We’re excited to bring you another installment in our bi-weekly series featuring a behind-the-scenes peek at inspirational crafting retailers nationwide we've met through Craftsy Connect. This week we were lucky to have the chance to talk with CityCraft owner Callie Works-Leary, about what makes her modern fabric boutique and sewing lounge in Dallas, Texas unique, her advice for sewists, and what the future might hold for her lovely shop.
In 2008, I earned my MBA from SMU in marketing and entrepreneurship. At the time the job market tanked due to the economy, and there weren't many great job prospects. As a creative hobby, I taught myself how to sew and was frustrated by the lack of fresh, modern fabric and sewing supplies in the Dallas area. After several friends expressed their interest in learning how to sew, I put together the CityCraft business plan. We celebrated three years in business in October of last year.
The biggest challenge was simply learning how to manage a retail business during a down economy. Retail is a massively challenging industry. So many people don't realize how physically and mentally tasking a retail business can be, but with persistence and a dedication to superior customer service, retail businesses can thrive.
Our shop is unique because of our distinct and carefully cultivated brand. Since the beginning, CityCraft has positioned sewing as a uniquely stylish hobby. Our tagline is "where creativity meets style". Our upscale sensibility, great location, and carefully curated collection of fabrics sets us apart from anything in North Texas. Our customers are businesswomen, lawyers, doctors, chic young mothers, and hip grandmothers.
How would you describe the style of fabrics and projects in your shop? What have you learned about your customers that you didn't expect?
We don't pigeon-hole ourselves as only a home decor fabric store, or only a quilt shop, which is very unique. Typical fabric stores fall into one of three categories: home decor and upholstery, apparel and fashion fabric, or quilt shop. We simply take the best, newest, freshest from each category to offer our customers something for any project. The modern sewer is doing a little bit of everything. We also try to carry fabrics that you can't find anywhere else. We work hard to seek out our vendors.
How did you first hear about Craftsy Connect?
I learned about Craftsy Connect at Quilt Market in the fall.
When you joined Craftsy Connect how were you hoping it would help you?
I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to embrace new technology and offer our customers another opportunity to learn about this fabulous craft. Our customers appreciate that we work hard to keep them up to date.
How is Craftsy Connect working for you? What do your customers like about the program?
We were very successful with our first Craftsy Connect marketing effort surrounding Black Friday. In commission, we earned as much revenue as we would have from a class in the store. Plus, the coupons brought new customers into the store. Our customers loved the coupon!
Do you have any tips for other retailers on how to get the most out of their Craftsy Connect sales?
My suggestion would be to make full use of all social media channels when promoting Craftsy Connect. Everyone consumes marketing information differently these days. Some customers prefer to get their news from Facebook, others stay updated through Twitter, and then some other customers only trust e-mail communication. Make it easy for them.
Will you be doing anything new in your shop this year?
This year we're continuing with our successful Modern Patchwork Mini Quilt Club. Once a month, customers gather to show-and-tell miniature versions of each quilt in the Elizabeth Hartman book Modern Patchwork. It's been so successful that we're looking for additional opportunities for community-building activities and events. We're also getting deeper into our modern quilting offerings.
Any advice for aspiring or current sewists?
Keep practicing! And don't be overwhelmed by long projects. Use a timer and just try to sew for one hour each day. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish. Don't be afraid to try patterns. If it doesn't fit, just cut up the fabric and use it for another project! Fabric is forgiving. You can always reuse it.
Share with us what you love about CityCraft!
Be sure not to miss our previous Shop Spotlight: Quilting on the Square, and come on back Wednesday, February 27th to discover another great local crafting retailer!
With our new partnership program, Craftsy Connect, you can purchase Craftsy classes through your local independent brick and mortar retailer and directly support them in doing so. Plus, you’ll get a coupon back to that shop to get your class supplies, so it’s a win-win for all! Check with your favorite quilt or yarn shop to see if they’re a Craftsy Connect partner yet. If you’re a shop owner or would like to see your local shop participate in Craftsy Connect, email connect(at)craftsy(dot)com.