I have been working on this small business called The Confident Stitch for more than three years. The physical shop has been open for a year and a half, and the virtual shop has been open for almost a year.
I love it!
The main lesson I have learned is I LOVE owning a fabric store.
But, it’s scary!
Everyone misquotes the adage from Field of Dreams: It isn’t “If you build it, THEY will come,” referring to an entire baseball team. It is “If you build it HE will come,” referring to Shoeless Joe Jackson.
If you are reading this, you likely know I have built it.
The Confident Stitch is a well-organized fabric shop and online store with personal service from friendly people who know a lot about fabric and sewing. I did market research before opening the shop to make sure TCS products and messages resonated with potential customers. Jane, Alyssa, and currently my daughter, Mairin, have done an amazing job helping me maintain the website, run the shop, write blog posts, keep the social media feed fresh, and help everyone who comes through the door and orders online. Bess, our amazing photographer, has made sure everything looks good on the website. And, Bonnie has been making tons of gorgeous samples for the shop and for blog posts.
And….[S]he has come.
Each ad I buy, blog post I sponsor, and email I send leads to a handful of new customers. I knew building the customer base in the brick-and-mortar shop would happen slowly, through word-of-mouth (the best way for a business to grow in Montana). I did not know that the online customer base would grow just as slowly and be just as dependent upon word-of-mouth. The best way for someone to discover the website is through what I call a “warm handoff” from a blogger. One blogger at a time. Luckily, I love building one-on-one relationships, so warm handoffs are one of the many fun parts of the job.
I hope I have time to write another essay on lessons learned in a year. I really hope I am able to report turning a small profit through one relationship at a time!