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Why did you build Stitch?

Why did you build Stitch?

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?

13 Comments

  1. Marty

    Andrew, your blog caught me at a point in time where I had made a decision to drop out of Stitch; however after reading your blog I have changed my mind. Reading about the dedication of you and your staff for providing a desirable service for us older folks, I’ve decided to stay with you. I enjoy reading the profiles of the many stitchers and look forward to perhaps meeting you and your staff in the future. As the Navy saying goes, I wish you “Fair Winds and Following Seas”.

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Marty,
      Thanks so much for your feedback! Michael also forwarded me the email you sent him too, and I must say it was tremendously motivating for everyone on the team to hear everything you said. We all understand that personal conditions change, and not always for the best, but we think those are the times when it’s doubly important to find ways to connect to other people in a whole variety of different ways. We’re honored to have you as part of the Stitch family, and we’ll be working hard to help you get the most out of Stitch. It’s early days for us as you know, but we really do feel we’re getting there … with support from people like you we surely will!

      Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you’ve ever got feedback for us or need help in any way.
      Thanks,
      Andrew.

  2. Ann Elliott

    Very nice article. My girl friends and I have had the same conversation about men who are “athletic and toned” and what they really look like. Think the old comic of a man and a woman looking into the same mirror and what do they see?

    Only one profile I have read stated that he didn’t really care what a woman looks like because we all will (hopefully) age with grace.

  3. Phyllis

    HI MARTY; PLEASE KEEP ME INFORMED , ENJOYED READING ALL THE NOTES FROM VARIOUS PEOPLE. IF IN THE NEAR FUTURE YOU ARE PLANNING AN EVENT IN THE NEW YORK AREA, I WOULD BE HAPPY TO VOLUNTEER MY SERVICES. HAVE A GREAT DAY…PHYLLIS

  4. Ann M

    I loved your blog and it makes me feel even more enthusiastic about Stitch. I have been stitched with several men and a woman, but no alignment yet…mostly out of my geographic range. I love the concept, and in particular how all the Stitch staff respond to my needs. Michael and Jason are excellent support people and I had a wonderful, caring conversation with Marcie. I look forward to meeting all of you, perhaps at the Alaskan Cruise event, and eventually connecting with a Stitch. I think my sister might be interested in this as well. Or, at least I am interested for her. : ) Do you serve the MD area? Thank you for all you are doing to help us make connections!

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Ann,

      Thanks so much for the encouragement! Feedback like yours is super-motivating for the whole team here, and I’ll pass on your feedback to Michael, Jason and Marcie. We don’t currently have many people in the MD area, although we’re constantly being surprised by where people are signing up so your sister is more than welcome to join and become part of the community while we’re growing our membership!

      Many thanks,
      Andrew.

  5. Sharon

    Feel real good about this site. Love the Fact that each member has to be verified!
    Been single for about 8 years. Let’s see how this goes!

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! It’s always good to hear when members give us feedback like this as it helps us know we’re on the right track. Please bear in mind that we are still very new and unless you live in the SF Bay Area or New York we don’t have many members for local companionship in your area yet. We are however working towards it and many of our members are meeting up remotely and even coming on Stitch trips … and many members outside those two areas are getting small Stitch communities going by hosting local events and meetups on Stitch. So there are many ways to get involved in the Stitch community while you’re waiting for us to come to your area!

      Thanks again for the feedback, please let us know how you go with Stitch.

      Cheers,
      Andrew.

  6. Marie

    Interesting business model the start up on Stitch. ..but somewhat confusing. The blog posts and articles speak of fixed income and loneliness yet the FB page is loaded with cruises. For free you enter your profile and can see ONE profile. For 9 dollars more you see a few more and for the most you can pay in a month you see still a metered amount. I have identity verification and never heard of Stitch.net although I am on OKC and view profiles all day long for much cheaper.

    Question: Would it not be better to build the village first before charging so much right from the start to see who is making up the village ? In my case..lonely widow…Ok I will pay the monthly $ then discover the “village” has 3 people in my metro area for any purpose..roommate, lover, coffee drinking pal..then I cancel. Hmmm who would that serve ?

  7. Marie

    Seems you cant post much on here without it saying you have already said it ..ha ha so much for freedom

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Marie,

      To keep out spammers we manually approve the first post someone makes in order to verify they are one of our members. Once you’re approved you are free to post. Sorry about the confusion, it’s just us trying to keep Stitch safe!

      In answer to your question, we only offer paid memberships for people in areas which are local for live browsing. In other words, you would never face the situation of moving to a paid plan only to discover there are only 3 people in your area. We do offer the free plan to you in order to grow the membership in your area first — to “build the village first”, as you say. If you’re located outside our current live local areas (SF Bay Area and New York Tri-State region) then we have no expectation for you to sign up to a paid plan for Stitch, but we’d love you to use it and continue to give us feedback, as we really want to build Stitch into something that works well for members everywhere.

      As for the pricing, we believe we’re offering something completely different from OKC (or any other site for that matter), and that Stitch is a real community for our users. OKC actually charges more than we do, adjusts their pricing based on your age, adds a bunch of additional pricing add-ons, and doesn’t have the events, local activities and community that we’re building with Stitch. I know that these may not be in your area yet but we’re working to get there — and we really try to keep our pricing as transparent as possible.

      Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you’ve got any questions … we’re a very small team and are the first to admit that Stitch isn’t perfect yet but with the help and input from our early members we’re working very hard to get there!

      Thanks,
      Andrew Dowling
      Founder & CEO
      Stitch

  8. Julie

    Hello, I would like to be a consultant for Stitch. I’m a Certified Senior advisor licensed on a national level. I’m passionate about helping others prior to a medical crisis, you can’t make an educated decision during an emotional time. Please feel free to contact me I believe a conference call could make a difference for all.
    Thank You

  9. Rick Oliver

    I joined Stitch the middle of this week .It seemed all the other sites were for hook ups and sex with people way too young for this 67yr old Vietnam vet.Im sure I have made the right choice.Im 67 and have not had a full time job since 2000 because of my chronic pain and 100% VA disabilities. I’m a widower since fathers day of 2014.Sometimes I think I’m ready to see what is out there and other times I wonder if I’ll ever be able to go out and meet new people or that special lady my wife said would be happy to get me off the market and keep me to love and enjoy till the end of time,well I’ve joined Stitch so lookout here I come .as always Rick bless ya love ya see ya bye for now.

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