Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and crafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cindy Michael, Founder of Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium, located in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is magic! Think about it. We take a string and turn it into a sweater or a hat or socks! The possibilities are endless, and so are the color choices. My customers, better known as Knitizens, inspire me every day. They are my community - my people.

Tell us about yourself

I've worked with yarn since I was maybe 10 when my aunt showed me how to crochet. Eventually, I taught myself how to knit. It became my passion, which I looked forward to at the end of a busy day working as a corporate Project Manager. One day I was informed that they had removed my position, and the next, I started making plans to open my yarn shop. We opened our doors four months later, and I've never looked back. That was eight years ago.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of my visions when the opening was to create a gathering space where those who share the same interests could learn, meet new friends, and be inspired by one another. That was accomplished very quickly! I didn't realize that so many people needed those connections as much as I did. Our community is very diverse, and our space is a place where everyone belongs regardless of race, gender or ethnicity - our focus is on creativity and inclusion.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Learning how to ride the waves and understanding that everything is temporary. My business is very seasonal, and summertime tends to be extremely slow. I have to remind myself that September is just around the corner constantly!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Research your industry and talk to folks already running the same type of business. They are invaluable!
  2. Write a business plan. Even if you don't follow it, it will help you think through all the details for opening your business.
  3. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and hire someone to do the things you're not great at accounting, payroll, etc. It frees you up to do the things you love!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I think everyone should knit or crochet. It's portable, relaxing, and meditative, and the bonus is you have something to wear when you're finished. But if the yarn isn't your thing, find that creativity within you, whatever it is. Even if you don't think you're creative, I'm sure it's in there somewhere; you have to allow it to come out.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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