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Marketing Partnerships for Retail Needlearts Shops: the Perfect Marriage

Posted By Sherry Mulne, Offinger Management Co., Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Updated: Sunday, August 21, 2011

In recent years, several savvy entrepreneurs have opened up yarn shop cafés. (I counted nine in TNNA’s online shop directory.) With the intent of creating a home-away-from home space for their customers, they conceived a business model combining a yarn shop with a coffee shop.

This marriage really makes perfect sense. In addition to the comfort it provides customers, the coffee shop offers a new revenue stream, and also makes the shop a destination point . . . drawing in those who already stitch, as well as those just looking for a good cup of coffee in a welcoming environment. And . . . since we know stitchers do drink coffee, it goes to reason coffee drinkers may also like to stitch.

Recently, I was sent a great link to a story about another great marketing strategy that takes the café concept one step farther . . . but rather than coffee, they’re serving wine.

The article "Sipping wine while slipping yarn” in the Wine Enthusiast online magazine refers to needlearts shops holding "Sip & Stitch” nights either in the shop or at local wine bars.

For example, a TNNA member La Knitterie Parisienne in Studio City CA has a weekly "Sip ‘n Knit” night that attracts a mix of men and women who come together for appetizers and stitching. On the other side of the fence, wine bars are attracting stitchers by offering special stitching nights and free appetizers.

And we know, stitchers do enjoy a nice glass of wine. And again, it goes to reason, some wine drinkers might also enjoy stitching.

For years, I have been talking about the importance of marketing partnerships with other dissimilar but similarly targeted businesses. I’ve also been talking about getting "out” . . . out of your self, your comfort zone and also out of your shop, in order to reach new customers.

Even with the electronic age, marketing gurus are preaching the need to get to know your potential customers in a social sense. Even with all those twitters, facebook groups, blog postings and such . . . person to person is still the most important connection. Your community, both social and business, is built through personal relationships.

I don’t recall the article mentioning, or even suggesting, an actual combination needlearts shop and wine bar. Except for the issue of getting a liquor license, it sounds like an easy and natural progression from the knitting café to the fiber bar. (Hmmm . . . an idea to ponder for my next life.)

I’m not suggesting you empty out some of your yarn bins and replace them with wine coolers. . . but what better way to be social, and bring more people into your "community” than to partner with a local establishment that already draws in a crowd of people in need of relaxation.

"Sip ‘n Stitch” . . . It seems like the perfect way to relax with a nice chardonnay and crochet, or a pinot noir and a bit of needlepoint, or a little "l’chaim” and lace . . . and the perfect way to entice new stitchers.

Tags:  CA  coffee  entrepreneur  La Knitterie Parisienne  Marketing Needlearts  shops  stitch  Studio City  The National NeedleArts Association  wine  Wine Enthusiast  yarn shop cafe 

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