A Southerner turned New Yorker turned Southerner again, Kathryn McMahon owns Stitching Fox, a needlepoint shop in Landrum, South Carolina, that attracts clients from Tennessee all the way to the Carolina coast. After a year of booming sales online, McMahon is helping to build the area’s largest multi-generational stitching community, one witty hand-painted canvas at a time.
What attracted you to needlepoint?
I was in college and that first project gave me a creative outlet outside of my classes, allowing my mind to drift while being productive with my hands. I suffered from bouts of panic attacks in my mid-twenties, and needlepoint was a way to wind down in the evenings. After that first canvas, I just always had a project I was working on.
What prompted you to open a needlepoint shop?
The first Stitching Fox shop opened in June 2020 in a 700-square-foot cabin at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Springs, North Carolina. After eight months, the business had taken off and sales skyrocketed. [So] my husband and I purchased and renovated a 2,100-square-foot building in Landrum to give the existing needlepoint community more space to gather and create together.
What was your professional career before opening Stitching Fox?
After college, I moved to New York City and worked in sales and marketing with several luxury home brands. My first position was with Scully & Scully on Park Avenue where I soon became a national sales director with Hermès in their corporate office. I was traveling about 70 percent of the time and needlepoint always accompanied me on flights, commutes, and in hotel rooms. After nearly 13 fast-paced years in New York City, I longed for a change in lifestyle, so I moved back south (I’m originally from Augusta, Georgia) to slow down and regain some much-needed balance. I met my husband and started pursuing nonprofit work, truly becoming a part of the community.
How does someone get started in needlepoint?
It has been my experience that everyone can learn to stitch. Needlepoint is an activity that spans all ages and allows people to develop great hand-eye coordination and to build new pathways in the brain. It is one of the easiest needlework activities. You only need a canvas, fiber, and a needle. It’s portable and great for when you’re waiting in line, traveling, or just need to relax without endless scrolling on an electronic device.
What should customers expect when they visit Stitching Fox?
I want people to experience more than just the retail side of the store. I want them to experience the inclusivity our community of stitchers creates. The shop is my vision of a happy space for people looking for a creative outlet that also allows them to practice self-care and be in the moment.
Stitching Fox, 22349 Asheville Hwy, Landrum; (828) 222-5018; stitchingfox.com. Check out the latest canvases and classes on Instagram: @stitchingfoxnc.
Photography by Will Crooks