Jean’s Woolly Blog

 Jean’s woolly blog

Nearly every one who knits or crochets would like to own their own wool shop, and I was no exception. For years I have knitted, sewn, embroidered, cross stitched and I have even spun, (not straw into gold) but spun wool into something like yarn as well as learning to make bobbin lace. I have probably spent a small fortune on equipment I have a passion that is not quite normal for knitting needles, hand sewing needles for patchwork, quilting and cross stitch, and although family and friends liked my work, I found out really quickly that unless one could design a garment themselves there was absolutely no money in it at all.

Turn the clock back to just over a year ago. My friend from a knit and natter group I belong to asked me if I would be interested in buying a wool shop. The small knitting shop in the town was at a cross roads. Two of the ladies that worked there wanted to retire and the shop was up for sale, all I had to do, my friend said was to ring the shop and make an appointment to discuss the matter further.

Well it sounded perfectly reasonable, I worked in London, the commute was horrible, not as horrendous as some lines, but bad enough. The shop was near enough that I could walk to it, and if anything happened to one of the family I was on the doorstep. However I had to make that phone call. I was so nervous and the worst thing was that when I rang the person I needed to speak to was not in that day, so I had the agony of ringing back when they returned. Oh and the other thing was I couldn’t tell anyone.

I finally plucked up the courage to ring the shop again, and this time I got through to the women (I did not know it then) I would be working with. I met with Caroline the following Saturday, I had in my head all the things that I wanted to say. Was this meeting going to discuss what I would like to to with the shop? Did I have any retailing experience? Would the shop be in safe hands? Would Caroline and the other ladies decide that I was the wrong person, surface to say I was very very nervous, and still I could tell no one.

I should not of worried, I laid my cards on the table, I told Caroline that I would be prepared to pay the asking price, but if possible I wanted to employ her. Caroline had the expertise that I didn’t have, she knew the business and the customers. I said that I would be happy to employ her, but I would have to pay her at least minimum wage and a pension. I left my suggestions for her to think about, and with the accounts from the shop for the last five years I set to work.

I had a week to get an accountant to look at the figures, find out what the local authority was thinking about doing in the future by looking in the Local Plan and of course find a solicitor. I got my husband’s accountant to look at the figures, I asked one of my friends about a solicitor and looked on line at the local authorities plans for the shops in the shops part of town. The accountant gave the business a good report, I rang the solicitor to find out if he could deal with a Partnership agreement and I had an accountant, I was good to go and I still couldn’t tell anyone what I was doing.

The week was agony, would she, wouldn’t she, somehow in the back of my mind I knew it was the right thing to do and it would be fine. Caroline agreed at our next meeting that she would like to continue as a partner, so in effect the business would remain the same but I would then buy into the business making me an equal partner. We agreed that we would need a new bank account, an accountant and a solicitor to make sure that the paperwork was correct. It was at this point that I talked about a blog, classes, a Facebook presence and a website. Caroline and I agreed in principle that I didn’t want to work in London after 18th September as that was when my season ticket ran out. However in the end the date that we all decided was 24th October. Caroline and I both had holiday planned, and it seemed silly to have to cancel our plans. It was all so easy, I told the family, who were so excited for me and at that point my best friends, who were also delighted and I started to count the days.