Whidbey Inspiration becoming a family affair in downtown

Lynn Copeland and her grandson Mike Williams work together at her store Whidbey Inspiration in downtown Oak Harbor. - Sara Hansen/Whidbey News-Times
Lynn Copeland and her grandson Mike Williams work together at her store Whidbey Inspiration in downtown Oak Harbor.
— image credit: Sara Hansen/Whidbey News-Times

When Whidbey Inspiration owner Lynn Copeland needed help, her grandson was there to lend a hand.

Since working with his grandma for less than two months, Mike Williams said he’s learned a lot from her. He took over the embroidery aspect of the business and was a natural with the machine.

“I’m getting closer and closer to being a master at this thing,” Williams said.

From logos to signature patches on quilts, Williams is able to navigate the bobbins filled with thread and create the images his grandma’s clients ask for.

“He has a very strong work ethic,” Copeland said. “I decided to bring him in so I could take back alterations.”

Whidbey Inspiration is a multifaceted store that sells custom jewelry, and offers embroidery services, tailoring and alterations.

Copeland is well versed with bridal alteration too.

Before Williams started working with her, Copeland couldn’t focus on the alteration side of her business. Now that he’s there, it frees her time for that again.

Copeland opened the business seven years ago and moved to the downtown location on 810 S.E. Pioneer Way last year. She’s been sewing for years. She makes the jewelry in the store, and so does her daughter, Karen Daughtry.

“She was my inspiration for opening,” Copeland said. “Mike makes it a family business, and he’s excited to be here.”

Daughtry is William’s aunt, and like her and his grandma, he’s also learning to make jewelry. Anything he is able to pick-up and help his grandma out with, he’s willing to do.

Copeland said she’s even taught him to do some of the more simple alterations, such as hemming pants. Williams said he’s never sewn before, but loves learning his grandma’s trade.

Recently Copeland said she taught Williams how to sew a set of pajamas, so he’s learning more of the trade each and every day.

Besides just working with his grandma, Williams wants to follow in her shoes by becoming a registered nurse and working in labor and delivery like she used to.

Before opening the store, Copeland worked as a nurse until health issues made it problematic to stay in the  profession. That’s why her daughter encouraged her to launch the business when she couldn’t be a nurse anymore.

And he’s also helping to grow the business. Williams said he’s learning how to digitize all images so he can take any picture and transfer it to an embroidery format. He also is branching out by making embroidery book marks with the machine for the store as well. Each one takes 30,000 to 40,000 stitches to complete, Williams said. Once he masters digitizing, he plans to start making his own designs and putting his own twist into the work.

Copleand said she loves the initiative and enthusiasm he’s shown for the work and how he puts his own personal touch into what he makes.

“He’s becoming a strength to this company,” Copeland said.”He takes a lot of pride in what he’s doing.”

When asked about how work has affected their relationship, both said it’s actually made it stronger.

“I love my grandma,” Williams said. “She can be the boss when she needs to be.”


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