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Barrio Logan’s Sew Loka: the Nip/Tuck of real life

Gym for health, tailoring for looks

Sew Loka owner is part seamstress, part life coach
Sew Loka owner is part seamstress, part life coach

According to Claudia Rodriguez Biezunski, the gregarious owner of Barrio Logan’s Sew Loka, for a man, having your clothes tailored is more important for your looks than working out.

“You can go to the gym every day, but if your stuff’s not tailored, what’s the point?” said a laughing Claudia. “The gym is for health reasons. Getting your clothes tailored is the Nip/Tuck of real life. It’s like having a plastic surgeon.”

I asked her why she thought most people don’t get their clothes fitted. “It’s an intimidating process to stand in front of someone, and it invades your personal space.”

Get your clothes fitted without fear or judgement

For the lion’s share of our conversation, Claudia didn’t pontificate about her skill with a needle, or talk up the shop. She described, almost as a novelist would, her customers’ emotional experience of having their clothes assessed. She sounded more like a therapist than a seamstress.

“You should hear how many people body shame themselves. And I’m like, ‘You keep talking like that and I’m going to charge you double.’”

Which wouldn’t be much. Claudia said the most she typically charges someone for alterations is $25.

“It seems f*ed up for me to be like that mechanic who’s like, ‘I can totally take advantage of this situation where you can’t do it, and I’ll charge you more.’”

This empathy is probably a big reason why the small shop, which used to be tucked away in an alley, has seen great success.

Also unusual for a business owner: she’s big on teaching people how to do the work for themselves. The shop offers sewing classes, and when I mentioned my own desire to learn, she lit up even brighter.

“If I didn’t sew… it definitely gives me self-worth, like, maybe I am cool.” That laugh again. “Still kind of questioning that one.”

I’m not.

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Sew Loka owner is part seamstress, part life coach
Sew Loka owner is part seamstress, part life coach

According to Claudia Rodriguez Biezunski, the gregarious owner of Barrio Logan’s Sew Loka, for a man, having your clothes tailored is more important for your looks than working out.

“You can go to the gym every day, but if your stuff’s not tailored, what’s the point?” said a laughing Claudia. “The gym is for health reasons. Getting your clothes tailored is the Nip/Tuck of real life. It’s like having a plastic surgeon.”

I asked her why she thought most people don’t get their clothes fitted. “It’s an intimidating process to stand in front of someone, and it invades your personal space.”

Get your clothes fitted without fear or judgement

For the lion’s share of our conversation, Claudia didn’t pontificate about her skill with a needle, or talk up the shop. She described, almost as a novelist would, her customers’ emotional experience of having their clothes assessed. She sounded more like a therapist than a seamstress.

“You should hear how many people body shame themselves. And I’m like, ‘You keep talking like that and I’m going to charge you double.’”

Which wouldn’t be much. Claudia said the most she typically charges someone for alterations is $25.

“It seems f*ed up for me to be like that mechanic who’s like, ‘I can totally take advantage of this situation where you can’t do it, and I’ll charge you more.’”

This empathy is probably a big reason why the small shop, which used to be tucked away in an alley, has seen great success.

Also unusual for a business owner: she’s big on teaching people how to do the work for themselves. The shop offers sewing classes, and when I mentioned my own desire to learn, she lit up even brighter.

“If I didn’t sew… it definitely gives me self-worth, like, maybe I am cool.” That laugh again. “Still kind of questioning that one.”

I’m not.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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