Today we meet Kate from local business A Good Yarn. Based on Oole Road in Cleethorpes Kate tells us all abour how her business was born from a passion for creating and how she has grown A Good Yarn into more than “just a wool shop”.
Tell me a bit about your business
A Good Yarn is more than “just a wool shop”. Customers get a very positive experience, with a wide selection of yarns and accessories, expert advice or tuition, and a friendly ear. Quality is at the core of what we do with both products and services.
What made you decide to start your business?
Several years ago, I began knitting again, something I hadn’t done since being a teenager. Unfortunately, there was nowhere local to me to buy the types of yarns and projects I wanted to knit, and certainly nowhere to attend workshops or classes.
Having had to travel all over the country for workshops and to source beautiful, quality yarns; I decided the only solution was to open my own shop in Cleethorpes. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted this to be – I wanted customers to have a really positive experience and a sense of community.
Over the past 5 years, we have built up an excellent customer base. Many of whom are now friends and who attend our groups, classes, events and workshops on a weekly basis.
What do you love most about owning your own business
I love the freedom my business gives me to make my own decisions and choices. I like the independence of being my own boss. I have an amazing team in the shop with me who I wouldn’t manage without, but ultimately I have the final say.
There are not many days in the past 8 years I’ve not wanted to go to work, and on the days I am “not quite feeling it” walking into my shop feels like a big hug.
What do you least like about owning your own business?
I think really the only downside to owning my own business is the lack of freedom. I do have people who will cover for me if neccessary but it’s hard to go away and leave the business. It consumes me 24/7.
If I am not physically working on samples or other ideas, my head is spinning with new ideas. If I want to have a break, or even an extra day off it takes a lot of organising.
What do you have planned for your business in the future?
It’s tough in the yarn industry now; crafts are notorious for being faddy. Although knitting and crochet are more versitile than a lot of other crafts, we still need to be constantly looking for new ideas.
I find events, groups and classes are always in demand, so I am looking at growing the business by providing more sessions when people can come and work on new skills with other like-minded people.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business?
I think one of the best bit of advice I got was “know your market”. Work out who your customer is and put your energy into meeting their needs. You can’t be all things to everyone, and you will wear yourself out trying. Stick to what you know and build on it. This information will determine where you need to focus your energy – be it on the high street or online.
Your branding and image need to appeal to your ideal customer and your surroundings need to be a comfortable environment for them, whether it’s bricks and mortar premises or a website.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
I am so proud of the reputation I have built up with my customers. I constantly get feedback from customers about the products, services or events we offer.
I often come across comments on social media in places other than on my pages like this one on a local group
“Well A Good Yarn is more than a wool shop, it is a second home for a lot of people where you are made so welcome. Also lots of workshops to join in with as well which is great”.
They event quote my strapline!
Do you think businesses are well supported in NEL?
I think business support is there if you are in the loop. I have been contacted several times by E-Factor and have attended a couple of events, which have been very useful. I haven’t had any other personal support as I’ve not needed it.
Totally Locally NEL is a brilliant local support with some fantastic local businesses leading it. I would love to be more involved but seem to get bogged down with day-to-day business, but I need to make more of an effort to get involved.
How do you feel the business culture has changed in NEL?
I think there is a move to support smaller independent businesses, again I think the local team driving the Totally Locally initiative has a lot to do with that. There are a lot of small business owners who are social media savvy – getting the word out there and we need to be very thankful for them. I find my customers are wanting a good experience over convenience, if we can continue to provide tthat we’ll be happy.
Where can people find you both online and in “real life”?
You can find us on the A Good Yarn website via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Instagram is @agoodyarnclee and we also have a Facebook Page.
Our address is A Good Yarn, Oole Road, Cleethorpes, DN35 8LR.
Thank you Kate for that lovely insight into your business.