Jeanne Waldow loves getting down on the floor with her customers with her pins and scissors.
Her customers? They're chairs, sofas, benches, stools and other furniture. Waldow's specialty is making slipcovers. She also repairs and makes cushions and pillows, but her passion is creating a new look for that favorite family sofa.
Waldow has been making slipcovers professionally for two decades. She started a business in Rochester, N.Y., and was joined by her daughter 14 years ago.
"I started out working in my home and then bought a little house and turned it into a studio," Waldow said. "My daughter and I worked as a team. She does cushions, pillows and the bookkeeping and we have an interior designer."
Waldow, 59, and her husband, Warren, a pediatric dentist, moved here six months ago from Rochester, leaving their daughter, Holly Sacchetti, in charge of the business there. Dr. Waldow still maintains his Rochester practice. He flies up on Monday mornings and returns Thursday evenings.
"We've had a house on Clearwater Beach for seven years," said Jeanne Waldow. "It's an old beach house with three apartments. It was always our intention to live here."
Waldow recently opened Slipcovers, etc., in Antique Alley in Belleair Bluffs and has gathered a team of professionals to work with her. She's now turning part of the studio into a showroom where clients can select fabrics and see Waldow's display, which shows how the same material can be used for different styles.
How did you learn your craft?
My mother was a seamstress and I watched her make clothes my whole life. I didn't realize that I learned a ton just from being around her. When I got out on my own, I found that it (sewing) was really easy for me and that I love the challenge.
I studied slipcover making at a school in North Carolina. I was already making them, but I wanted to get polished.
What do you and your team members offer clients?
We have an upholsterer, an interior designer who can do everything from help decorate homes to select fabrics and a window treatment specialist.
And if there's a broken leg or arm on a piece of furniture that needs to be fixed before the slipcovers can be made, there are specialists in furniture repair nearby in the Alley.
Do you have a pickup service and can you give cost estimates by phone?
We do have a pickup and delivery service or clients can bring their items here.
I can give a lot of information on the phone. I've been doing this so long that I have a great sense of how much a job will cost without seeing the piece.
How can clients tell if you are in the studio?
I have a chair covered in a funky material I put outside if I'm in. If you see the chair, I'm here.