It’s getting close to that lovely time when every needlepoint store owner without an extension has to file their taxes.
To take a page from Dave Letterman, I thought that maybe now is as good a time as any to take a step back from the shopping frenzy that is Needlepoint Land and write a Top 10 list of the most important lessons I have learned during the past year.
Now, I’ve worked in the needlepoint business like… forever — first as a sales associate with various needlepoint stores (both locally and in CT), then as manager for several years at a nearby needlepoint shop — until it was sold, the windfall from which allowed me to buy a blue bicycle (see above), on layaway of course.
[This bike later morphed into a free-advertising, ambulatory billboard (note the chain-guard) for Needlepoint Land — as I now ride to work 20 miles each way each and every day to my store, and laugh at incoming hurricanes and the crazy traffic on US1.]
And I’ve also needlepointed all my life.
Therefore I could legitimately say — a year ago, before jumping into this madcap venture — that I was already acquainted with most, if not all, of the ins and outs, so to speak, of needlepoint, as both a craft and business.
I thought to give Needlepoint Land a year (from June 2014, when I moved into my current store location, to June 30, 2015, when my lease runs out) — knowing full well that 80 % of small businesses fail within 18 months — and determine around May (which is coming up real fast) if I wanted to continue on to Year 2.
I cleverly reasoned that running out of money, or getting frustrated with dealing with all the headaches of running my own business, would be a good indicator as to whether I would (or could) trudge on.
I also decided going in that I would make a positive Year 2 decision only if I could say yes to two basic but somewhat crucial questions:
a) Could I operate Needlepoint Land for a year without depending on constant outside cash infusions beyond my initial starting capital investment to artificially keep it afloat; and,
b) Could I demonstrate to my own satisfaction that Needlepoint Land was on a clear path to sustainable profitability?
What follows is what I hope will be an entertaining but informative list for all you readers who have dreamed of owning your own needlepoint brick and mortar store.