So much of running a business is “fake it till you make it” and I’m tired of it.
I want to be real with you! So I’ve decided to document the ups and down of running my small business as I journey to opening a brick and mortar shop.
Let’s start with some hard truths
I opened Good Girl Fabric in 2018 with a $5,000 loan with a crazy high interest rate. Back then I was supporting myself on a single income with a lot of debt. I’m talking student loans and credit cards. So. Much. Debt. My income only went so far and that loan only got me a few fabric collections.
My profits were next to nothing for a few reasons. First, I mimicked my shop prices to the big wigs like MSQG and FQS. They offered free shipping and cheap prices, and I felt that I needed to do the same. Small shops like mine and big shop like theirs are not equal. While we both pay wholesale prices, theirs are incredibly more lower than mine.
Think about it. After I factor in the cost of freight, I pay roughly $6/yd wholesale. By rule of pricing, my retail should be $12/yd. MSQG/FQS sells the same fabric at $9/yd. Their wholesale price is no more than $4.50 and I’m sure they get a freight discount.
Then we have fees. So many fees. I’m charged about 3% of every order to pay Shopify and Paypal. Free shipping? That comes out of my profit as well.
Any money I’ve made has never been enough to cover anything significant. Also, life happens. That tiny profit helped pay bills, but never enough to bring in more stock on a regular basis.
The Move and Move 2
A few years ago I moved to Austin and took a significant pay cut. While my income now included my husbands, we still took a big hit. Because of this I had to put the shop on hold for about a year or so.
In March 2020 we moved back to Houston and then the pandemic happened. Within that time I slowly started the business back up. Nothing major, a few bolts here and there. I told myself that I was going to focus on crafting for myself, not for profit. I started making baby quilts and cross stitching more.
Krystal & Tina’s Excellent Adventure
In July 2021 I took a week long craft-cation with my cousin. We visited several different quilt/needlework shops around southeast Texas and I got the business bug again. This time around I was determined to get a long arm. It was the one thing that was missing from my quilt life and I knew I would put it to good use. After all these years of telling myself it couldn’t be done, I was finally in a space that owning a long arm was totally possible. So I applied for financing and purchased a HandiQuilter Amara with ProStitcher on a 12-foot frame. I turned our master bedroom into my craft studio and stuck our king-sized bed into my old craft room. I’m grateful that my husband is so supportive 😂
Just before the medical stuff happened, I officially opened up the long arm business. What timing! There’s nothing like being in the hospital while a stack of orders are piled up at home.
Having something to look forward to really kept me level headed when I got home. Packing orders and working on the long arm made my days go by fast and I spent a lot of my time thinking about my future. What kind of life did I want to live? Being faced with mortality really puts everything into perspective.
I kept asking myself, what am I waiting for? I’ve wanted to own a brick and mortar shop for so many years, but I never thought it would be possible. When you’re a minority in every aspect, you feel sanctioned to struggle your entire life.
I don’t want to wait anymore. I want to wake up each morning knowing that I will spend my day doing what I love.
So here’s to the journey of figuring it out lol. Let’s see if 2023 will be the year I open up a shop. Heck, maybe sooner?!