Sunday, August 30, 2015

Year One Top 5 - Knitizens, Crazies and Freedom of Expression!

We recently celebrated Harps & Thistles' first year in business and what a fabulous year it's been!  Every experience this past year was new...  working in retail, owning my own business, managing inventory, etc.  I guess it's only natural to want to reflect on how things went so here are my top 5 discoveries.

#1 - Your customers quickly become your friends!  They hang out with you to keep you from being lonely, they bring you lunch or dinner when you have a 10 hour day and can't get out to get something, and they celebrate every milestone with you.  At some point the word 'customer' seems too impersonal for these wonderful people so you try to come up with another name for them.  Your husband suggests knitizens (which admittedly is cute and catchy, if not a little corny) but you settle on guests because your shop feels like home to you and hopefully to them as well.

#2 - Yarn enthusiasts are CRAZY!   Always looking for something new, for their next 'fix' of fiber, the newest color the latest addition.  During our open house celebration I witnessed one guest stalking another guest around the shop for AN HOUR because she was carrying the one and only skein of the exact color that she absolutely had to have.  She didn't get it and, although heartbroken, was able to maintain her composure and was quickly distracted by the the other 10,000 skeins on the shelves. Needless to say, she didn't leave empty handed.

#3 - Choosing colors is HARD!!!  If I had my way everything would be orange...  with maybe some green & purple thrown in.  But there are all these other colors that other people like and "you can't just buy what you like" and blah, blah, blah.  So I've taken to asking random people to help pick colors... my daughter, guests, grandkids, the mail lady, the person behind me in the checkout line. I can only guess that naming the colors is just as difficult as choosing them.  Names like Urban Transit, Fig Pretty, Ballerina Mirage, Naked Shame and Kensington Farm lead me to believe that the yarn companies are probably using the same method for naming colors as I use for choosing them.

#4 -  Freedom of expression is your new way of life.  You can wear orange every day and flip flops on your feet and dye your hair purple and green.  You can geek out over meeting one of your favorite knitting personalities or the purchase of a new knitting accessory and nobody judges. You discover the peace and happiness that you always suspected were lurking just beyond your reach and you wake every morning excited to greet the day with the expectation that it will be exactly as it was meant to be.

#5 - Be yourself.  Treat people with kindness.  Celebrate their successes and help them find the silver lining when a project goes horribly wrong.  Provide them with a comfy seat, a hot cup of coffee or tea and a creative atmosphere and they quickly go from customer to friend.  Which brings us full circle back to #1.

Now this is the type of vicious circle I can happily call home.  

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