International Campaign for Tibet, working closely with some very special Tibetan leaders — a seminal experience. The Tibet issue remains very important to me.

What is your advice for others seeking business success? Listen closely when others provide advice; valuable ideas may come from unexpected sources. Also, connect genuinely and meaningfully with customers, clients, vendors and others. Success is intimately tied to the strength of your professional and personal relationships.

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