I opened my own yarn and craft store after about 10 years of working for others in the same type of shop. My title is store manager/owner.
Every day is incredibly busy, even if there are no customers in the shop. As a small business owner, everything is my responsibility, but I love my job, as I am my own boss.
Each morning, I have to verify the amount of cash in the register and go to the bank for small bills and change if necessary. I check my e-mail and the status of orders. Bills need to be verified and paid. If there is a billing problem, I have to call to straighten it out right away.
Deliveries come throughout the day, and must be inventoried and put on the shelves immediately. Displays must be kept neat, and more product ordered as needed. Sales reps drop by to sell advertising or product. Customer questions need to be answered and their purchases rang up at the register. Sometimes they request special items that need to be ordered. I make knitted samples of new yarns as part of their display. To encourage pattern purchases, I will make a sample of it. Although it may look like I am simply knitting, this is a proven marketing technique and does increase sales!
At the end of the day the register tapes must be run, cash verified, and bank deposit made. Email is checked again. Orders are placed with online vendors. Every square inch of the store is dusted and vacuumed, and glass and mirrors are cleaned.
This job does move my heart! For any knit or crochet enthusiast, yarn is essential. To be surrounded by every color of the rainbow in a great variety of fibers is heaven! My love of knitting and crochet developed my love of yarn, which in turn encouraged me to open my own shop. I would not change one bit of how I got where I am today.
One hard learned lesson was not to order anything for a customer who is not willing to put down a deposit. I had only been open for a few months when a customer came in saying she wanted to make a king size afghan, all in purple, which required a special order. When the yarn was delivered, the customer changed her mind, so I was stuck with the 25 skeins of yarn.
The most important thing I’ve learned outside of school about the working world is if you cannot afford to replace it out of pocket, insure it. Accidents can and DO happen.
The strangest thing that ever happened to me on the job occurred one spring day. It was so nice outside I decided to prop the door of my shop open. A Labrador puppy came running in, leash dragging behind him. He ran back and forth and all around the store – there wasn’t a prayer of catching him, he was too quick! Then a man ran in and asked if I had seen the dog. Upon hearing the man’s voice, the puppy picked up a skein of yarn in his mouth, dropped it at the man’s feet and sat down, tail wagging wildly.
It really makes me feel good when I can help a customer obtain something specific they have been unable to find. However, out of control children who come into the shop with parents who ignore them make me want to pull my hair out. These kids are quite destructive, yet are apparently invisible to their own parents!
At first, my job was quite stressful. There is a lot to learn in a short amount of time when you open your own business. Once everything was set up and a routine established, there was very little stress, and after the first year, the work/home balance became quite comfortable for everyone.
For the first year, I made next to nothing. Every penny the shop made needed to be reinvested to make it grow. Now in the third year, I have managed to start paying myself a small salary of $20-25k annually.
I did not take a vacation until the second year, and that was only for a week.
An education in small business is helpful to succeed. The ability to communicate freely with all kinds of people is a definite plus. You really have to know everything about the products you sell as well.
I would tell a friend that if you are willing to put in the time and do the work, and can afford to work without pay for a little while, opening your own store is very satisfying!
Five years from now I hope to have hired a bookkeeper and a trusted shop assistant, who can keep the store open and running when I am not there.
This is a true story as told to LatPro.com, the worldwide leader in providing online employment resources for Hispanic and bilingual professionals. LatPro is the largest diversity employment site in the U.S. and the most complete personal career advancement service for Latino and bilingual professionals.