Amberle Fowler owns Floss & Needle, a cross-stitch shop located in McPherson, Kansas. Her store offers everything a stitcher could possibly need and want, from patterns to fabrics, floss, embroidery hoops, and more. They cater to all levels, with patterns suited for beginners and the most experienced of stitchers. She sells both online and in her store, and is always available to her loving clients.
Why did you choose to start your own business?
Becoming a business owner was very unexpected for me. It was never in the plans for my future, but when the local cross-stitch shop owner was retiring, I knew there would be a need for a local shop since the next closest shop is over 3 hours away. I have been connected to the craft from a very young age – I began stitching on my mother’s lap when I was five years old. I quit my full-time job to focus on this very niche market and I do not regret a day of it.
What is your vision for the future of your store?
I have dreams that my cross-stitch shop is going to be the destination place for stitchers to find what they are looking for. I want to have an open space where any kind of crafter can come and sit at my table and be with like-minded people who love the same things as we do. For example, we recently hosted our first ‘Saturday Stitch’ event! We had 15 stitchers come out to the store to work on their latest projects and swap tips with fellow enthusiasts. It was wonderful to see a full house and we are looking forward to future events. I hope that our community gatherings and seasonal events at the shop will help inspire anyone to pick up floss and needles. Most of all, I want others to see the love we have for McPherson and find comfort and joy in the crafting community.
“Networking is key when you own your own business.”
How did you start your business?
I had to start from the ground up. I remodeled the space myself and chose all the inventory without any input from any other shops. I chose bright colors for the store to create a modern, cheerful, and cozy vibe. I talked to other business owners in my area about their experience and how they operate. Even though they were in different markets, their support was invaluable. Being able to talk to other small business owners has been wonderful. Networking is key when you own your own business.
What do you wish you’d known before you started your business?
I wish I had known that just because you have the space remodeled and inventory in, doesn’t mean the work is done. There is always something to do and someone to talk to. You also cannot please everyone no matter what you do and how hard you work. As long as you are happy, then that is all that matters.
“I want others to find comfort and joy in the crafting community.”
What was the best advice you got starting out?
Advice from several friends who had their own businesses and had been in business for years was the most helpful. They brought down my grandiose dreams into something that was actually doable and manageable. They were also very encouraging and put their support behind me. Without them, I wouldn’t have opened up my shop with the self-doubt and thoughts of “this is crazy and impossible” sprouting up now and then.
Also, invest in a good inventory and bookkeeping system. Starting up with a dependable system in place will save work and headaches down the road.
What advice would you give others that want to open a store like yours?
Do your homework! Research the area you want to open in. Don’t say yes to the first person that offers something to you. Make sure that it is something that you really want and can be happy with. Don’t expect everything to go perfectly and have a plan in place for when things aren’t as perfect as expected.
Amberle Fowler is the owner of Floss & Needle, a cross-stitch shop located in McPherson, KS.