54. The Journey of Opening a Retail Store with Three Little Birds Sewing Co
What if you asked yourself everyday “What’s the worst that could happen if I followed my dreams?” or “Could I bare seeing someone else living my dream if I don’t take a chance?” Well, my guest this week asked herself these two questions while contemplating entrepreneurship, and with the determination to not allow fear to fuel or cloud her decisionmaking, she continued on down a path to realizing her dreams.
Katie Blattner is now the founder and operator of Three Little Birds Sewing Co. based in Hyattsville, MD. Katie enjoyed sewing as a child, but as a chemistry major, she expected a vastly different outcome for her career. She rediscovered her love for sewing during a difficult time in her life, and after a few conversations with a coworker, her sewing company was born. Katie literally transformed an idea into a business within a few months.
Her story is inspirational on so many levels, but what I personally admire is her willingness to just go for it. If you’re on the fence, this episode will inspire you to jump. We speak about what motivated her to take risks and how she worked her way through the initial challenges of owning a brick and mortar. More goodness coming your way.
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- Katie Blattner has a degree in chemistry and initially planned to attend med school
- Shortly after graduating college, she got married, had a child, and then her husband was diagnosed with cancer, which then altered her plans
- In between caring for her child and her husbands cancer treatments, she began to sew, calling it her therapy and a way to relax and use the other side of her brain
- At the time, she thought it would be great to have some type of creative space that sold all of her favorite fabrics
- Unfortunately, her husband passed away and she found herself in a space where she was trying to figure out what’s next
- She met her business partner at a job she took at a museum, and together they decided to open a store
- To prepare for opening a business, she took small business classes offered by PG Community College
- They generated clientele initially by:
- Putting information on social media and asking friends and family share
- Landing a feature in the Hyattsville local newspaper
- Offering Groupon classes (she discusses how this was a blessing and a curse)
- As they were deciding to expand their business, her business partner received a job offer in SC and was planning to move away
- Katie realized the worst that could happen is she could lose money, but the reward of following her dreams was greater than the risk
- She then quit her job and decided to run the shop full-time
- We discuss the difficulty in deciding inventory
- If you decide to open a store:
- Know that it will be gratifying and you’ll meet wonderful people
- Realize you are going to be working all of the time
- It’s an investment of time and your heart
- Don’t let fear drive you
- Talk to other business owners
- Take classes and take advantage of mentoring programs
- Make sure you mesh well with your landlord and that you understand what you’re assigning
- Vigilante Coffee
- Sewing Duo to Service City (Article in Hyattsville Life & Time)
- Featured image: Juliette Fradin Photography
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