The Synchrony Pillars Project set out to celebrate 10 individuals who define what it means to be from a particular place, help elevate their local economies, and foster community pride. Jennifer Nobile's story of sewing as a "universal language," connecting all communities, truly moved us.



Jennifer Nobile is many things, but predictable isn't one of them. Once a highly regarded professor of educational technology, she left academia to join her parents' small business, Pollard's Sew Creative, a sewing shop in Glendora, California.

"With the rise of technology in the sewing industry, I became intrigued by the opportunity to merge my obsession with technology, my love of fashion, and my desire for creativity," Nobile explains. Pollard's Sew Creative sells sewing machines, plus sewing and quilting necessities. The shop cultivated its community by educating people who sew and quilt--and by reaching new audiences.

"My mom believed that sharing knowledge was powerful and supplying people with techniques, original content, and quality materials that they could not find elsewhere was essential," Nobile says.

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The second-generation shop owner continues this tradition by offering in-store classes, teaching at conventions and trade shows, and offering advice online. Pollard's Sew Creative fosters a nurturing, friendly environment that welcomes sewers of all skill levels, ages, and cultural backgrounds. Regulars have been coming to the store for more than 20 years, more recently joined by a new generation of needle-wielders eager to learn how to sew, quilt, and embroider.

"These people may not be the type who were walking in before," Nobile says, "but they're very creative and enthusiastic. Ask these young shoppers why they're at Pollard's and they will tell you it's the hottest new hobby."

Nobile has found a way of giving back to her community by creating a new one, bringing together generations and members from a variety of cultures. "Sewing is a universal language where identity and creativity connect all communities regardless of who you are and where you come from," Nobile says. "Pollard's is not only bridging the gap by reaching sewers of all generations, we're speaking the same language in a new context."