I recently met Pam online in a creative business owner’s group. She has just launched an awesome new website, FiberCrafty, which showcases indie designers and other fiber-related products. I love discovering new and unique goodies to fuel my passions! I asked Pam to talk a little about how and why she started her business, here’s her story:
Hi! I’m Pam Maher and I’m the owner of FiberCrafty. I worked in the software industry for more than 20 years and found I was growing less and less satisfied with my career. I just couldn’t see staying and retiring from an industry I wasn’t passionate about. I began exploring ways to build a career in the fiber crafting space but nothing struck me as the right thing. When my brother gave me a book called The $100 Start Up by Chris Guillebeau, I devoured it. The main lesson for me was figure out how to combine your skills with your passions.
After researching multiple options, I realized there was a huge gap in the way that indie business owners could sell their products to crafters. Of course there were options available in the form of existing marketplaces but none were niche to the yarn and fiber industry. After talking with numerous small business owners who also saw the gap, I decided to explore what it would take to build an online marketplace.
It was a far more expensive project than I initially thought (NOT $100!) but I purchased market data, analyzed it and made the decision to pursue it. I found a local company here in Raleigh, NC to help build the site and began figuring out the details. I have to admit that I didn’t fully comprehend the scale of what I was taking on but I tackled it one thing at a time and finally launched www.fibercrafty.com mid-May. This entire process took about 2 years but it was worth it.
Today we have over 100 shops open with 1000+ products of all types listed for sale. Every purchase made supports an indie business owner, as well as FiberCrafty, which is also a small, one woman owned business. I love that we have such a huge variety of shops from farms to kitchen dye studios. The range of fiber types and products is vast and growing. We built in filters to make shopping easier so if you want Sport Weight Yarn in Orange, you can use the filters to help you narrow down your search.
Long term, my goal is to evolve FiberCrafty into what the community wants it to be! As shop owners and customers share feedback and their wishes with me, I add them to a list of future enhancements. When we start planning future roll-outs we will incorporate this Master Wish List into the changes. Currently, FiberCrafty can only support US based shops and adding international support is a huge priority.
While I have personal favorites, it’s really hard to choose from so many wonderful products! I don’t process fleeces but I have really enjoyed seeing all the farm shops opening and learning about the different fibers and breeds. As a knitter and spinner, I am a sucker for beautifully dyed braids of fiber and yarns. Of course, there are also some really cute bags and stitch markers. It’s not hard to find favorites!
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