A Crafty New Beginning
Emma Connolly, owner of Uptown Needle and Craftworks, knows it’s never too late to start your own business.
After many years working as Episcopal clergy, Emma Connolly awoke one morning and felt the call to reinvent herself professionally – to devote her life to creativity. As if it were already written in the stars, she soon spotted a small yellow shotgun house for lease while having breakfast.
“I found myself having breakfast on Magazine Street and lo and behold, the small yellow building next door had a very small sign, For Lease: Commercial,” says Emma Connolly, owner of Uptown Needle and Craftworks. “After a spirited debate with my inner saboteurs (It’s too pricey. You have no business doing this at your age! Who do you think you are? Most new businesses fail!), I signed a two-year lease, quit my job and turned 65 all in the same weekend.”
The shop opened January 2015 and its mission remains to teach people of all ages to sew, knit, write, craft, invent, make and create to their heart’s content.
“We are a place for a community of makers who love textiles, paper, yarn and embellishment,” says Connolly. “We are three businesses in one: consignment and vintage resale, fabric, trim and yarn store, and a teaching/making space.”
With the help of her daughter, Jennifer, Connolly has made her dream come true. Her space holds a large range of creative classes, (they’re even offering a Children’s Creativity Camp this summer.) And the retail space is a great resource for the crafty New Orleanian in need of supplies.
“I have wanted to open this shop for 30 years,” she says. “And to engage local artists of all types as instructors, with expertise in everything from paper-making and fabric design to quilting and beyond. Now that dream is a reality.”
While it’s still too soon to see if the business will be profitable long-term, Connolly is optimistic, and above all else, loves the idea of ‘making’ within the community.
“Art comes from that deep place within, our true self,” says Connolly. “Give it some attention, gather your courage and create something new. Come visit our shop and I think you’ll amaze yourself. Creativity is empowerment! I write, edit, sew, paint, design and embroider, because there is always something that needs making.”
Uptown Needle and Craftworks is located at 4610 Magazine Street and is open Monday to Saturday 10-6pm and Sunday 12-5pm.