3 short months ago the Beautiful Knitters London Yarn Shop opened its doors on Moreton St in Pimlico, London. Although, despite such a short time, it feels like we have always been here and really part of the thriving local community.
This is our first business adventure, so we wanted to share some of our lessons and musings, some of our ups and downs of life running this sometimes scary, often stressful but amazingly fulfilling little knitting shop.
Every day starts as a Zero Day.
The retail business is tough, there are no other words, simply tough. The most difficult to adapt to coming from a job with a pay check, is the fact that every day the counter starts at Zero. Despite the instagram followers, the mailing lists and the google search rankings, each day we worry whether anyone will come. We worry whether there will be a day where no one visits our shop or our website. And, when you do visit, we worry whether you will like what you see. It is all we can do not to hug the first customer that comes through the door every day! (Now you know how we feel when you come and visit, if you do fancy a giving us a hug, go right ahead!)
All you knitters and crocheters are amazing, beautiful people!
When you do visit our shop, and we get to chat about what you are knitting, what yarn you like and how we can help, all the loneliness, stress and doubt instantly disappears. It is really gratifying to talk about something that you share such a passion with us. It doesn’t even matter if everyone who comes in buys anything or not, simply being able to talk yarn, crafts, knitting and crochet and give everyone who comes a good experience makes everything feel worthwhile. When you come in to our shop we suddenly remember why we started Beautiful Knitters in the first place: to build an amazing global community around the joy of making something unique with our hands and some fibre.
Colours, textures and more colours!
A close second to loving the knitters and crocheters who visit has been to feed the obsession and build a gigantic, ever changing, collection of yarn! As the shop was being fitted out, the entire spare room in our 2 bed flat had turned into one of the largest stashes ever!
We really enjoy seeking out cool products and speaking to passionate artisans like Cesta, Lain'amouree or West Green Lofts Yarns. We also admire some of the dedicated small businesses and farms who do the whole end to end process of sheep (or alpaca) to yarn like Alpaca Annie or Armscote Manor .The craft industry really is all about the amazing network of small businesses supporting other small businesses to hopefully delight our customers and thrive!
Another perk of owning our shop is we get early access to all the inspirational Knitting magazines like Making and Laine. Flicking through them before we put it on our shelves really gets our creativity going to decide what samples to knit in the evenings to show off all of the wool!
We love our little neighbourhood on Moreton Street in London. We especially love the local community and the local residents who pop in to share the latest gossip, show us how they are getting on on their project or simply to say hi.
A special hello goes to Victoria at Victoria Windsor who has such a cute gift and flower shop and who is so kind to sometimes drop off some spare flowers from one of her events. Also a big hug and a wave for Trish who pops by regularly with Monty and Betty for a chat and a treat (for the dogs) and Alex her mum who always pops in to say hello! Watch out for Amigurumi toys from Alex in store soon
At the end of the day
So, overall, having quit the office rat-race to do something I love, I now have even more of a 24/7 job (just managing the shop and the website, let alone trying to figure out Search Engine Optimisation!). However, despite the occasional loneliness, the worries and little stresses, when all is said and done, there is nothing more fulfilling then sitting down at night to knit a while and think about all the people that came through the door that day and, hopefully, left with a smile on their faces with a new project in mind!
Here is to every small business owner and every day to be a non-Zero Day!