Most people probably don’t know that I became a business major so that I can start my own yarn shop when I graduate, but that is indeed my plan. With all of the classes I am taking and all that I am learning, my dreams are becoming closer and closer to reality, and I like to think that I am only 3 years away from realizing this goal. My amazing friend Karen and I have been talking about starting our own store for years now, and tonight my noggin is working full force on ideas for this amazing place that we will own and make awesome. Hopefully this blog will be a place to expand my thoughts and ideas, get feedback, and talk about all things fiber! 🙂
When I close my eyes, I see a picture of the store in my mind. I know where the doors are placed, and what they look like. I know what kind of wood it has. I see squashy armchairs surrounding a coffee table that has knitting magazines and a bowl full of needles and spare yarn for customers to fool around on and figure things out. This table and chairs ensemble is in front of a stone fireplace (whether or not it will be a working fireplace remains to be seen). When you walk in the door, the cash register is to the left, the yarn is up and to the right, and the whole place has an open, sunny, light feel. In the back there is a door leading to an office, another to a bathroom, and stairs leading up to the small apartment that I will occupy. Out front there is a porch with a rocking chair or two on it, and baskets full of our sale yarn, while in the back there are french-style doors leading to a small grassy, out-door area with a bench where customers can relax and knit outside. This is where we could grow our dye plants. We could also have some of Karen’s bunnies out there in outdoor hutches (or inside on rainy days), and customers could feed and pet them. We could sell the babies from the shop as well.
Karen and I would both teach classes, of course, probably with me teaching the basics and Karen teaching advanced techniques (she’s a way more advanced knitter and spinner than I am). We have also been kicking around an idea for a Breast Cancer Knitting Retreat, where women who are battling/have battled breast cancer can come for a relaxed weekend of knitting, spinning, group/individual therapy, and general wellness with other women who know what you’ve been through. There are many reasons why this is a great idea, but two of my favorites are: 1. knitting is a great past time for anyone who will be spending a lot of their time either waiting in doctor’s offices/hospital rooms, or resting at home incapable of much activity, because it gives you something repetitive to do to take your mind off things and keep your hands busy, and you have wonderful, beautiful things to show for it at the end. 2. the motions necessary for using a drop spindle require you to stretch out your arm and chest, which could be good exercise for someone who has had reconstructive surgery in that area (note: we should probably do more research on this to make sure it is helpful instead of harmful before we advertise it as such). This program is something that really excites me and I think would be very rewarding and wonderful to set up.
Knit for the homeless – this is something my roommate and I are planning on starting this winter. The two of us are simply going to knit plain scarves, hats, mittens, etc. and then walk around in downtown Burlington and distribute to those in need. Depending on how it goes, I may want to look into starting something on campus where we get involved with COTS or something, but we’ll start small.
Selling local yarn – in addition to selling commercial yarn and our own yarn, I think we should have as large a supply of local input as possible. Everything from dye plants/dyes to handmade shawl pins to yarn to roving from local animals. Make our shop a place where the community can support us and we can support them!
Customer Input – Allow customers to fill out a survey telling us what products they would like us to sell. If they have a favorite yarn, needle, or notion that they would like us to provide for them, they can let us know and we’ll do our best. I have also been thinking about how cool it would be to give our phone numbers to our regular customers (such as the knitting group if we end up starting out in Montgomery), and if the inspiration hits them or they really need something at a time when we’re not open they could call us and we could open the shop for an emergency session.
So many ideas are swirling around in my head, but that’s enough for the first post. Please feel free to comment with any ideas or thoughts you have!