Monday, August 10, 2015

Misery to Bliss in Four Month's Flat

Wow!  I just reread my previous blogs which were all written long before I even considered opening a shop.  Back when knitting was just a hobby that I loved (and still do) and before yarn completely changed my life.  So please allow me to fill in the gaps.  I'll spare you the boring details and try to stick to the highlights. It's funny how things happen, how life just happens sometimes. 

December 2013 - I had a Pinerest board called Harps & Thistles where I saved photos of Ireland & Scotland and thought it would be a great name for a business someday. Nothing specific, possibly yarn or knitting related.  Maybe a part time online something-or-other, something to do in my retirement.  As luck would have it, the url was available and I bought it, thinking that since retirement was several years down the road, I'd have plenty of time to figure things out.

April 2014  - My job as a corporate Project Manager was suddenly eliminated. What in the world would I do without endless meetings, conference calls, reports and deadlines?  How would I possibly get by without someone critiquing my every move?  Was this actually relief I felt?   I don't remember consciously making the decision to open a yarn shop but the next day I started the Harps & Thistles Facebook site.

May 2014 - OK, so I didn't take into consideration that I was still a fairly novice knitter and that I really didn't know a lot about yarn.  I didn't take into consideration that I'd never worked retail or 
owned a business (but I did sell Home Interiors back in the 80's so that had to count for something).   Fake it 'til you make it right?  I knew to the very core of my being that somehow this was going to happen and that it needed to happen in time to participate in Northeast Ohio's Yarn Discovery Tour, so off I went.  Head down and full speed ahead!

June - Oh ye of little faith...  you bankers and real estate owners who poo-poo'd the idea of a yarn shop as a viable business.  Apparently you don't understand the tenacity and dedication of knitters once they have their mind set on a specific project.  Especially one with an outcome of a stash beyond their wildest dreams.  Where there's a will there's a way and in the end the knitter persevered!

July - KEYS!  I have keys to a gigantic empty space and what a space it is!  A quaint 96-year-old building with great parking and just a block off the interstate.  I started collecting secondhand furniture and fixtures and came up with the brilliant idea that the classroom table and all 8 chairs needed to be shabby chic'd.  I finalized my logo, ordered signage and hired a painter.  By this time I had somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 people following me on FB and was starting to get excited about meeting all of them! 

August - Attended Stitches Midwest (what was I thinking!?) to assist Three Irish Girls with their booth, oh yeah, and also to attend the impromptu birth of my cousin Erin's sweet baby girl.  Mad dash upon returning... arranging furniture & fixtures, checking in boxes and Boxes and BOXES of yarn. Shelves were delivered just 5 days before opening so a huge THANK YOU to my son for putting them all together and the ladies in my knitting group for attending my shelf stocking party and supporting me from beginning to end.  And at the risk of turning this into an acceptance speech, I also need to thank my husband who never wavered in his support and my family who were there to help with anything and everything I needed.

By the time I opened for business on August 26th I had nearly 600 followers on FB and was a little nervous that they would all be waiting for me when I opened.  They weren't all there that day, but eventually they all stopped by to check us out.  Many have since become friends and I can't imagine life any other way.

My dear friend Martha was my very first customer!

It's hard to believe, but in just two short weeks we will celebrate our one year anniversary.  Man oh man have I ever learned a lot these past 12 months.  Not just about yarn and knitting and running a business, but also about the importance of keeping an open mind and heart, about trial and error and about always treating people as you would want to be treated.  I'm finally doing what I was always meant to do and I thank my lucky stars each and every day!


  1. Awesome and wonderful to one of my favorite people and knitters! Thank you for being there for us yarnaholics.

  2. Ps it's me Cate D. Photo shows off mits knitted with shearling curls....