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Friday, 4 April 2008

My shop

My shop is small, too small for the amount of stock I carry. So at times it looks cluttered and messy. I try very hard to keep things people want, though it is not possible to keep up with all the latest trends in yarn and crafts. The cross stitch section tries to cover a good variety of kits, though you will never have everything that customers want.
The embroidery threads are Venus. They are popular as they are only 40p a skein. I have conversion charts from DMC and Anchor and can usually supply a colour that is needed.
The card making I inherited from the previous owner, although I am not an expert I have made my own cards. But with so many new things on the market, we do not have everything the crafter wants.
The biggest seller is the Stylecraft DK, at £1.20 a 100g ball, and with the full range of colours and a large selection of pattens, these tend to form the major part of our sales.
Some of the other yarns like Stylecraft Life and Kon Tiki are getting more popular. Although slightly more expensive both are a dream to work with, and the finished results more than make up for the extra money.
The shop has been established for over 50 years, it has to be said it is old fashioned and quaint. But in a small town customers can be thin on the ground. When I took over I had high hopes of establishing a web site to maybe sell further afield. A friend kindly set it up, but it was beset by problems. Pictures would not load, it never really got off the ground.
Recently I have looked into the possibility of having a professional site set up. Unfortunately the cost was too high.
I have another 18 months or so on my lease. I do not think I will be renewing it. Having only recently been able to start paying myself a wage of £50 a week, I do not think anyone else would want to take it on. Well not as a wool shop anyway. As the shop has been there nearly as long as I have been alive, it seems a shame that like so many others it will disappear.
Has the old fashioned wool shop had it day? There are so many other outlets now, the internet, shopping TV and even big stores running promotions on cheap yarns. I offer help and advise to anyone who asks, and do not care if the pattern or yarn were bought elsewhere. We also offer a mending service, and will happily show a newbie how to do something. None of these things are available elsewhere.
I love my shop, and I love the customers. It is just that there are not enough of them. Have I been doing something wrong? Or is it just a sign of the times and small specialist shops have had their day?

8 comments:

Susan said...

I don't think you've been doing anything wrong, it is, like you say, a sign of the times.
I don't know if it's because these sort of crafts aren't as popular as they used to be or if it's because of online shopping but it's a shame that shops like yours have to close down - we've lost a few in my town.

I hope things pick up for you.

knitternicky said...

Hi Paula, I hope things pick up for the shop. I'll keep my fingers crossed. It's a shame i live so far away as i would be a very eager customer. Your prices are very reasonable. Now I've stumbled onto your blog I will try to keep popping in. Nicky :-)

PaulaC said...

Thank you both. I was feeling a bit down this week as trade has been so slow. Roll on the proper summer and visitors back in town, hopefully with some money to spend.:)

Nutty Knitter said...

Hi Paula
I went to the Nottingham show this weekend. I spoke to some of the ladies there. Their opinion is that quite a few people are coming back to knitting after a lapse of some years (raising a family does take up a lot of your time).I noticed quite a few of the younger generation there enquiring about wool and machines. Let's hope this is the beginning of the knitting revival.
I got a web site done by someone in in the USA, I can let you have the price and details if you are interested, very reasonable. You can see the website airportinformationcentre.com
Best regards

knitternicky said...

Hi Paula, Have you ever tried selling on Ebay, your prices are very comparable and would be a way of selling online without having to go to the exspense of a website. I've sold personal stuff on there and that is quite striaght forward but I'm not sure about the shops set up I have to confess. I just thought it was an idea worth putting forward.

PaulaC said...

Yes I have noticed more people coming into knitting lately too. Though they don't seem to live round here:(
I have thought about ebay selling too, as I have sold a few personal things as well.
At the moment I am 99% sure I will give up the shop at the end of the summer. I am very tired and don't think I can face another winter taking next to nothing but still paying bills.

sarah said...

Every time another local yarn shop closes down it is a sad loss to the local community. We have lost 3close to where I live and am now left with no choice but to go to an expensive modern shop which stocks some lovely yarn, but much of it is beyond my means.
I now rely on picking up bargains at shows or online and feel guilty whenever I do. I hope you are able to keep going.

PaulaC said...

Oh Sarah I know how you feel, and I will feel very guilty when I close too. If we have a very very good summer, I may be tempted to stay. But judging by last year, I am not hopeful:(