Insane idea

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately and realizing that there are no knitting stores in my town that I just moved to. I mean, there’s Hobby Lobby and that has a small selection of good yarn/needles. It’s pretty much just one aisle. Walmart has some stuff but not a huge selection. Your only options are to drive 40 miles to Tulsa or order on the internet for good yarn/help/classes/etc.
There IS a club that I attend with wonderful ladies and there are twice a week knit-ins.

I would like to open a knitting/yarn store in my town but I wouldn’t know the first place to begin. Plus I’m a beginner - I can want a store to open but it’s not fair to open one myself with such little knowledge on the subject - just a love of it…it’s not fair to those who go there.

I think there’s a market for it - I’m not really worried about that - just worried about the other aspect of it…my newbie status.

Maybe get one of the ladies from the knitting club to go in with me on it?

Thoughts? :knitting:

Definitely get partners with expertise in knitting and experience in business (and ideally someone with money). Starting a business now, with loans so difficult to come by is not an easy task. There are often volunteer-staffed offices who will advise start ups on all the how-tos. Perhaps there’s one in your town or nearby.

Do your homework. See if the knitters in your area would really buy yarn at retail. Over the past 10 years, there have been several knitting stores that open and closed shortly thereafter in my area. Their prices just couldn’t compete with on-line discounts out there. As much as I wanted to support them, I couldn’t bring myself to pay what they were charging.

I’m sure you could find an experienced knitter to help out with instruction and classes–we love to share our craft; staying in business would be my primary concern.

I would never open a new business with today’s economy being what it is–and with very little hope of improving, too. If you have lots of extra money lying around that you don’t need and never want to see again, then go right ahead.

Sorry to be so negative, but it just does not make sense to pour money into an iffy business–especially a business based on a craft, which while certainly fun, relaxing, and exciting, is NOT essential to living life.

I have seen so many small businesses open and shortly close here in my part of Texas, and we have a fairly low unemployment rate. People everywhere, including knitters, are tightening their belts and spending less.

It’s up to you, of course, but I would strongly advise against it. Add that to the fact that often when you immerse yourself in a craft from the business side of it, you soon become sick of the craft and never want to do it again. Consider my cousin who years ago decided she wanted to machine quilt as a business. She pretty much HATES quilting now!

Thanks so much for y’alls insight! And don’t worry about being “negative” - reality is not a horrible thing!

I’ve found a couple opportunities through sprigster.com/boost a hero crowd funding for veterans (which I am - medically retired since 2010) - and the VA offers small business loans.

As far as it being a niche market, that is definitely something to consider. I’m going to talk to the ladies in the knitting guild I go to and see what they think…see if maybe some of them want to come in on it or at least teach classes/etc.

Thanks so much! :muah: :hug: :thumbsup:

Good luck with it! Keep us updated on what you decide to do and how it’s going.

From what I hear around the shop my LYS is not doing as well as it once was. Those of us who spend a lot of time in there are keeping our fingers crossed it doesn’t close.

What we love about our LYS -

Free Friday night social knitting group. On a busy night there’s maybe 12-15 people. Most of us do buy our yarn there to help support. I’ve heard of stores charging for social knitting. Bad idea. Most of us would find somewhere else to sit, knit and chat.
Free Tuesday night spinning group.
A pretty good variety of quality yarn. Some expensive, some less so.
Regular sales.
Lots of classes for knitting and crochet projects. You pay before, but most if not all the $ goes to the teacher and you are supposed to buy your yarn there. There are beginner classes and certain times where you can drop in, pay the teacher and get help.

They also have Super Bowl parties and “slumber” parties where we wear our jammies and slippers and knit, eat, play games, look and purchase yarn with the discount coupon in our goodie bag. It’s 6-10:30, not all night.

I know far more about business than I do knitting, so I can help with some of that, at least.

Start with some basic research to give you some rough idea of your fixed costs. Rent for a space, salaries, utilities, etc. Call a commercial realtor to get an idea of the range of rents for the size space you need/want. Contact a few of the yarn suppliers to find out their requirements for purchase, stocking, etc. to get some idea of what your monthly inventory costs might be based on how much you have to buy at a time. Talk to people who already own yarn shops in other towns to get a rough idea of their costs, challenges, etc.

Take those numbers, divide by the number of knitters you know are in town and you get some idea of how much each of those people need to spend on a monthly basis for you to not go under. (Spend on anything - classes, yarn, notions.) 100 knitters spending $100 a month = $10,000, which sounds like a lot but might be just barely enough to keep the whole thing afloat if costs are lowish where you are. But if you can’t make that number work, you’ve got a losing proposition before you start. So please, please, please, don’t go into debt trying to force it to work. (I do small biz consulting and most of our clients are people who got themselves in over their heads, didn’t understand business and can’t breathe for all the debt now.)

Additional questions that should be part of your business plan, things that a more experienced knitter might be able to help answer:

  • Just what benefit does a yarn shop bring over a guild, say? A guild can provide everything except for products, really. (My quilt guild has a library, even.) Given how easy it is to get things on the internet, would a guild be a better option? (Seriously, I live in Dallas and there’s a yarn shop I could walk to from my house (if my car were broken :slight_smile: and I still get my yarn online most of the time. I only go there to take the occasional class.)

  • What is the primary thing you want the yarn shop to deliver for your community? Is there a different way to do that? (Kind of an extension of the previous question.) If it’s being able to see yarns in person, could you be a wholesaler for a yarn company and get samples to show. (Kind of like being a Mary Kay lady, only for yarn!)

  • Do you have some idea for your shop that would make it so amazing people would drive the 40 miles from Tulsa to come? Or 100 miles from somewhere else? What would it take to be that amazing? You’re asking people to choose you over everyone else. Give them a great reason to do so.

And, as usual when it comes to biz stuff, I have no short answers. :slight_smile: Happy to expand on anything here or answer other questions.

Don’t lose sight of your dream before researching all avenues. Keep us posted.

Sorry, but I’m with the negative crowd. This is not a good time to start a business, especially a niche business like this one. What I would suggest is that your group of ladies go talk to the manager at Walmart. See if you can talk him into stocking more yarn. Tell him what you want. I have two Walmarts in my town. One has a lot of craft things including yarn, the other is phasing all theirs out. There’s no demand for it on that part of town. Maybe if he sees your interest in yarn, he might stock more of it for you. The other thing with Walmart is that you can order online and have it delivered to your home for about 97 cents for some orders. You also have the option of having it shipped to your local Walmart and picking it up there at no charge.

Sometimes having it delivered right to your door is a time and gas saver. And you and your valuable time are worth it. If you do have to drive to a store, why not carpool with the other ladies and split the cost of gas? It’s a great excuse for a road trip and ladies’ day out.

Being from Oklahoma I know our economy is stronger than most. I saw a new craft store open up locally. I think that you could make it work but you should have enough capital to carry you for a year to give the business time to gain a following. Good luck and let me know if you go for it I will be a customer for sure!

What about opening a different type of LYS? Not the type that needs thousands and thousands of dollars of inventory, the main reason LYS’s close up shop.

Think about a shop that offers a limited stock of good yarn…and patterns to go with…
and the schtick of the shop would be KNITALONGS.

Offer to teach the knitalong classes (for a fee…aka profit)

Offer to teach a 2-hr Beginner Knitting Class for free when materials are purchased at your shop. (for example: a nice yarn is offered, good for a pretty scarf…you’ll teach the person to knit it if she buys the yarn) Minimum class size of at least 4, but no more than 6.

The free Beginner Knitting classes would generate a profit by the sale of the yarn. You also generate customer loyalty. Have ‘other classes’ ready to sell to them. If someone wants to learn to knit the scarf with their own yarn, then charge a fee for the class.

Another idea is offering to teach knitting in the home, on a party plan basis. If the hostess scrapes together 5 friends for a knit night, you’ll come and teach the class at her home. She pays nothing. You might offer her a gift of yarn as well. The 5 friends need prepayment before you come. The hostess collects the cash or money orders before you come. That way you are guaranteed to be paid a minimum amount for your two-hour gig.

At these knitting classes, you could bring yarns for sale, too. (profit for you) Other small accessories, too…depending on what you want to pre-buy. But it certainly wouldn’t be on the scale of investment that an LYS has!

Anyway, just saying…

In today’s world, as in the past, new businesses need to fill a NICHE. Something that’s needed,
but also [U]something that’s missing from your area[/U].

Definition of NICHE:
A [B]niche market[/B] is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing. So the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the [COLOR=Black]demographics[/COLOR] that is intended to impact. It is also a small market segment.

I would never go into business with a friend. Sure fire way to end the friendship, that’s for shore!
Family as partners???..naw…don’t do it. Ask family to help you set up the Knitting in the Home gigs!