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Survey the Competition
World Knit in Public Day: 8th June 12222

One of the strategies for doing this is to create a community around your yarn shop. The creation of a store-based community will require you to actively promote your business throughout your area and leverage classes, clubs or other activities to coalesce your customers into shared-interest groups. With a little additional effort, you can enhance your yarn shop community even further through social networking activities on Facebook and Twitter. Most yarn shop owners approach growth as an opportunity to expand the size of their current site or add another store location. Multi-site and in-store expansion are both viable business strategies worth considering.

But there may be another, more cost-efficient way to expand your operation. The addition of an online store to your business website can increase your market reach and revenues without incurring the cost of a brick-and-mortar expansion. A good business plan is the foundation of your entrepreneurial journey. Despite the diversity that exists in business plan writing, there are several essential elements that good business plans simply must include.

Business plan software eliminates the guesswork, insulating your yarn shop from the possibility of critical omissions. The best business plan solutions can be tailored by industry, incorporating highly relevant metrics into your yarn shop's business plan. Our list of business plan software packages offers a comprehensive guide to the best solutions on the market. Because your yarn shop will be largely focused on local customers, one of your first planning steps is to strategically define your local territory.

More often than you'd think we would, we encounter yarn shops that are struggling because the owner failed to properly identify and sell to a local market. Avoid that mistake by doing full due diligence on local market demographics. Prior to launching a yarn shop within your community, it's essential to see how you will fit in the competitive landscape.

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We've provided the link below to help you generate a list of competitors in your city. Just enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of yarn shops in your community. How tough is the competition in the market you are considering? If the competition is too tough, you may need to think about starting the business in a different area or even start a completely different business instead.


Once you've finished assessing the competion, you really ought to learn from folks who are already in business. It's very unlikely that the local competition will talk to you. Why would they want to educate a future competitor? You could take out a loan if you need to, but I would recommend just buying things as you need them, so you can begin to make a profit sooner. Think about who your audience would be. Are they hip trendsetters looking for something unique that no one else has? Are they stay-at-home moms who want something beautiful and handmade to give to their children or friends?

Are they science fiction nerds looking for that specific cap they saw in that one movie trilogy that got discontinued? Or are you knitting for a specific shop that caters to crunchy granola type women? Many people choose Etsy as their marketplace at home, because they can make things on their own schedule and post as they please. There is a small fee for each item listed, but it is very small.

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Farmers markets and craft fairs can be wonderful because usually you pay only one set fee, and if you have a lot of customers, you can easily recoup that cost. With already established shops, either they pay you for the items up front, or they will pay you on commission.

I was absolutely astounded by how much money it took for them to get started. You must place minimum orders with the yarn companies in order to open accounts. Perhaps it would be wise to speak with some people who are already in the business to get some idea of what you need to do.

Preferably not any of the shops you will be competing with. Yarnlady posted a similar thread on this late last year. Running a yarn shop is extremely stressful, even during the good times. One former owner said that she worked seven days a week. The shop was open for five days, then one day for cleaning the public is so gross and one day for bookkeeping. She missed seeing her husband at night, because she had to teach knitting classes at the shop to keep business going.

She finally gave up the shop after sitting down and figuring she made eleven cents per hour, at best. Another shop I enjoyed was run by a husband and wife team. Their shop was lovely, but you could just look at them and tell it was really wearing on them.

Lisa’s List: Questions You Should Never Ask a Yarn Shop Owner

If you are going to open shop, have a HUGE financial backing. If you feel up to it, and think you can take the plunge, go for it. Have fun, and I hope you do well. Actually, now that I think about it, how would an internet cafe and yarn store combined do? I say yes. Do it. After all, what is the worst thing that could happen? It could not work out. Oh well. But it might. Go for it. Just make sure to incorporate so you can protect your personal financial assets! You will need to spend ALL your time building it up, and usually it takes years to build up a small business.

Interview: So you'd like to open a wool shop? - Knit Now

The best thing you can do? Get yourself a partner or two. I have absolutely no experience with business but I do have some things I do advise if you do go ahead and start your business. Thanks for all your insightful and helpful posts. Right now this is just a germ of an idea.

Opening up a coffee and yarn store... are my friend and I crazy?

Luckily, I have time to formulate a plan, weigh all the issues and maybe come up with just the right hook that could make it work. I am aware of what it takes to be self-employed. I was a freelance graphic designer for a long time and my dh has had his own business for almost 20 years now. Dh works very hard to keep his customers happy. We do have a few exceptional employees but it still always comes down to dh carrying most of the weight.