Wednesday, October 29, 2008

From Crafter to Craft Store Owner

My journey to being a self-employed craft store owner has had many twists & turns.

I spent many years doing crafts for my own & others enjoyment. I taught myself to crochet 25 years ago because I wanted to make a blanket & hat for my soon to be born 1st child. From a simple blanket & hat I blossomed into doilies, ornaments, afghans, picture afghans, dolls, stuffed animals and the list goes on. During those years I taught myself plastic canvas, counted cross stitch, a little cake decorating and a few other crafts. Some of these I still do, some not. Two years ago I took up wire work to make jewelry and then bead work.

I opened my first store to mainly sell the jewelry I was making along with beads and beading supplies. Soon I was getting approached by people asking for other craft items. I resisted getting into a full fledged craft business for awhile. After some thinking & lots of discussion with my partner we decided to go for it.

We live in a small town/city and one thing it doesn't have is a craft store. Some might think, Aha I have a captive market so I can charge what I want. But my philosophy, be it right or wrong, is to make a profit (something every business wants) but not gouge my customers. Being a frugal (cheap) shopper myself I try to price according to what I would pay for an item. So far this formula has worked. I'm happy and more importantly my customers are happy. I have been fortunate to receive comments of "You're cheaper than Michael's & Walmart" on many of my items from many people.

I also offer a service many places don't, it's actually a motto for my store and in my advertising. "If we don't have it, we'll do our best to get it!" I let people browse through my supplier catalogues and order in exactly what they want. This has brought me many a happy customer, better yet, many referrals. Offering this type of service can, of course, backfire if people don't come in for their order. Luckily this has happened only once and with something that was easy to sell to someone else.
So as my journey continues, as I know all journey's must if you want to learn, I look forward to meeting many new people, expanding the relationships with current customers and just having fun.
Until Next Time
Manitoba Mom

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