Am dreaming of opening a craft shop,... come and tell me what your dream shop would stock(75 Posts)
well, maybe a little more than dreaming, I'm starting a business plan eek!
So what gorgeous things you would like to see in my shop?
I'm thinking, Sewing and Knitting, open to any suggestions
I know it's less of a 'thing' but I would love it if my local needlecraft shop did 1-day workshops on how to do things like quilting, knitting blanket squares, cross-stitch etc. Needlecraft can be quite intimidating to get into if your mum didn't teach you the basics and workshops would be a great way of getting new customers.
On things, I like:
- Sirdar baby bamboo wool. So nice to knit with.
- Ribbons in different colours and textures.
- Tiny beads for embroidery.
- Buttons - boring ones and bright children's ones too.
well chosen lovely patchwork fabric and other kit for quilting (hoops, thimbles, wadding etc).
Knitting/sewing group on a sat which is free, attracts people in to spend in the shop.
Locally produced wool, including hand spun/hand dyed, I want to be able to buy something special which I can't get from other places, I will and do travel to places to get extra special stuff.
Loyalty program is always good too.
this is my local one which I love
It's tiny but because the lady who runs it has such lovely taste I always end up spending more money there than at this enormous place that has everything under the sun.
yep, am already thinking of groups and social stuff, mainly because I'm desperate for a sewing group myself and there is nothing here
Loyalty program is a good idea....Thanks JackRussell
I'm designing some cross stitch / tapestry kits so I'll have those and I was also thinking of designing one that would appeal to tourists... this is a choccy box town and full of older ladies on coach trips
I don't know Sirdar Baby bamboo.... is it nice AKMD? I was thinking Rowan maybe? instead, do you think? or both?
but I'll definitely look for more local stuff
Any suggestions on quilting Tunip ?, that's something I've not tried myself
ooh yes Tunip I love those felt kits... gorgeous!
more suggestions please
I've had 2 shop ideas that I always thought could be combined into one. One would be to import Carters and Osh Kosh children's clothing as it's so reasonable in the States and so hearty! But I know nothing of import/export and all that so I quickly gave up.
The other idea I had was to do a proper children's consignment. So people would bring their children's clothes and equipment in and sell it with the shop taking a cut. Kinda like a charity shop... without the charity.
Best of luck to you!! xx
there was one of those recycling /take a cut children's shops in North East London Biped a few years ago... I think it was really quite popular
ooooh! Thanks for that. I'll have to look next time I'm up that way.
Ooh, I went to a lovely shop in Bath yesterday called The Makery! It sold lots of lovely little things like pretty buttons and ribbons, and they run workshops for all sorts from knitting to knicker making! The shop assistant in there was so friendly and helpful that I'm thinking of signing up for a few workshops even though it's about an hour from where I live!
There is a wool shop which has opened near me, which has a small coffee shop in it which is popular (homebaked goodies, tea, coffee, couple of kiddie juices). They have knitting circles a couple of times a week, I know a few M&C little groups and a couple of pensioners too have "adopted" it different mornings, and it is a way of keeping people coming in (and seeing new ideas and stock). And makes it part of the neighbourhood (llittle shopping strip in a residential area - a Spar, F&V shop, Dominos, hairdresser and an insurance broker all alongside).
They are running classes too, I think, and I keep passing it just as it closes (damn FT work ) and wanting to go in and browse, relax over a coffee while considering a pattern, perhaps knit a bit while talking to other knitters.....a few I know who can visit it during the daytimes find it really helpful, friendly, and the coffee shop means they can take their kids in and distract them with juice/flapjack while they browse the goods!! Or just have a like-minded natter with shop people or other shoppers.
A tie in with a proper framer who will stretch, mount and use non-reflective glass.
So hard to get a hold off, and my old local shop (sadly now 200 miles away) used to use a great independent framer. I'd end up taking one thing in to be framed and then buy my next project.
If memory serves, the shop took the order, framer picked them up once a week and returned them 1-2 weeks later depending on complexity.
Stylecraft Special DK (for the cheaper end - used often on the Attic24 blog)
Jarol Heritage DK
Rowan Handknit cotton
Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi
Variety of hand-dyed/handspun/art yarns & fibres
Handmade stitch markers
Handmade knitting bags/project bags
Polymer clay crochet hooks (like you see on Etsy)
Extra wide backing fabric
Good selection of good quality plain colour quilting fabrics
Jelly rolls/layer cakes/charm packs
Nice selection of FQs, which are well cut
Designer fabric (esp stuff that seems hard to get hold of here)
Buttons - preferably buy X grams for Y pounds rather than priced per button, with perhaps some packs of button sets seperate
Nice selection of quality quilting thread, esp variegated stuff
Would love all that plus a nice cafe with a little play area for toddlers and a big bookshelf so you can have a read of craft books while you drink your coffee
Sirdar Baby Bamboo is an 80/20 bamboo/wool mix. It is SO nice! I have quite sensitive skin so find a lot of wools give me prickly rashes when I knit but this one is smooth and a delight to use. Anything knitted with is has the softest, most gorgeous texture. It is fairly expensive though.
This is my LYS It is very good, I love it and they get of business off me . Actually I want to buy their business but it is run from what was once a garage attached to their family home (garage has been much extended over the years) so I doubt I will ever get the chance. <sigh> A girl can dream.
Anyway, the question is what could you do to improve it I suppose, things that you could do if you were starting from scratch. It does knitting (obviously) cross stitch and tapesty, patchwork and quilting, card making and beads plus buttons, ribbons, threads I actually think they could ditch the card making and the beads and expand their yarns into the more obscure/harder to get hold of stuff which not many people stock. It would look good on their website too as a USP. (I would have a website, definitely)
I think what I am trying to say is don't spread yourself to thin in what you think you might cover. I wonder if they even need to do the Patchwork and quilting stuff although a few simple ranges with plenty of plains and batiks should keep most people happy. They have Amy Butler and some Rowan fabrics for instance because that is part of the Patons/Rowan/Coats/Anchor group and they can get them off the same rep and everything ties in together. I don't go there for major spends on P&Q, just for little bits and pieces and emergencies (if you can have a P&Q emergency ). You would need a lot of space to be the 'go to' point for lots of different crafts I think. The start up costs would be huge.
Have something that is unique to you so that people might be prepared to travel. That could be courses as well as stock I suppose but it sounds like you could launch your own range of kits.
yes, if you're going to stock a small number of patchwork fabrics the Rowan ones are the ones to go for.
Thankyou everyone, this is brilliant!
Just dashing out now but will reply later
BBB that used to be my local too - I missed it sooo much when I moved.
Moda quilting fabrics and maybe some of your own cheaper jelly rolls/layer cakes/charm packs
i will pm you with supplier.
Can you offer sewing machine repairs ?
Oh no MrsZoidberg, I wonder if I know you!
You've now got me thinking of all the people I know who have moved away.
Hi everyone again... Had a chance to read all your replies properly now and I'm really glad that it looks like we're all on the same page
I'd love to have a space big enough for coffee and cakes but I've been looking at commercial rent this pm and am slightly horrified at price. I'm sure there must be room for negotiation though..
That baby Bamboo looks lovely AKMD , pics aren't quite as nice as mine however! mine
That's a brilliant list, thank you craftynclothy
and I agree BigBoobiedBertha I'm not going to try and stock too many different things and am definitely not doing card making stuff. Hobbycraft have that all sewn up I think!
Thankyou Nickel will pm you, and thanks to everyone else as well...
so, nighttime crowd..... if you've got this far... any recommendations?
Also meant to ask BigBoobiedBertha is your name from How to train your dragon?
As has been said, quilting supplies, definately workshops too. Also bag/purse making supplies too. Frustrates me no end when I can't find decent bag handles, fusible fleece etc etc.
Yes Ingles - you are the first person to actually notice that too! They have some great names in those books but I didn't think I was a Snotlout or a Fishlegs or even a Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third so BBB is. Me and my boys have enjoyed those books a lot
To get back to the point of the thread though, even if you can't find the space for tea/coffee etc, you could have a couple of arm chairs or do what my local shop does and have a table and chairs for people to browse through patterns and to sit and have a chat. They are also good places to park your OH if you
have the misfortune to go with somebody who isn't a fellow crafter.
Have you factored in business rates? My local bookshop has had to move from its towncentre shop to one on the edge of a park, AFAIK because of business rates as much as rent. It's a major headache for small shopkeepers, I understand.
Re viability, however, a friend of mine has a dh who works for one of the big online quilting shops and she reports that despite the recession and increases in the cost of cotton on the worldwide market, business is good, because there's such a boom in crafting at the moment. It's counter cyclical apparently - when people have less money they take up quilting (even if they then spend a blooming fortune on fabric ).
business rates are usually about half of your rent.
it's extortionate, but there's small business rate relief, which amounts to about 15% of your rates, i think.
(it's a sliding scale)
definitely do a knit'n'natter club!
I'd love to see more unusual yarn available to buy, rather than the usual Sirdar, Rowan, King Cole stuff. Of course, if you don't have much competition nearby, then they would probably be good to stock, but if there are other yarn shops not far away, they might have the more mainstream stuff covered. Agree that Sirdar snuggly baby bamboo is lovely though!
Unusual yarn would be good.
My local yarn store will take back any full unused balls, so if you buy too many for a project you can return or exchange them.
Quilting things. Nice fabric.
Fyberspates is lovely yarn. They sell their own stuff but they also supply other yarn shops. They are getting quite well known now too. I definitely have them.
Intro (beginners') craft books.
No one has mentioned bergere de france wool. They have a huge range which comes in lovely colours, and nice patterns (especially for babies and children) which I've found to be quite easy to follow. The wool washes well and seems to goes a long way - even better it's cheaper than Rowan, Debbie Bliss and Sirdar.
If there was a shop close to me that stocked this wool I'd be there like a shot - as it is I've had to resort to buying on-line.
Nowadays I think you need to have an online shop as well as the bricks-and-mortar one.
fabric is difficult to stock, but you could team up with one of the independent online retailers and offer a "next day" ordering service.
you could have samples of most of the available fabric so they can see what they're ordering.
This is my local yarn/craft store
They do a knit and natter on Tuesday mornings, baking and soup, craft workshops and I love it there.
I like examples of yarn already knitted into an article so you can see how it looks finished and there is a basket in the corner with enormous needles where you can knit a few rows of what looks like a rug.
They stock good quality material and notions plus are happy to fire up the sewing machine and explain tricky bits.
It has good food and a big wood fire so it feels homely plus an interesting play area outside.
Is it mainly the SAHMs who do quilting and crafts?
I love the idea but can't seem to devote much time to it in reality
Plus the shops are typically closed on Sundays and evenings which is when I would be most likely to go!
loads more replies, Thank you
I've got to go to supermarket, but I'll come back tonight and answer.
Hi again Thanks so much for all your advice... it really is much appreciated.
BigBoobiedBertha Love your name is from HTTYD, they are really fab books and my boys loved them as well. Have you ever listened to the audio books voiced by David Tennant? Totally Brilliant! We've spent many hours driving across France listening to them.
So back to planning... yep looked at rent and rates and c.tax etc I think I may well have to move out of the chosen town slightly if I want space for workshops, but I'll keep looking.. there is a fantastic space available on the high street But access is up stairs atm.. my initial feeling was, too difficult for the white haired brigade (hereon known as WHB) and I don't want to exclude them... I don't know how much either, so I'll have to check that out.
We have a really successful weekly farmers market in our village, people travel for miles to come...Dh thinks it might be a good idea to have a stall there for a while, spread the word around and see what the market wants... What do you all think?
Thanks for the suggestions of yarn, much appreciated.... I'm not a knitter, infact I can't knit, but having worked on craft books for years I thought I knew what I wanted... turns out I know the difference between beautiful wool and not so beautiful wool and that's about it!
The one thing I can do is take gorgeous pics of all the stock, so I'm not worried about having an on-line store.
and I am planning on Sundays and Evenings being open, because it's not just the WHB and SAHM who craft.... the rest of us just don't have much time to do it!
I can't help with stock advice but I can help with the numbers bits of the business plan and sense check it etc if you like.
Maybe over a coffee.
Only one, mind. After two of those faux-Italian-name-for-large (swimmingpoolio?) so big the cup has two handles coffees on Friday you should have seen the speed at which I mopped the kitchen floor.
PMSL Verity I had the shakes FFS!
Would love your help though... and more coffee. Maybe just not the swimmingpoolio version.
I would rather go specifically to your shop and be able to park easily & have a coffee whilst having a look through the books in a comfy chair, than for it to be in the middle of the shopping centre.
If you stock Debbie Bliss Cashmarino DK (and maybe Rowan Cashsoft DK), you will have MN orders!!
Once you have set up, get yourself a really good name for immediate posting and a great online shop.
It's great that you are starting from scratch so all the fittings etc will be new and nice and the shop will be new, freshly painted etc and not run down and 'sad/old'. I like a shop with nice fittings and fewer things than bulk shelving and masses of stuff crammed in.
I think 'attitude' is the biggest thing though - so I am sure you will do well
- Not huffing & puffing when something is 'out the back' (and the customer has the audacity to want to see it <eye roll>).
- Having an answer phone and actually returning calls.
- Listening to the (potential) customer when they ring up to ask if you have a specific wool and not answering 'yes' only to tell them (when they have driven a good distance to see it/buy it) that you thought they meant 'a different wool' and to say you thought it wouldn't matter ...
- Generally being enthusiastic about it all and not 'bored/fed up/over it'.
Can you tell I had a crap experience trying to get the last lot of wool I bought??
What area are you looking at?
GentleOtter - I am envious!!
Am totally up for that. By which I mean more, non-excessive, coffee (I had the shakes too, then a massive lethargic crash, only managed to do nursery run thanks to handful of secret Haribo stash) and help-with-boring-bits. Hell, could even man the farmers market stall for a few hours as long as no-one asked me any questions (or wanted to see examples of my previous work )
Chipping that's exactly the same position as I'm coming from.
There are 2 small craft supply shops near here (and as we're rural, I'm talking 10+ miles)
They are small, dirty, full of so many different crafts, you can't possibly see what there is and staffed by old dears who can't really answer your question and in one case, can't be bothered either (disclaimer: not all old dears are like this)
Verity I'll be taking you up on this you know!
mosaic kits... Love them. Also beads.
I agree with your instinct about it being important not to be up stairs - not just for the old ladies but also the SAHMs with buggies.
Even a few steps into the shop can stop you popping in - there was a childrenswear shop in my town that only lasted a few months and I'm sure that was one reason.
I'm sure you're right Tunip that said, we've got a really fantastic toyshop here that is up a teeny tiny stair case and they seem to do well... still, it's too much of an issue for me I think.
I've had a good old think the last day or 2 and I think I'm going to try the market first. That way, I don't have to commit to such an extent and I can do some market research on what people actually want round here. Dc are busy this pm, so I'm going to try and get more done on this business plan...Can't say I enjoy the paperwork bit
Have you approached the chamber of commerce at all? Or posted on the town forum website? The latter was LOADS of help to me when we moved, it's very active and I got some great advice about all sorts of things.
As for the paperwork, let me know any time you want to bounce anything off me or make use of my extensive spreadsheet skills, cash flow models and profit and loss predictions...
That toy shop is a nightmare. I never go in if the marauding toddlers are with me. Even on my own I find it really claustrophobic!
my best tip is about bills.
every time i receive an invoice, i put it into a sheet "bills that need paying"
invoices are paid at the end of the following month, so eg April's invoices will go on May's page.
each time i get a bill for a monthly charge (eg, notice of direct debit schedule for elec) i put all the details in each month that it will be taken.
then at the end of that month (eg april), i order them all by payee, and pay them in one go.
then when (may) comes, at the bottom of the list, i put details of all receipts of purchases in that month.
my headings are:
to whom, for what, invoice number, amount, vat amount, how paid, bank details (you only need to fill these in the first time) contact details, extra information.
i highlight them as i pay them in purple, and email them to confirm payment.
when i do my VAT return, i add them all up (invoices are vat'ed the month before) and use them to calc my vat.
at the end of the year, i add them all up for my tax return.
i also have a spreadsheet of daily takings, which is filled in every day when i cash up, and again, added up for the relevant returns.
doing this not only means you have a ready reckoner of expenses/income, it also means that you don't have to sift through hundreds of bills and invoices at the end of the tax year.
I am so excited for you
The market sounds like a good idea - what day of the week is it? No matter what day it is, a good part of your customer base wont be able to get to the market, so it may not be indicitive of your success.
Well, didn't get quite as much done as I wanted, I got distracted by an owl I'm embroidering and trying to illustrate a windmill I think might be good for a tourist cross stitch I'm back in front of it now though.
I'm actually using businesslink.gov which is fantastic!
you're right Verity that toyshop is a nightmare, but full of gorgeous things no?
Thankyou Nickel for all that advice on paperwork, I am terrible with it, But I'm going to have to bite the bullet.
And thankyou for your enthusiasm Chipping,.. the market is on thursday in my village, thats the really popular one. And then there's a mini market in town on friday so I could do 2 a week if it went well.
I'm veering towards excitement and complete fear...Dh is a bit confused because iho I've already got a pretty successful career, but after 10 yrs the commuting is just making me miserable...I need to make a change. Eeek.. If I think about it too much, I get horrible panicky feeling in my chest. <breathes into paperbag>
it'll be fine... Verity, forget the coffee, we'll need gin soon!
Oh well you know where I worked before I went all SAHM. Gin I can definitely do.
I think we're all hoping that the location of your new shop is close enough to visit!
Things I would love (sorry if repeats of above, I haven't read all of the messages)
* Late opening, even if only for one night a week
* A door that is wide enough for a pushchair and will stay open til I'm inside
* An area where I can leave a child and pushchair that is out the way of other shoppers
* somewhere reasonably close to park (or walking distance from my house!)
* a job for me
I'll have a think, I'm sure there's more!
If you are going to start with a market stall, perhaps it might be a good idea to also do some of the big needlework shows. I don't know where you are (I did a quick trawl through, sorry if I missed it) but there is bound to be one within communting distance.
If I were you I would also get the website off and running sooner rather than later. Websites aren't cheap (unless you can make a decent one yourself) but it would be a good half way house to a more expensive shop refit - if it goes well the market stall and the website could provide you with funds for your shop after a few months.
Don't skimp on advertising either - usually the first thing businesses cut in a recession but it probably should be one of the last. If you don't have one already it might be worth getting a FB, Twitter and Linked In account plus a blog. Anything that drives real and virtual traffic your way.
(Can you tell I have been working with a marketing lady to sort out DH's marketing on his business? Sorry if I am preaching to the converted on this!)
yes, one of the reasons i took the plunge was because i was fed up of having to commute (it took too much out of my day, especially sitting in traffic for up to an hour)
Hippy - even then, i still get customers who awkwardly hold the door half open with one hand while they push the pushchair with the other hand. they don't even try to push it all the way open to see if it stays!
Bertha - i know what you mean about advertising, but it really is too expensive.
one tiny advert in our local weekly paper for one issue is £60 +vat.
the size of the advert is 10cm wide (can't remember the height).
even sending out a christmas catalogue - i pay £80 per thousand for a generic books catalogue with my shop details printed on it, but to get it delivered out, royal mail have a minimum delivery of £500, which I think would cover about 3000
online things like facebook are great - fb, twitter.
definitely get a paid listing in yellow pages (inc online listing) and thompson. - yell has started to do separated listings, and in my area, it looks like i'm the only bookshop because smiths and waterstones haven't taken the paid listings.
there are loads of free online directories
Local papers are expensive Nickelbaby but you can get an ad in a knitting or cross stitch magazine for about £30 which isn't bad when you consider that those types of magazine are quite often kept for a long time and people refer back to them if they want to do a project. Local papers are either not looked at for ads or are binned pretty quickly.
The ad would be one of those thin, 2 column ads though (not massive with pictures and loads of info) and you usually have to commit to half a year.
Sorry I meant to say I know that isn't relevant to you, being a bookseller and all! Local paper is probably your only relevant place to do an ad?
yes, that's true, useful for the op!
yes, no point me trying to advertise any further afield.
Notice board with local stuff on it .. For sale etc
Lovely service!!!! Our local one is sketchy to say the least
Loan of craft books? Save buying them etc
Agree re sewing machine repairs, or be able to recmmend people who could mend etc
more brilliant advice, so thank you... Haven't done anything crafty today, we had to go to Bluewater uniform shopping and I've been a tad distracted by my trainer incident!!! here, but no-one wants to talk to me about it
Last night though I was reading through the business plan and there is a section for listing advisors and help... it did make me snigger at the thought of listing all your names,.... especially you Bertha!
What would the bank manager say?
I'm hoping to get all this stuff together over the weekend and sitting down with dh to talk
persuade . I think I've decided on a name though... Daren't tell you yet though incase you all think it's crap!
Nickel Have you decided on a date for your drinks yet? can you link me your thread, it's dropped off my list.
Fabric by Jennifer Paganelli, Kona Solids and other designers that are impossible to buy off line.
may meet up
It's the 5th May.
remanants/bargain bin deffo good idea.
also, our local knitting shop knits to order. They charge for the pattern, the wool, and the time it takes to do. They did me a lovely top, which cost £20 to make on top of the pattern and wool - and you get to keep the rest of the wool (eg half a ball) and the pattern (in case somehow you learn to knit and make another one for yourself? )
If you personally can't mend/service machines, then get a person in cahoots with you who does know how to do it. I'm sure there must be machine servicers/repairers in your locality who want more custom.
y to remnants bin.
You know how it is - you go into the shop for a bargain from the remnants bin, find the bargain you are looking for and feel so pleased with yourself you end up buying something at full price to go with it.
which is why the remnants bin should never be by the door!
Yes to remnants bin.
Have actual proper sales from time to time. Not "this one roll of fabric is half price but everything else is unchanged" & then you feel a mug for being lured in by the SALE sign and leave in high dudgeon. £1 per m off everything is better.
Gutermann (did I spell that right?) thread, not effing Coats which seems to have taken over in the UK recently, I suspect some sort of Thread Mafia conspiracy.
Plentiful elastic and velcro. Not "oh we've only got 30cm on the roll, maybe we should order some more." Wtf were you thinking? Who needs 30cm elastic? Sewing gnomes?
Amy butler/tilda type fabric
Decent base/utility fabrics (denim/canvas/homespun/calico/plain cottons) at reasonable prices
A great big noticeboard of useful stuff: local craft fairs, knitting cafes, machine repairers, dressmakers (for rescuing your disasters), lessons etc. And active encouragement for people to leave cards up there.
Reading with envy - did you ever get it off the ground Ingles?
it did Monica I opened 4 weeks ago...
I started a new thread [http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/arts_and_crafts/1653366-So-does-anyone-remember-I-was-dreaming-of-opening-a-craft-shop here]]
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