Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Advice for Mia and other potential store owners

I recently received a very nice note from a beader and crafter who is interested in opening her own shop where she lives. She wanted to ask me for advice. After being open almost eleven years with Ornamentea, and opening and closing Panopolie in the space of five years I probably do have some things to say about the whole craft store business and some of them are even appropriate for our family-friendly blog! So, Mia, this is for you:

Be prepared to work really hard.
Business owners clock long hours for the first 12-15 years of their business. 
Have fun. 
If it fails, it is your fault 
because you didn’t work hard enough. 
If it succeeds, it will be because your staff did a great job and your
local community supported you. 
Feel lucky to be doing what you love. 
Hire great help and be nice to them. 
Tell them daily how much they are doing for you.
Choose the right location. 
I think a spot close to your house is ideal. 
Remember, you’ll be at the shop a lot and back-and-forth a lot. 
Know your merchandise but don’t 
fall in love with your merchandise. 
Know what to focus on and what just will have to fall off your plate. 
Be friendly with your customers. 
Make your store a comfortable place. 
Embrace the Next Big Thing but 
don’t forget your core business. 
Love your community.
Run ads in high school year books, theater play bills and bead society newsletters. 
Feel lucky to be doing what you love. 
Think of your store shelves as real estate.
Valuable, valuable real estate. 
Put a map to your store in every ad you can. Keep your store as clean as possible. 
Clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be crafty.
Take time off when you can. 
Read craft publications. 
Make friends with other local store owners and your competitors. 
Enjoy being overworked. 
Say hello to everyone who enters your shop.
Introduce yourself. Welcome them to your store. 
 Sweep your front walk every morning. 

Remember you are doing this because 
you love creating.

I hope you enjoy this Mia.
To answer the question you didn’t ask but should have; yes, I consult for store start ups.

Updated and reworked on April 29, 2013