In 2007, two college roommates, Stacy Brown & Amy Sprouse, started an online company called Do Over T's upcycling boxy tshirts & making t-shirt quilts. They started a business in response to every mom's greatest nemesis: clutter! Specifically, the piles of old t-shirts that no one in their families wanted to wear anymore, but that they couldn't bear to part with either. They had the idea but had no sewing skills, then they found me, Becky Lombardo. We each lived in different states so communications were via email, text and phone calls. Back then it was not an ideal way to run a business, but we made it work. Sales were slow at first, social media marketing was not a thing yet. We sold to our friends, they told their friends, and slowly we gained momentum. We did not have much competition at first, our customers reported back with their approval. Repeat customers and referrals were our main source of sales. In 2015, the company name changed to Tshirt Quilt Cafe. After 11 years, Stacy and Amy made their exit, they had other interests and left the company to work on other projects. This opened a new door to the growth of T-shirt Quilt Cafe!
Taking over T-shirt Quilt Cafe gave me full freedom of creativy and to make changes to improve both my products and work space. My workspace started in the garage of my small home. I’ve moved 3 times since and each time the space grew bigger. I started making plans to move to a brick and mortar, the pandemic of 2020 cancelled those plans. I was worried at first, not sure what to expect but I knew that moving to a public place was no longer an option. Plan B was put into place. With the help of my husband, we cleared out a portion of our property to make room for a work space big enough to welcome customers. Although it will not be a public retail space, visitors are welcome by appointment only.
About me and how I started making T-shirt Quilts- my mother taught me how to sew when I was 13 years old. I hated it but I was assigned to the machine to help with the family business. Mom freelanced piecework, making semi-formal dresses, casual sports wear, baby clothes, whatever was available. After high school and college, I entered the work force doing odd jobs- waiting tables at restaurants. Orlando was gaining its popularity with tourism thanks to Disney World so, jobs were easy to find. My first thought of looking for a “real” job was when I was on my 3rd maternity leave. The cost of childcare was as much as a small mortgage! Pinterest was a new popular app, I started searching for ideas. I dusted off a sewing machine found in my neighbor’s garage and started sewing again, doing alterations and custom dresses- out of my garage. Craigslist was a popular advertising space, Stacy found me. We messaged each other for about a month before we finally got together. She had an idea, I had the skills. We made our first t-shirt quilt, The Original style, and the rest is history.