Solo mum stitches life back together
A New Plymouth seamstress has stitched herself a rags to riches story.
Solo mother of two Lee Mancer, 48, moved to New Plymouth from Auckland four years ago to start anew and pursue her calling.
After walking away from an abusive relationship, she went on the unemployment benefit. She had no qualifications to her name other than a knack for sewing.
She arrived in New Plymouth and set up her business Le-Stitch-It in the garage of her Carrington St rental and hoped for the best.
"I set up a till and sewing machine and tried to look as professional as possible," Ms Mancer said.
When she first put signs up she wasn't sure if she had the confidence to pull it off.
"I pushed myself to do better by just telling myself you can do it and the customers have actually given me the confidence."
Most her work was for clothing repairs, curtains and upholstery, she said. Customer satisfaction was always her main priority.
"If I can do the work quickly and efficiently then they'll come back."
The business blossomed so she decided to relocate to 328 Devon St East where she now lives with her teenage daughters.
This move saw her develop into a true entrepreneur.
She earns supplementary income through subletting the building, hosting boarders and renting out surrounding carparks.
The abundance of free parking around the building drew in customers both new and old, she said.
Now she had big plans to grow the business.
"My ultimate dream is to buy this building."
An average day saw about 20 customers through the door either picking up or dropping off, she said.
"Since I've moved here I'm definitely earning more."
Le-Stitch-It was now so busy she would soon look to employ extra help, she said.
"I'm positive I'm just going to keep growing."
Sewing is in the blood for Ms Mancer. Both her mum and step- mum made clothes for her during her childhood, and she had sewn for as long as she could remember.
"I've been around sewing ever since I was born.
"It's the only thing I was good at school," Ms Mancer said.
After leaving school at 14 years old she worked in a clothing factory making school uniforms.
She attributes her recent success to sheer determination.
"I put it down to wanting to get somewhere."
Taranaki Daily News