For junior Rachael Menosky, what began as a hobby has now become a full-fledged business.
At the end of her freshman year, Menosky, a member of Pi Beta Phi, learned to sew and started making t-shirts and sweatshirts containing Greek letters for herself and a few friends. She now owns a shop called That’s Sew Neat.
“I knew when I got initiated I would want to make and have more letters,” Menosky said. “They’re really expensive online and finding them is hard. I knew I could make them myself. It’s one of those things where I saw it and knew I could definitely do it.”
Initially, Menosky sewed letters as gifts for fellow members of Pi Beta Phi and friends that were in Delta Tau Delta. People soon began coming to her asking for shirts for themselves or their “littles,” who are newer members of the chapter to whom “bigs” give letters. Menosky didn’t charge them at first, but she soon realized that she had a real business opportunity on her hands.
“I just decided to make a Facebook page to advertise that I was going to start charging money,” Menosky said. “I saw this as an opportunity to make something out of it.”
However, with the pricing of products came various hoops for Menosky to jump through. Different fraternities and sororities require licensing in order to officially make and market products that bear their names.
“There was a licensing process that took this past summer,” Menosky said. “It was just to protect the organizations from being sued. It was more of the fraternities wanting to make sure that the products are representing them well. It was pretty much just me saying by signing the licensing agreement that I’m not going to make inappropriate letters representing a fraternity.”
While the online shops for Greek letters can charge upwards of 60 dollars for a basic sweatshirt, Menosky charges around 15 dollars for a t-shirt and just 25 dollars for a sweatshirt. Her prices and the quality of her products are major reasons many Hillsdale students buy from That’s Sew Neat.
“Rachael is a little bit cheaper than the online shops and you still get the same quality,” said junior and Pi Beta Phi member Kayla Mykeloff. “They’re also handmade from one of my sisters, which I think is really nice, too. It’s nice to have some really nice ones and some that are made with love.”
Menosky has made letters for many of the Greek organizations on campus, but her most prolific customers are the men of Delta Tau Delta. Menosky even works in the Delt house at times, sewing her creations in the barroom on what she described as a very wobbly table.
“I’ve made a lot of Delt letters,” she said. “That’s probably where most of mine have gone, just because they can’t sew themselves. They come to me for that, which is really funny, really sweet, and I love doing it for them.”
The sentiment seems to go both ways, as the Delts voiced appreciation for Menosky’s work. Senior and Delta Tau Delta member Peter O’Rourke had nothing but praise for That’s Sew Neat.
“She’s here and she loves doing it,” he said. “The quality is up there and beyond some of the stuff online.”