Always craving the freedom of being her own boss, Erin Kirby had a clear vision of the way she thought things should be done, and with organizing and creating things being second nature to her, she knew starting her own business was her calling.
Erin’s business, FiberLilly is a boutique-style quilting and knitting shop located in St. John’s, Newfoundland. FiberLilly focuses on carrying quality, affordable products for people who love to create, plus they also offer a variety of classes on quilting, knitting and felting. “FiberLilly is not just about selling great products, but also about helping people with whatever project they’re working on,” Erin explains.
Prior to starting her own business, Erin worked for a variety of different companies in different roles such as a manager, seamstress, interior designer and sales person. After working for a lot of different people, she realized even more how badly she wanted to go out on her own.
We caught up with Erin to chat about some of the highs and lows of starting her business. Here’s what she had to say.
Cash flow is always a challenge. When things are slow, you have to be extra careful about spending, so you can pay your bills. When things are busy, you have to purchase more stock to keep your shelves full, and pay more staff to accommodate the amount of customers. I find keeping a constant float in the bank at all times has helped me to deal with the stress of it. It can be really tempting to spend it on more fabric or yarn or knitting needles, but you can’t give in to the pressures from customers, staff, and yourself. Keeping a rainy day fund will help to maintain your piece of mind.
I don’t know if there has been one particular milestone but rather a number of moments along the way that have made it all feel worth it. When we have seen our sales grow by substantial amounts from month to month, or when we started seeing actual profit. But I would say most of all, when customers come in and say how much they love the store and how happy they are that we’re here. It’s a very rewarding feeling. I am very lucky to get to do what I love every day.
Do your research. I wouldn’t have done this without writing a business plan first. It allowed me to see what my target market is, where the best location for the store would be, etc. It is the roadmap for my business. Not doing proper research is like going in blind. I’m all about taking risks, but calculated ones.
After being in business for nearly three years now, Erin continues to strive to offer her dedicated customers a place to help them harness their creativity and bring their projects to life.
You can learn more about FiberLilly by visiting Erin’s website here.
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada