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Creatures in Repairs

Sewing and Shredding

Long days filled with sunshine are now upon us this spring. With the ski season winding down and the riding season just beginning, we took some time to catch up with our friends from Needle and Shred down in Jackson, Wyoming. Tackling projects from repairing ski zippers and shoes, to sewing sheep fur onto western wear for photo shoots, to tuning your snowboard and skis, Tim and Jeremy have created their dream business. We got to chat with founder Tim Eberly and get the full scoop on what they have created.

How and when did Needle and Shred start? 

“Basically Jeremy and I wanted to merge our passions. Sewing was something we both grew up doing and then snowboarding, skateboarding, and riding bikes, and Jeremy liked to paraglide, and just all things shred. We used to repair our own gear and it was a no brainer to start doing that for others. 

We started in December of 2019. It was a really unique time to start. The influx of people who moved to the valley and the surplus of funds that people had, meant that people were out there buying stuff. Not from us really, but getting gear repaired is essential for all of their adventures. So that was kinda cool." 

What advice would you give new small business owners?

"The idea is important, your execution is essential. Having great ideas are sometimes hard to come by, but having that idea and not knowing how to execute it is really challenging. Sometimes you can create way too much work with an idea. Once you see how you're going to execute it, the time and money it’s going to take up, and what the day-to-day looks like then you will see if it’s going to sustain your happiness and all the things you want for yourself."

How has Needle and Shred evolved now? 

"We have taken on a number of clients that have a lot of volume now. Like making custom panniers for llamas for a local guy. These have proven to be fruitful and help diversify us.

One of Jeremy's skill sets is getting things manufactured for people. We are investing in new machines right now, and hiring more people to help. We just bought a laser cutter. More precise and quicker. Does a lot of other things too.  

The idea was to never just fall into one category: Needle and Shred. Even in needle we wanted to do local repairs, and then Stio hit us up and now we are doing Stio’s repairs, Flylow's repairs, and Sea to Summit and TGR and Trew Outerwear. Hopefully we grow those categories. I mean local has never really slowed down. It’s convenient for people to have a local shop to get that done. I love doing the local stuff. I think it has the least impact on everything. Shipping, and we’re not manufacturing new things with new materials literally helping keep things out of the landfill, from keeping people from having to buy more and more stuff. That’s something we love to see all the time. 

Growing the Shred side… We’ve always skateboarded, and we are a place for people to pick up a new deck and new wheels, and then snowboarding too. I have been tuning snowboards and skis for 30 years, and selling them. Offering products that we really like and use, and growing that retail category in order to help us pay the bills, and offer health insurance for employees. It all helps. Grow our retail and grow our manufacturing, keep growing our local business, and eventually start to brand our own products. We want to make something really rad, and something that we all need. That’s durable as hell. We are not into fast fashion."

What is one of your most favorite projects you have worked on? 

"For me, working on shoes and boots. It is sentimental to me because my Dad was a shoe cobbler. Taking those items in to even enhance them - to make them look better, or to make them more durable or better off are my favorite. It’s so varied and we do tons of ski coats and zippers, but we'll get an ergo baby pack and then someone's gun case, then a golf bag, and suitcase, and then it’s like "can you fix my prom dress"... variety is really fun sometimes. Technical and challenging repair items present a greater challenge versus manufacturing things we are creating in repetition over and over." 

Do you prefer doing more of the sewing, or more of the tuning?

"I think that the sewing outweighs our shred side hand over fist. I head the charge on repairs and on the shred side I have help, but I am 90% sewing at this point and 10% behind the tuning bench and what not. 

Jeremy is 100% on the sewing side, unless I get backed up too much or am out sick. We handle the tuning together, but mostly me because his skill set is behind the sewing machine, and I have definitely learned a ton from him." 

How big is your team?

"We are a team of 7 people right now. We do our best to not hire too many people understanding that we have the work. 

Quality is a huge part of how big you are, and how many people you have to manage to make sure you are getting things done on time, and with the right quality that our customers want, and that we want to provide." 

What do you wish the world knew about repairs?

"Honestly, we have to deconstruct pieces all the time to repair them. I wish that in the manufacturing world the people that were building these garments understood that durability also comes from being able to repair it. And so if it were easier to repair and made more sense to build things to be repaired, that would be phenomenal. 

For the world to find those pieces that you love, and that are going to last you forever, and play it out as long as you can. To not have that wardrobe of 50 shirts and you only wear 5. Find those pieces that are really special to you and take care of them and make sure when you buy them they are super durable, that you can wear forever. I am not trying to bag on people who like fast fashion, but I think that a big part of that problem, it's killing the environment, and people's pocketbooks, and the resources it takes to make and dispose of.  When you start learning about it, it’s kinda sad. "

Have you ever had to turn away a repair? 

"Yeah I mean we ask if it is a piece that is sentimental. We can’t make it look brand new for you, but if you want us to patch this hole or you know at least keep it in usable condition it is up to them. But, there’s a few times of course the cost of fixing something exceeds the actual benefit to the customer, and it might be time to find something new or go to the thrift store, and find something." 

Do you have a big local crowd, or lots of new visitors?

"We see new people all the time. We have a huge customer return from locals that we've known since we started. We get new and returning customers that will bring us a trash bag full of gear to repair. Also, lots of random stuff like sewing sheep fur onto western wear for photo shoots." 

What has been your most difficult and most rewarding repairs?

"A puffy coat because you have to deal with all kinds of stitches you have to pull apart and then put it back together. That can be rewarding because it is a pretty daunting task. It’s really technical and time consuming but not impossible." 

What is one thing that you want other people to know about Needle and Shred?

"We have the total capabilities to do tons of prototyping. If said person has this idea for whatever that can be made out of any textile. Because you know you normally have to send off for that. Jermey and the crew here are really good at being able to provide that service. Jeremey has been really savvy about what materials we choose to use that won’t be bad for the environment or problematic." 

Thanks Needle & Shred!

Now is the perfect time to give your winter threads some new life! If you need a repair, a new prototype, or a customization on your gear be sure to call up our neighbors in the Tetons!

Needle & Shred's Favorite Threads