Get Stitched // The Stitch Blog

Here’s an idea … and we need your feedback!

Stitch Button

When we first introduced Events and Activities to Stitch, we did so because we knew that many of our members wanted more than just one-on-one meetings – they wanted to connect with a whole range of people in different settings around the activities they enjoy.

At the same time we wanted to make Stitch into a real community, rather than just a service … a community built around the shared goals of finding true companionship for all our members.

While we knew what we wanted, however, we didn’t know the best way to make it work. So we deliberately started with a very minimal version of events and activities. Our goal was to see if people liked the idea, not to make it totally perfect on the very first try. (When you are a small team like Stitch, making anything totally perfect on the very first try is pretty much impossible.)

We had no idea that Stitch events and activities would quickly become one of the most popular parts of Stitch!

The good news is that hundreds of Stitch members have now attended local member-driven activities and events. The variety of activities is truly staggering, and has included:

  • Hiking in Malibu
  • Comedy in Sydney
  • Jazz in Los Angeles
  • Theater in Berkeley
  • Whale Watching on the Central Coast
  • Walking in Brooklyn
  • Shakespeare in Central Park
  • Cycling in Languedoc in France
  • A film festival in Chicago
  • and hundreds more.

In other words, anything you’d like to do, there are other Stitchers out there who would like to do it too!

But many things need improving

There are a whole range of things that we’re working on to improve when it comes to the process of suggesting and attending an activity on Stitch, and you’ll see these being added to Stitch gradually over the coming weeks.

But the one that people have been saying they need help with most urgently is this one: when I attend an event for the first time with Stitch members I haven’t met before, how do I recognize who they are?

Bookings at restaurants and cafes are fine, but it can be daunting to turn up to an event in a public space and not have a way to recognize and identify the people you are meant to be meeting!

We’re currently testing a concept which will let attendees at events and activities be able to send text messages to the group, and if it goes well we hope to be able to add this capability to Stitch in the next couple of months. That’s great, but we’re also keen to find a solution for our members in the meantime. If you attend a Stitch event today, we want to give you some way of identifying yourself.

We looked at several options, and have come up with something which we think could work as an interim solution until we can get technology to come to our rescue.

Stitch Goodies

The simplest immediate solution we could think of was to give people some identifying Stitch-branded merchandise they could wear or carry to events and activities to help identify themselves. Caps, buttons, bags, T-shirts – anything that would immediately identify them as a Stitch member.

We didn’t want to be drawn into creating an entire manufacturing and worldwide shipping infrastructure for this – it is, after all, just meant to be an interim solution! – but fortunately there are a number of third-party companies that will create branded merchandise for us and handle all the shipping details themselves. One of these companies is Zazzle, which we think offers a good balance of reasonable cost, acceptable shipping costs to global locations, and a decent selection of items. Here is a snapshot of some of the Stitch items we can create in the Zazzle store.

Zazzle Stitch items

We’ve created the store in Zazzle now, and it can be accessed using the following links:

For Stitch members from other countries, the US link above should offer global shipping as well.

Now we should note that all these items are for sale on the Zazzle web site, which means they are all things that Stitch members would need to pay for. We unfortunately don’t get to set the prices, and we’d be the first to admit that the prices at this point are a little higher than we’d like, particularly for the apparel items. Our plan would be to see if Stitchers like the idea of Stitch merchandise, and if there is overwhelming support for the idea then in time we’d be able to come up with alternatives that could provide us with cheaper pricing.

This is very much a trial for us so we are extremely interested to hear what you all think! In particular:

  • Is this something you think will help you meet people at Stitch events?
  • Is it something we should do as an interim solution, or do you think it’s something we should offer all the time?
  • What are your thoughts on the prices for the items listed?
  • If so, what types of products should we try to get Zazzle to list in the store? (They have an enormous range of options, we just need to find out what our members would like or think would be useful)

Please let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments below!

42 Comments

  1. Ruth

    I ordered a couple of buttons and a hat. I think they are a good idea for finding other Stitch people in a public crowd.

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Dear Ruth,
      That’s wonderful! We would love to see you take a photo wearing your Stitch gear with other members 🙂 Please let us know if you have any issues or feedback for the ordering process, or the quality of the product.

      Marcie

      1. Penny

        I love my stitch button. Think the hats be a nice thing to have to beat the heat at summer events. Thinking about planning more events. First have to get my list of things to do then plan accordingly. Can I do one a month?

      2. Ruth

        I did have a problem with the purchasing. They sent it to my old address (haven’t been there for 2 years) and when I tried to call they were closed on the weekend. Usually companies who have ordering online have at least a skeleton staff on the weekends to handle any problems, but they didn’t. When the products arrived (I had to pick them up from my old place), They were OK, but the red color of the hat was a very different shade of red than the picture.

        1. Andrew Dowling

          Thanks for the feedback Ruth. Very strange they sent it to your old address, how did they know you lived there? Sorry the hat didn’t live up to expectations … if we end up creating our own merchandise for members then we’ll be able to control the quality of the outcomes a lot better, hopefully this is OK for an interim measure. You never know, one day it might be a collectors item!

          Regards,
          Andrew.

    2. S C Jones

      This idea seems to me to breech the security issue unless there is a way to sell the merchandise to only verified members.

    3. Liz A

      I disapprove of being labelled a reject in society by wearing a Stitch label. People can read and observe and it doesn’t take long for them to know what a Stitch label means and that you want someone or some people in your life. Its a great way of advertising for those who want to take advantage of you.

      1. Andrew Dowling

        I’m sorry to hear you feel that way Liz — have you been to a Stitch event yet? We actually find that our members are generally very proud to showcase that they’re part of such a vibrant and supportive community; some of our members even go out of their way to create their own banners and signs. They think (as do we) that there is nothing negative at all about being a Stitch member — it simply means you’ve found a new way to get out there and meet new people, and that you’re having a great time doing it. Our long-time members really take pride in the Stitch events that they organise, and making it easy for the group to find each other it just a part of that.

        Of course it’s only really the event organiser who needs to draw attention to themselves so there is no need for you to feel you need to wear a badge at all — it was just a suggestion to try to make things easier!

  2. Denise

    I’m not keen on the apparel to be truthful. To me a much cheaper and less conspicuous option would be just a badge with Stitch and the member’s name on it, big enough for anyone looking for it to see but not so conspicuous that others in the same area start staring. Wearing hats or shirt with Stitch on them s is not everyone’s thing.

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Denise,

      Yes we were mainly thinking the badge would be most helpful, but we threw the apparel in there because Zazzle did it and thought some people might want it. For people meeting at an outdoor park for a hike for example a cap might be handy … but for events like dinners etc they don’t really as make much sense. Thanks for your feedback!

      Andrew.

  3. Mark

    All,

    I have a suggestion/comment as well. So far, I’m a newbie and getting used to the site. It seems that it covers more than dating for us. Which to me, is very refreshing.

    My suggestion is that there are articles on travel, safety, dating, relationships, etc. There’s one area that I’d like to suggest, but to be quite honest with you, I don’t know how to get into it. That’s relocation after retirement. There are lots of articles on where to relocate, as far as, state, city, etc.

    However, the best people to offer advice are those that were in the same boat. Those of us that have retired and relocated. Your suggestions and experiences that you could offer to others, pros and cons of various things.

    For example, I live in Pennsylvania and went to Florida to check out 55+ communities. While there, you are told that it is ‘heaven on earth’, lots of fun, no problems, lots to do, etc., etc., etc. My curiosity is what are they like when most of the snowbirds are gone, and what is it really like while they are there. I’m single, so obviously what is single life there. For those of us on fixed incomes, are they truly reasonable. What about resale afterwards, and more stuff.

    I know it would be tough to get into the good, bad and ugly of communities and areas, but there are some good ones, I’m sure.

    My next question would be have you thought about the possibility of having a “forum” area ? This would be for various Q&A’s, free flowing.

    Thanks much and like they said in Animal House: “Knowledge is good.”

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Hi Mark,
      Marcie from Stitch, here. I’m SO glad you commented on this! I think, with our members, there is valuable information that can and should be shared in a trusted place. Your question about the 55+ communities is a great one!

      Forums are the next thing in our list to build within Stitch. We’re almost done redesigning our Events and Activities to make it easier for you to use. Then, we’re going to release an app to the Apple Store, and then Forums in our Community Section.

      Thanks again for your feedback and kind words. We hope we will always be more than just “dating.”

      Best,
      Marcie

      1. Mark

        Hi Marcie,

        Thank you for your quick and kind response. Any idea if the app will also be available in an android format?

        Thank you again,

        Mark

        1. Marcie Rogo

          Hi Mark,
          Great question. We’re working on it but I’m not sure of the timeline. It won’t be TOO long, but probably not until Fall.
          Best,
          Marcie

    2. Vance

      Mark – I live in central Florida near Orlando. I happen to be a watchdog blogger currently investigating mobile home communities and have lots of info on the good and bad points. You did not specify whether you want hard contructed housing or manufactured homes. Look into “the Villages” in Sumter County. It is a huge place that is 55+. If you are still in the market for a FL home, email me for info I have collected. I am not a realtor or connected to any of them but the State has a list of 55+ homes and there are caveats about them. Many are really good and active (think golf cart entries in Christmas Parades), and others are low cost for snow birds.

      1. Mark

        Hi Vance,

        Thanks for wanting to share info. I’ve heard of the Villages and don’t know anyone that lives/lived there for the pros & cons. Here’s my email mark.stitchdude [at] gmail [dot] com

        Thanks again,

        Mark

  4. David

    With MeetUp groups, the group leader has a sign that says MeetUp”. The signs are used in reserved rooms (in restaurants, for example) and in specified spots at public places. If we have some sort of event leaders, or Stitch coordinators for attending events, couldn’t they have such a sign?

  5. Fleur

    I agree with Denise. A Stitch badge with a name will make it easier to recognise and remember people’s names at events. What about a rubber wrist band with the Stitch Logo and Member’s name on it?

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Hi Fluer, we never thought about a rubber wrist band. But, that could work! The buttons are looking great too, and can easily come on and off. Thanks for that suggestion!
      Marcie

  6. Carolyn

    For meet ups, I think actually wearing the Stitch logo is a little blatant. Certainly very commercial. I would suggest a more subtle ID like simply the wearing of something with RED, whether it’s shoes, a scarf, hat, shorts, belt….. There may be the odd person who is not part of the meet up, who just happens to be wearing something red but they would probably not be offended by unexpected attention.

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Carolyn,
      Yes we’ve noticed that several of our groups are doing this already, which we think is great — and certainly far more subtle than a cap or a t-shirt. Some members have however pointed out that for venues where there are lots of other people, something that really stands out is required. It’s up to everyone what they choose — as long as people can find each other we’re happy!
      Cheers,
      Andrew.

    2. Maya

      Okay, here’s what I think: upon joining Stitch, everybody should be issued a small, pin-on red button that says STITCH on it to be worn to Stitch events so we can recognize each other. I see nothing wrong with a discreet red button for identification purposes. You might get a discount from whomever it is that makes buttons — order a boxcar full and just issue them to new members — charge $1 if you need to, but I think it would be helpful.

  7. Cynthia

    I love baseball caps and tote bags so I would use one or both of those if I was attending a Stitch event. Thanks for persevering and making things easier and more accessible to us.

  8. Karen

    Great ideas everyone! I like the wristband suggestion too. Some sites to check out for silicone wristbands include: http://www.orientaltrading.com, http://www.popwristbands.com, http://www.firstclasswristbands.com, http://www.reminderband.com.

    And yes! A “forum” makes perfect sense. Looking forward to it. 🙂

    Marcie and Andrew – We sure do appreciate your quick response, follow-up and personal touch with your members – on so many things within Stitch. It really shows you care. Wishing us all a lot of fun…meeting new folks and trying new adventures….Onward and Upward! 🙂

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Thanks Karen, positive feedback like this is what keeps us going!

      1. Penny

        I love my stitch button. Think the hats be a nice thing to have to beat the heat at summer events. Thinking about planning more events. First have to get my list of things to do then plan accordingly. Can I do one a month?

        1. Andrew Dowling

          You sure can Penny … any time that works for you is great!

  9. Liz

    When we met as a group for an outing I wore a red ribbon around my left wrist and posted attending members to look for me wearing it. (Unfortunately it fell off between the car park and venue). However all recognised me from my photo. I think something inconspicuous to people generally but known to members would be better. The wrist band sounds a good idea to me.

  10. Irene

    I would wear the button and it was fabulous when I came to brunch with Marcie, that our group was hooked up to texting each other. It helped me find Stitchers very easily. Don’t make the button too big. This is a very exciting site compared to all the others. Meeting people and traveling. Doesn’t get any better than that.

  11. Cynthia S

    Yes to the wristband or pin and forum! All great ideas! As you mentioned, prices are a bit high. Also, I would ask that if a member puts something on the site to see if there is interest, that the time of day be included. If that can be variable, please note that. Thanks to you all for trying to make this work for us!

  12. esbe

    My suggestions to meet at a public event:
    1. Host activity wears a Stitch button or something red.
    2. Named an easily locatable area of the venue eg outside cafe.
    3. Brief description of host activity.
    4. Keep active mobile on the activity for any last message through eg. Stitches running late.
    One of these should work

  13. Helen

    Hi Marci. Love the idea of a forum. Folks are looking for reliable relevant information they can trust in easy to use form. There’s nothing like person to person with the added benefit of social connection.

    Kudos on the fabulous site that presents what mid-life and older adults value so much — great companions. Best, Helen

  14. Kay

    Joined Stitch yesterday and am so happy to find a site for over 50s. I like the idea of a wristband or badge as they are fairly subtle. I also agree with the member who suggested the organizer has their cell phone at the ready. Looking forward to meeting people through the website.
    Kay

  15. Mary

    New to the site but would like to also vote for a forum – members can share their experiences to help other members or find help themselves.

    Thanks for the site! Hopefully I’ll find some traveling companions. 🙂

  16. Ruth

    Hi Marcie,

    I wonder if your programmers would work on having 2 buttons for activities. One being “I am interested” and the other “I am attending”. I guess if someone now puts an actual date in, the “I am interested” button changes to I am attending, but sometimes someone puts a tentative date and it hasn’t really been decided yet. So, I want to say that I am interested, but not that I am attending, if I don’t know the actual date.

    Ruth

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Great suggestion Ruth — we’ve got a few improvements we’d like to make to activities and this is one of them!

  17. Susan

    At Meet-up events for the group, “How About a Date,” the organizer has three helium balloons at the table or area where we are meeting. Stitch could have three helium balloons, too, like a red, white & grey balloon. We can see them above the heads of the crowds. No need for anyone to purchase pins, hats, etc. Thank you!

    1. Cynthia

      I love the idea of colored balloons in the area where there is a Stitch event

  18. Kathie

    Have a once a month, or a four times a year — whatever — NEWBIE group. Just a casual coffee (or better yet, HAPPY HOUR), where all of us New People experience that New Kid On The Block uncomfortable moment with others. Later we can laugh at how stupid it was for us to be nervous in the first place. It’s that first jump into the pool that’s the hardest. Once your wet, it’s all good (or at least not as cold and shocking!).

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Kathie, thank you so much for this fantastic suggestion and great metaphor 🙂 We will definitely put this on the slate as we identify more Ambassadors and helpful Stitchers who can help us have welcome events throughout the world! Right now, our team is only 8 people, split between San Francisco and Sydney. But we’ll get there!

  19. Aki

    I am not a fan of group texts, mainly because I’m not a fan of strangers having my cell number. I have run three singles group for the past 15 years (I’m 55 now), and am familiar with the pros and cons of group events, so would like to talk to someone about my experiences and my suggestions. I have occasionally attended MeetUps, and when you sign up (at least here in my area), you can attach a picture to your profile, communicate online with others going to the same Meetups, and get a clear idea of the exact meeting spot. Also, before I go on a cruise, I join the Roll Call for that voyage, and we all get together online to arrange a Meet and Greet, maybe plan on some excursions together.

    Here, unless I join, I can’t even see if there are Stitch events and activities in my area, which makes me less likely to join. Is it possible to post the cities or communities that have active Stitch members? And list a contact person for that city or community? A facilitator or director. If one of my singles groups had an idea for an event or activity, as the leader, I would ask the others if there was interest, then ask the person with the suggestion if they were interested in coordinating the logistics of the events or activity. We kept a running list of activities and events, and emailed them weekly to anyone signed up via email. It got a lot of people involved, and everyone knew if there were questions, they could come to me and I would direct them to the answer or person who could best help. Here, because I cannot see if there are any activities, I can’t decide if joining is an option for me.

    So my only suggestion (for now) would be to blog about the various cities and communities where Stitch is active and have locals write little blurbs about the activities or events they attended.

    Thank you for listening,

    Aki

  20. Denise

    Although it sounds like a good idea to wear something that offers identification, if meeting in a restaurant, wine bar or other social location where there is a need to dress smartly, it is unsuitable to be wearing a cap, taking a canvas bag etc. As this is a U.S. website, cap and badge wearing is more acceptable there than in the U.K. In a restaurant staff will take people to a table as long as it is previously booked with a name.

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