In 1969, twenty-two year old Ernest (Skip) Bewley began his "Diggin for Your Business" career with the home sewing machine industry when he joined the Singer Company. He had earlier spent time learning the ropes of the door to door sales business selling Kirby vacuums.
Selling came early and naturally to Skip as he discovered that sales were the key to a successful and rewarding paycheck. As a teenager, Skip worked in a Shell station near a Singer store where he would gas and service the Singer trucks. Soon he was selling equipment to keep the trucks running and saw his reward in his paycheck at the end of the week. The Singer store manager stopped in to see the "guy who was taking all the profit away from his store." Upon learning of Skip's tender age – he told him to "come see me when you turn 21."
When Skip joined the Singer company, he quickly became the top sales associate in the Lafayette Square Singer store in Indianapolis. This resulted in an opportunity to attend the Dallas Singer Training School where he was able to learn vaulable lessons in sales from none other than Howard Thomas. Skip went on from this training to earn the highest Singer honor from the school, the Diamond Torch of Knowledge. By 1971, after only two short years, Skip was promoted to Assistant Manager and soon moved on to managing the first of his six stores with Singer. At every step he excelled and was promoted. Skip was consistently in the top tier in his region thereby winning him many sales trips and awards.
Skip went on to become a Regional Training Manager for Singer under Jim Ward regional manager and began a career of not only selling, but also training others to sell. Skip completed over thirteen years with the Singer Company when he left to open his own store. He owned and operated his own sewing centers on the westside of Indianapolis and suburbs. During this time Skip developed a program to expand sales through the use of marketing at both county and state fairs as well as providing sales and service to the schools throughout the state of Indiana.
In 1983 Skip, feeling confined by the walls of his stores, realized it was time to venture beyond them. He joined Price, Shimmin a notions company and began his "on the road" sales venture. He subsequently worked for Muskin and Davis Fabric Company, Sulky, JHB Button, and Horn of America as an independent representative.
In 1989 he was approached by the New Home Sewing Machine Company - now Janome of America - and began a new phase of his life. Still on the road, he was now able to return to his first love – home sewing machines 20 years after he first began the journey. With Janome Skip has had the opportunity to meld together many or his aquired talents with sewing machines, sales, training, and travel all combined.
Skip has completed more than 22 years with Janome and has achieved many milestones. He was the first District Sales Manager in the history of Janome to become a "Million Dollar Man" with the introduction of the 11000. To this day he continues to be the top salesman in more than 17 of those 22 years as he has used his expertise to train dealers both in his region as well as others in the United States to increase sales through the use of promotion at State Fairs, home shows, mall sales. He continues to constantly look for and develop ways to help his dealers. Skip has developed ways to increase the sales and profits of his dealers through selling right along side the dealers in the trenches, Fairs, Home Shows, Quilt shows. Introducing new programs and training his dealer's employees to demonstrate the Janome machines with confidence. Skip brought many dealers in his region to the top 5 and top 10 dealer ranking in the United State selling Janome products.
Throughout his career Skip has had the opportunity to provide sales training to up-and- coming dealers, aiding those who are interested in expanding and improving business, as well as those who are just in the beginning stages of opening a new store for the first time. The success of Skip in "Digging for your Business" will continue to be evident in the people in the industry he has had the opportunity to serve.
2012 Sewing Industry Hall of Fame inductee.