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Pillow Talk

What's Wrong with My Sewing?

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About The Book

Perfect for fans of One Day You’ll Thank Me and Capital Gaines, the star of Southern Charm and cofounder and CMO of Sewing Down South reveals how he turned his passion for sewing into a profitable enterprise and a fulfilling life, while also taking us behind-the-scenes of one of Bravo’s most popular shows.

As a young boy sitting at a sewing machine in home economics class, Craig Conover had no idea that this hobby would one day change his life for the better. Growing up in Delaware, Conover experienced cruel bullying and suffered from severe anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder that robbed him of his childhood confidence and made him crave success. But while law school in Charleston seemed to provide him the direction he needed, Conover spent years searching for meaning and passion in life. The chance to become a cast member on Bravo’s Southern Charm promised to provide that.

Though the show gave Conover his shot at fame and fortune, it also offered destructive temptations that fed his insecurities. As the show increased in popularity, he sank deeper into procrastination and self-doubt. Unable to take control of his life, Conover quickly lost his job, his girlfriend, and his motivation. Then, at his lowest point, Conover turned to his passion—sewing—and slowly pulled himself out of the spiral. A chance phone call from an old friend gave Conover the support he needed to turn his hobby into a business. Soon after, Sewing Down South was borne and became an overnight success, with Conover launching a multi-state “Pillow Party Tour,” being featured on HSN, and opening a retail store in downtown Charleston.

Now, Conover reveals the full story of the drama that swirled around him on the show—both on screen and off—and how it led to the founding of Sewing Down South. He talks about how he was able to turn his passion into his work and reclaim the direction of his life. Most of all, Conover reveals how anyone can find the purpose and fulfillment they deserve.

Excerpt

Chapter 1: A Boy from Delaware 1 A BOY FROM DELAWARE
In the second season of Southern Charm, I brought my friends Shepard Rose and Whitney Sudler-Smith to my home in Ocean View, Delaware. We played golf, they met my parents, and during dinner one evening, Whitney told my mom and dad that he was worried about me.

“He’s wasting his talents, staying up and partying all night,” said Whitney. “He goes out every night. How do we give him a kick to get his life in order?”

I was horrified. I managed to keep it together in front of my parents, but the next morning on the links, I let Whitney have it. I was furious that he would reveal these things to my parents, especially after I asked him not to.

“It’s out of concern and love, man,” replied Whitney. “You’re a bit of a mess right now.”

He wasn’t wrong. I was falling deeper into the “Neverland” world of Charleston, living like a celebrity, and losing any drive I once had. I’d recently been fired from my job as a law clerk for repeatedly coming in late. Hell, I hadn’t even graduated from law school because I was still shy one credit—though no one, not even my family, knew that yet. And I blurted it all out in a moment of frustration and clarity.

“Every day I’m stressed out as fuck,” I finally said to them. “My rent’s fucking sky-high. I’m spending too much money. Half the time I’m embarrassed to tell you guys because I don’t want you to look down on me. You guys are doing great right now. I’m running away from the truth. This is the first time I’m admitting to myself out loud that, yeah, something needs to change because shit’s not going right right now.”

It would be some time still before I used these words to change myself. I had a long journey ahead of me… and it would get much worse before it started to get better. But while I could at least admit that something was wrong with the direction of my life, that’s not why I had exploded at Whitney.

I wasn’t pissed because what he said was inaccurate; I was pissed because there was no good reason why I was failing and miserable. Maybe I had just been a spoiled brat as a kid, indulged by indifferent parents. Maybe I had always been kind of a failure, struggling through grade school and always the last picked for sports. Maybe I just hadn’t ever been taught hard work or discipline, coasting through childhood without consequences.

Whitney and Shep didn’t see that. Instead, they saw my bedroom with my many awards and trophies, both athletic and academic. They saw my parents, tender and good-hearted, whose love and devotion to their children was just as strong that day as it had been when my brother and I were first born. In just twenty-four hours, they had caught a glimpse of the boy I had been, surrounded with love and gifted with so many of the blessings that really mattered in life: family, values, intelligence, and a sense of responsibility.

What happened to this boy? Why did he grow up to be this wayward and lost young man they knew in Charleston? There was no reason, no evidence, that explained the difference between man and child. I had been given every opportunity to realize my potential, and yet I was wasting them all. Why?

It wasn’t a question I was prepared to answer at that moment, but I also wasn’t that interested (yet) in answering it. My little outburst on the golf course was real, if also a bit disingenuous. I believed all these things; I just wasn’t ready to fix any of it.

At the time, I was upset because I didn’t want my parents to worry. I had tried very hard to keep the truth of what was happening in my life concealed from them. I would straighten myself out, I just needed time.

Looking back, I can admit that I was just terrified of my own shame. In fact, I was riddled with shame—and guilt. All the things that Whitney saw in Ocean View, I saw too. I saw the enormous love of my parents and the sacrifices they had made for my brother and me. I saw the accolades and awards that seemed to foreshadow success. I saw the comfort and safety of a home that encouraged me to dream big and reach my potential. I saw the person I was supposed to be. And every day I looked in the mirror at the person I had become. To avoid seeing that person, to save my ego from the debilitating guilt, I had learned ways to hide from myself. I became very good at it, to be honest. But those methods—the partying, the drinking, the staying out late—were also what intensified the guilt in those terrible moments of clarity.

Going home to Delaware forced me to stare at that boy in the mirror. The boy who had been given everything he needed to succeed and realize his dreams. I had left my home in Ocean View to conquer the world on my terms. I had returned exhausted and broke.

So who was that boy? Where did he come from, and how did he grow up?

About The Author

Photograph by Ryan De Neff

Craig Conover is one of the stars of Bravo’s Southern Charm and the cofounder and CMO of Sewing Down South. He is a graduate of the College of Charleston and the Charleston School of Law, and he currently resides in Charleston.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (March 29, 2022)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982187484

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