Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On my desk... otherwise named all about a man named Barry...

Well it's not really my desk, it is currently on my dining room table...

I received some cashola for my birthday and have so started the serious hunt for a sewing machine. My budget is now a little more than I expected which has opened up some different possibilities!

In my travels I stumbled across Barry from Barry's Sewing Machine Centre. He is quite frankly, a gem of a man.

As the appearance of his website might suggest, he is as you find him. His shop is attached to his work shop. He has been in the business of sewing machines for 48 or so years. He services and conditions them all himself on behalf of the various manufacturers.

Barry gave me almost 2 hours of his time late last week. He spent most of that time trying to ascertain what I would need and want out of a machine. He talked me through various options including new and second hand options.

I had done a little bit of research and so we spent some time talking about some of the better older machines out there.

What I liked about Barry was that he spoke with a real passion about all things sewing. He loved the history of machines and is enthusiastic about today's offerings. He is very no nonsense. He left me feeling that he was actually interested in finding a machine to fit me rather than simply selling yet another customer something for the sake of the sale. He actually made a couple of suggestions which are well under what the top end of my budget is.

All in all I think he just offered good old customer service and expertise. Which I think is rare these days.

The only downside is that Barry did not have new machines available to test even on site so I have had to see some of his competitors to try out a new machine or 2 even though ultimately if I buy new I will probably go back to him.

He did give me a second hand machine to try out for a week. He also shared a penchant for rock n roll music and dancing and leant me some of his cds (for my mother in law who also loves all things rock n roll!)

This baby is probably just about as old as me but in far better nick! Barry has tuned her to purr as she sews. I have not sewn since my high school years and was frightened about handling her but by and large the experience was actually a joyful one!

In my op shopping travels last week I picked up a library bag and art smock pattern for 50cents from the Colac Salvos. I made the library bag without too much bother once I worked out how to read the pattern - don't laugh it took me forever to work out what "cut to fold" meant!! I am not ready to post photos yet - the straightness of my lines leave a lot to be desired for one thing - I have a lot to learn.

I am still not 100% sure if this is the machine for me but I am definitely sure I would like to pursue learning the art of sewing.

And I think that is in part due to blogland and in part due to Barry!

Check out Kirsty's blog to see who else is playing along today!


BigCat said...

What a great story. Good customer service is so rare these days. I would travel a great distance to get it.

Good luck with your decision making and purchasing.

Kirsty said...

Barry sounds like an absolute star! I'm sure he'll find you exactly what you're after.

CurlyPops said...

That customer service is priceless. He's the sort of guy that you would go back to every year to have your sewing machine serviced.

Marita said...

I'd like to know a guy like Barry! He sounds wonderful...good luck on the sewing machine selection. I also reckon patterns can be confusing to read, I generally read the instructions half a dozen times before making the first cut.