Things have been so mad-crazy-busy here at Stitch Central over the last couple of months that it seems forever since I’ve had a chance to write a post of my own for the Stitch blog. (It’s been just over 3 months, in fact. I checked.)
Where does all the time go?
Thankfully Jackie and Sandy (Stitch’s resident Super-Powered Community Manager and Travel Coordinator, respectively) do an amazing job of writing interesting and relevant articles for you to read, and we’ve got a growing number of volunteers eager and willing to contribute to the Stitch community by writing articles about a whole range of topics; everything from divorce to travel to career advice for older adults.
(If you’d like to contribute, let us know.)
Sometimes, however, we know that you want to hear a little bit more about Stitch itself. Who we are. How we’re going as a company.
What we’re like.
So I thought for this post I’d give you a bit of an insight into why we’re so passionate about Stitch.
This topic was actually prompted by a conversation I had last week with a potential investor, who asked me why I wanted to build Stitch. I gave what I thought was a semi-intelligible response about the massive need for a company like Stitch, and why I thought it would be a successful business.
“That’s not what I’m asking,” he said.
“What I’m asking is: why YOU?”
“What is it about Stitch that makes you, Marcie and the rest of the team want to spend years of your life working on it?”
It was a great question.
And before I had even had a chance to think about what the “best” answer would be (this was, after all, someone I was trying to impress), I found myself telling him about the Stitch members we’re lucky enough to deal with on a daily basis. The ones who write to us to thank us for what we’re doing. Who volunteer their time to run Stitch events for members in their area. Who email us to tell us how much they’re hoping we will be successful, and why they want something like Stitch in their lives.
Who remind us, on an almost daily basis, that what we’re doing matters.
On Tuesday last week we received an email with the subject line, “Thank you for starting Stitch”. Here is what it said:
I just got off the phone after talking with my first Stitch.
I am a native English speaking woman who also speaks Italian. I tried to learn Spanish three times without success. I’m still trying.
My Stitch is a native Spanish speaker who also speaks Italian and wants to improve her English. She is taking a college course to learn English but feels the need to improve her conversational skills.
We were Stitched and had a great first conversation – partly in Italian, partly in English, and just a little in Spanish! We found out that we have much more in common than just the desire to study languages.
Thank you for starting Stitch!
On the same day we received two separate blessings (one from a retired Pastor, so it carried extra weight!) from our members for what we’re doing for them. And then there was this email:
I’ve been thinking of this option for quite some time. The fact that you are not everywhere would actually benefit people like me.
You hear all about caregivers. In today’s society, it no longer is just the children having to take care of the elderly parents. Real short story – I’m a caregiver to my husband, who is only 51. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in June of 2009 and has gone down hill since then. His cognitive, memory, mobility, etc., has all been affected by this horrible disease.
Because I live in a small town, there isn’t much in the way of support groups. I’ve thought about these match sites that could have a separate option to them. Most of us are just looking to speak to others who are going through the same situation.
I really think Stitch can help people like me. That’s pretty much my idea.
Every time I receive an email like this I feel so overwhelmed I feel like sitting down. I feel I ought to stop to reflect on how lucky I am to be doing something that has the potential to touch other people’s lives in a positive way. I am well aware that it’s not everyone who gets to be thankful for their jobs, so it’s an amazing feeling when you do. Even better, everyone on the Stitch team feels the same way, and I feel privileged to be leading them.
We get even more emails from members who come to Stitch looking for romance. Here is an email from one of our members who has finally decided to take the plunge to find a romantic companion after years without dating:
Before I tell you how much I like Stitch so far, let me give you an abridged version of where I have been in my short time of online dating. I never in a million years thought I would ever find myself in a position to consider it but life happens. Therefore, I did what every other well educated, business owning woman (child psychologist with a private practice) would do. I thoroughly researched it so that I could make an informed decision in my better interest. I read about Stitch on a women’s blog, liked what I saw and signed up to increase the numbers while waiting it out. All this was around the turn of the New Year.
In the meantime I decided to try Match. I went from being completely overwhelmed, to horrified, to just plain disgusted. I felt like I was in a red light district. Literally thousands of men view your profile (there is actually a counter!) to get a look at the goods. It doesn’t matter what your settings are as there are no filters for this. Almost none of them listed education, career or much of anything else of substance as even an interest. However, almost all of them listed “athletic and toned” as a requirement, and the number of profile pictures consisting of a clothes-off selfie in the bathroom was ridiculous.
I get that there is a gender difference but come on. Now, I am attractive, even a former beauty queen but I am a 59 year old woman, who has educated (Ivy League) herself, worked hard, had children, nursed those children and put them through college, owns and operates a small business and I am healthy and active. I also cared for and buried both parents in the midst of it all. I am sorry but I do not have time to go to the gym and I don’t want to. I don’t know any woman, including myself that doesn’t think they need to lose 10 pounds but I still look good. However, gravity is not kind and when the underwire or shapewear comes off, it is what it is. Reality. Normal. What is wrong with that? Do you think I was going to respond to any of those people? Hell no! I cannot believe that women of this age would not only continue to subject themselves to this kind of degradation but promote it in the men!
Just as I was getting used to the idea of being solo again, Stitch came through, like manna from heaven and put me back in the arena in the way it should be. Most importantly it makes me feel safe and I have a lot to protect. It is private and encourages respectful communication between members. I hope you keep it that way.
Once I had the access I needed, one of the Stitch members interested in me turned out to be a Stitch! He sent the first very nice introductory message and we have sent each other several well written and lovely messages since. It has only been a couple of days but I am encouraged and my comfort level and interest is increasing. I have no idea if anything will develop but I am cautiously optimistic. If not, that is totally OK too as long as people act like human beings.
I will look forward to things continuing to expand and develop. There are not many profiles or events in the area yet but I feel good enough about it all that I will remain actively interested and will look to explore the other offerings that you have. Job very well done from a very discriminating subscriber!
As Stitch grows and people understand more about who we are, what we’re trying to create, and how passionately we believe in what we are doing, it seems the number of people who are sharing their stories, hopes, dreams and thanks with us is growing on an almost daily basis.
And each and every email we receive just makes us believe in Stitch even more than we did before.
In the end, my answer to the investor was very simple. After explaining how much what we are doing with Stitch means to people, I told him the question of why we’d be passionate about creating Stitch is the wrong one to ask.
The real question is: why on earth wouldn’t we be?