Remember LadeeBee? She shared her amazing story with us not too long ago, upon opening her first brick & mortar store after growing her business on Tophatter.
After following her on Facebook, I came across a number of photos that caught my eye - she was sharing the workshops she runs in her store. I reached out to her and asked if she’d be interested in sharing with us how she’s begun to build a community around her brand & store. - Megan
From LadeeBee: This winter I decided to take my business, LadeeBee, to the next step by opening a brick and mortar shop. Guessing there were lots of people like me who dabbled in a bit of this and a bit of that, I decided to carry an array of products that would appeal to many crafters. Jewelry supplies were selling steadily online so I added to that knitting, crochet, embroidery, and spinning supplies as these were my areas of expertise.
Fortunately, I was able to partner with Mary, a local entrepreneur who owns a handmade gift shop called Wise Daughters. She agreed to sublet the space she was using as a gallery in her lower level. This was a win-win as we both save on rent and are able to share our customers and brainstorm ideas for building our businesses*. Mary was already running crafty workshops in the lower level (now my shop) so we decided to maintain the workshops. The instructors are artists who have their products available for sale in Mary’s store – including myself. Students were then able to meet the artists behind some of their favorite hand made goods from the gift shop.
Clockwise from top: Bead looming; beginner crochet; Stitching Bee signage.
Workshops are one of the most valuable tools for building a community around our business. It is a whole new way to engage with our customers**, who have now become our students too. I teach crochet, jewelry making, run a series on how to sell for handmakers, offer week long crafty camps for kids, and hold a weekly Stitching Bee. The Stitching Bee is a free “sit and stitch” group that is inclusive of all stitchers – not just knitters. I encourage people to bring whatever stitching project they are working on. The socialization among the stitchers happens naturally. We share ideas, offer tips, and tell stories.
Left to right: Embroidery from March Break camp; Handmade pendant from March Break camp.
Recently, I taught a beginner crochet workshop series. After the initial awkward process of figuring out how to hold the hook and the yarn and to create the stitches, my students were finding their groove. I could feel the excitement begin to build for this new craft they had decided to master. I expressed my hopes that my students would continue beyond the classroom and they assured me they would. What a great feeling it is to continually have a growing group of alumni!
Melissa McColl, the owner of LadeeBee, is located in Toronto, Canada. You can see additional photos and find out more information on her Facebook page. Melissa has been active in the Tophatter marketplace since December 2011. Find out when LadeeBee’s lots go up on the auction block by visiting her Tophatter profile.
The following Seller Tips are added by a Tophatter staff member.
*Networking & collaboration are key elements to success!
** Creating those long-lasting relationships with customers adds so much depth to a transactional experience.