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Old 04-29-2007, 08:40 AM   #1
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I have the chance to OPEN A YARN STORE! Am I insane?
Ok, here's the skinny.

I feel weird even putting it into words but here goes:

The long part is that dh is moving his business into a temporary office space while he rebuilds his studio. He looked at a space and liked it and then after telling me about it, offhandedly said, "When I move back into the studio, you can open a YARN STORE!!!!"

I can open a yarn store.

The upside: I can open a yarn store.

The downside: There are already a ton of yarn stores in my area. There is one (maybe even 2) within 10 - 15 minutes drive of the location he's renting. I love the ladies at this yarn store. I would be in direct competition with the ladies at this yarn store.

This is my dilemna.
Like I said, there are a lot of yarn stores in my area.

What to do? What do you all think? Really, is this an insane idea or what?

What would make my yarn store different from the others in the area that would make people come there, maybe not instead of the others but to my yarn store, too?

I'd love to be the yarn store with a twist of some kind. I would love to have people say "Yes, I go to such and such's store but I also go to Susan's store cause she carries this and no one else carries it." I just have to figure out what that would "thing that no one else has" would be.

Thanks in advance for input and advice.

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Old 04-29-2007, 08:45 AM   #2
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im not sure what you should do... but that opportuntiy sounds sooo awesome!!!!! Good luck deciding what you're going to do! xxx
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:18 AM   #3
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As much as we all dream of having a wool shop that we can treat as a personal stash, or get rich from KNITTING! the fact that you could open a shop and intend to provide great service etc. doesn't mean it will be profitable. Most businesses go under soon after opening and suck up money before they flop.
With other shops competing and nearby, you would maybe need a really fantastic draw to get people in. You'd need tons of market research. Please be careful the idea of WOOL ALL AROUND doesn't tempt you to do something unwise!
To be objective I think you might need to forget completely about the wool part and just figure out what expenses and profits you expect and base your decision on that and don't be generous in your estimates... be conservative. Like when you swatch and you're desperate to get started on a project so you want the swatch to be right but you can't stretch the swatch even a teeny bit to give the right stitch count, if you do the jumper will be too small.
If you let the wanting to get started on the jumper blind you to gauge problems that mean the jumper won't work you'll waste time and effort... if you let the wanting to run a wool shop blind you to financial problems with keeping afloat you may lose MANY thousands of dollars.
Sorry to be negative... but new businesses are a lot harder and worse-paying than people think. I'm not saying don't do it... but I am saying don't do it unless you are very confident that you will have enough custimers spending enough to pay your expenses.
Think about how much profit you'd want each year, say an income of $20 000 U.S. for example (is that a reasonable number?). Plus overheads/set-up: advertising, website, purchase stock, shelving/changes to the space, rent, power, staff, and all the many things I can't think of. That's how much you'll want to take in: your expenses plus the salary you expect. Now divide that by 52, how much does that work out to per week? Do you think customers will spend that much each week in an area with so many other shops? How much money would people need to spend each day in your shop for you to pay expenses and get your salary?

If I were to open a new business I would really like it to be a wool shop. I'd be quite happy in that kind of shop. I hope it works out that you can open a shop and make tons of money doing something you love. But it's probably not the most likely option so be super-cautious and get lots of advice and market research etc. before you jump in.

Lots of people complain about bad service at their wool shops, snobby staff, bad range of stock, pressuring to buy really expensive stuff, not wanting to help with problems, so great service and being helpful to new knitters would be a good point of difference (if the other shops don't have it).

Good luck!

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Old 04-29-2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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Wow that is a great opportunity! I think it would be tough to compete with another store that is already successful, though. Maybe you could have an area of your store where people can get a cup of coffee/tea, sit around with others and knit, share knitting ideas, etc. Kind of like a knitters hang out.
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Old 04-29-2007, 10:04 AM   #5
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How about a "Yarn Cafe"? Combine it with a coffee shop.

Some complaints I hear from younger knitters (not me, I'm old ) is that LYS's aren't geared to them. Maybe there's something in that.

Edit to add: Sorry! KnitClickChick and I have great minds that think alike -- LOL
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Old 04-29-2007, 10:15 AM   #6
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Oh it does sound like a fun idea. But...
I would consider what you know about retail and running a business. Do you have experience or training in this? Or not? And no matter what the product is retail is retail. There will be great customers and horrible ones. Buisness expenses, Etc. Yarn you would love to stock but can't afford to. Not to mention building codes and zoning issus and employees and payroll and taxes.
Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2007, 10:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Inis
How about a "Yarn Cafe"? Combine it with a coffee shop.

Some complaints I hear from younger knitters (not me, I'm old ) is that LYS's aren't geared to them. Maybe there's something in that.

Edit to add: Sorry! KnitClickChick and I have great minds that think alike -- LOL
This is EXACTLY what I was thinking! The other thing is, maybe make it a yarn/gift shop. The ONE yarn shop I've been too (I know, it doesn't make me much of an expert) has just the cutest little gift items too and knitting bags that could be purses, and a HUGE variety of buttons, so I'm thinking they draw more than just the knitter!

Best of luck with whatever you decide!
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Old 04-29-2007, 10:44 AM   #8
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There may be a market in your area for a specialty yarn store. Perhaps something like a "cruelty free" yarn store. With all of the competition you'd have to come up with an angle that would draw in some sort of niche market.

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Old 04-29-2007, 10:59 AM   #9
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Or a shop for people with wool/animal fiber allergies?
Stock up on all the alternatives for them?

I agree with newamy about this. It's retail and retail can make you hate something you love. Be sure of what you're getting into. If you know bussiness plan ahead and make up your budgets and outlines. If you don't know bussiness find someone who does and go over all the specs.

Scout the community and other yarn stores and find out what's most popular, what's most requested, etc etc.

I would definitely add coffe and tea.

Good luck!!
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Old 04-29-2007, 11:08 AM   #10
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When my LYS started up, they were in a tiny building. The shop itself was about 10' x 12'. I was absolutely astounded by how much money it took for them to get started. You must place minimum orders with the yarn companies in order to open accounts. We're talking tens of thousands of dollars on yarn stock alone.

Perhaps it would be wise to speak with some people who are already in the business to get some idea of what you need to do. Preferably not any of the shops you will be competing with.

Good luck!
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