“I started sewing, then embroidery, then teaching people how to use a sewing machine out of my house,” Niles said. “It was really Friendswood moms who recommended me.”
Niles envisioned turning her home business into a studio where she could teach sewing classes and serve customers. Instead, she opened her small business off West Edgewood Drive in August 2018.
Niles is a geologist by trade, and her lack of a business background has been one of the greatest challenges for her, she said. Her background, specifically, as a paleontologist who studied elephant fossils, also inspired the name: The Sparkly Elephant Sewing Lounge.
“I liked elephants and I liked sparkly things,” Niles said.
The Sparkly Elephant Sewing Lounge offers smaller sewing projects, including monogramming and more custom work.
The business offers lessons, hosts a chapter of a quilting guild and sells sewing supplies. The shop also functions as a lounge, complete with a seating area and a Keurig.
Niles tries to stock the store with brighter fabrics and materials, which she said she hopes will help interest younger people in sewing.
“It’s not your grandma’s sewing shop,” she said.
Niles hopes to get more people interested in sewing as it is a valuable skill to have, she said. On the store’s Instagram account, she will sometimes use #MakeSewingCoolAgain,” she said.
“I just want to put it out there for people to learn something creative, new and different,” Niles said.
While the first year of business has come with its challenges, Niles has loved getting to know her customers, many of whom have become her friends.
“If you don’t dive in and do what you want, you will someday look back and regret it,” she said.
The Sparkly Elephant Sewing Lounge
301 W. Edgewood Drive, Ste. 14, Friendswood
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.