Story last updated at 7/25/2012 - 2:31 pm
1. What's the most important thing customers should know about your business?
Seaside Yarns is locally owned and open year round. We focus on sourcing locally made products and supplies for fiber artists. We want to support and empower our customers to live their best creative life.
2. What are your company's Alaskan inspirations?
We are inspired by artisans from Alaska. There's such a unique diversity in Southeast especially. I've been fortunate to meet so many knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, sewists, potters, and beaders. We love when people bring in their projects that are traditionally inspired by the Native community as well as projects that have been inspired by the gorgeous scenery that surrounds us.
3. What sets you apart from non-local businesses?
Personal attention to our customers. We are able to help customers with knitting and crochet problems, we offer classes, free informal groups and on the spot spinning instruction. We also offer our customers a generous rewards program, and it is free to enroll. We support our Military as well with a discount for Military members, dependents and retirees.
4. What's the biggest change your business has made in the last year?
In the past year, we have been able to double the inventory in the shop and we have begun offering a variety of classes. We have held a few exciting events in the shop, our upcoming event: Hosting a book signing by Donna Druchunas, author of "Arctic Lace" on May 31 from 10-11:30 a.m.
5. What are the changes you're planning to make in the coming year?
We are constantly sourcing new yarn suppliers with a focus on working with independent dyers and small wool farms from the Lower 48. Expect to see amazing new yarns from Oregon and New York in the shop in the coming year.
6. How do you reach customers throughout Southeast?
We use a variety of resources. Our main focus is Facebook, Ravelry.com (visit the Friends of Seaside Yarns group), our website www.seasideyarns.com and our bi-weekly newsletter.
7. What are the challenges of running a local business in Southeast?
The biggest challenge is the maximizing your budget in regards to shipping things up here. We also have to take a very proactive approach to seek out new yarn lines since we don't have local fiber festivals or shows that we can drive to.
8. What makes your business unique?
We strive to carry unique yarns and supplies that are not otherwise represented in town. We enjoy working with local artisans to create lines for the shop. Ranging from beautifully created yarn bowls (to keep those pesky balls of yarn from rolling all over the floor), to exquisite hand made project bags and amazingly vibrant locally dyed yarn and fibers.
9. How does your business give back to your community?
(Volunteering, donations, etc.) We donate newborn baby hats to the Juneau Family Health and Birth Center through out the year. We have also done a dishcloth donation for volunteers going to Honduras to build houses and caps for Chemo patients. We regularly donate class gift certificates and supplies to charity auctions in the community.
10. What advice would you have for an Alaskan start-up business in 2012?
Make a plan, be realistic, talk to other business owners for advice and research the industry. If you still feel that you would achieve the level of success that you are aiming toward, go for it.