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Conversations with Annie Zigman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Zigman.

Annie, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
In December 2019, I moved to NYC to pursue my acting career. As you can assume, that did not go as planned due to the pandemic starting just weeks later. I quickly became isolated in a city where I knew no one and unemployed all within a few days. My anxiety was rapidly getting worse and I knew I needed a coping mechanism while performing was on a hiatus.

I started needle pointing to fill my time and calm my nerves: needlepoint was an activity that helped me a lot when I was bedridden from a car accident a few years ago. I figured if it could help me then, it could be beneficial now, too. I quickly became obsessed with stitching and although it didn’t fill the void of zero theatres in my life, it did provide a fantastic creative outlet.

One day, I brought in a few of my own designs to my local needlepoint store to pick out some matching thread. To my surprise, the owner of the store loved my pieces and even asked if I would ever consider selling them. Shortly thereafter, I had 10 of my own designs on a new Etsy page and hanging on my local needlepoint store’s walls.

Fast forward to a year and a half later: I outgrew Etsy and started my own website; I now have 80+ designs as well as needlepoint merch, tools, and accessories; and my designs are now carried in 30+ stores across the country.

Running a small business (while being a working actor, I may add – theatre is back!) is something I never imagined myself doing, but I am so proud of myself for how far I’ve come and I can’t wait to see all the growth Ziggy Stitches has in store!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has definitely not been a smooth road! As I mentioned before, I am an actor. I have wanted to be an actor my whole life and I even went to a musical theatre conservatory for college.

This means I have no business training. As an actor, I have learned to be an entrepreneur in the sense that I am my own advocate and I can promote myself (and now my business) very well. However, when it comes to things like margins, balances, accounting, marketing, you know – actual business things – I lacked a lot of the knowledge it took to start my own business.

I have taught myself so many things along the way (good and bad) and I continue to learn new things every day. Although there are still many business classes in my future, I have come so far from where I started and can even use Excel by myself now.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am the owner and designer of Ziggy Stitches. I design and hand-paint needlepoint canvases.

My designs are not the “stereotypical” needlepoint designs. When most people think of needlepoint, they think of their grandma stitching an old piece that is delicate, stuffy, or even bleak. I am definitely NOT that. My designs are known for being modern, playful, and cheeky.

I use lots of bold colors and graphics and even have a line of “naughty needlepoint” full of euphemisms and cuss words! I am very proud of my ability to stand out in the needlepoint community for designs that appeal to today’s contemporary stitcher and make people laugh while stitching their projects.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck has played a big role in my life.

If it wasn’t for all the bad luck that COVID-19 brought the entire world, I would not have started my business. If COVID didn’t happen, I would still be living in New York and might not have even picked up a needlepoint canvas again.

Although I obviously wish the pandemic never happened, I would never have found my passion for needlepoint if it wasn’t for the adversity we have all been through in the past two years.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Annie Zigman, Faison Weiss, and Elizabeth Reiher

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