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The Knit Cafe Seattle

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6/6/05 10:30 am - neevita - Not really much of an update

Life gets in the way of everything!

The cafe is in a bit of a holding pattern while I square away some other things, including money. I've taken a job that should all but wipe out my personal debt in 6 months. When I first approached the idea of doing the cafe I had an extremely aggressive timeline which I am not holding to anymore, and that's fine with me. People go about business in a way that is most suitable for them, and 6 months just isn't enough time to get all my ducks in a row and be comfortable with the outcome.

The new timeline is 1 to 2 years, and I can even see it being 3 or 4 depending on how the business changes over time. Yes, the market has a window of opportunity and it would be nice to get started sooner, but the bottom line about my place that is going to make it special is.. well, me. I guess I'm just going to have to settle for being the best when the time comes, rather than the first in the area.

I met up with someone recently and checked out the yarn and tea place in shoreline and weaving works in the U. Both places were massively impressive and fun to visit, but either far enough away or different enough in structure to not be direct competition for me. I am still working toward making this place a reality, I haven't forgotten, but it's a big project and it will take time.

Hope you are all well.

4/9/05 12:51 pm - neevita - I got a night job..

In lieu of needing to get out of debt before even being considered for a loan, and needing something a bit more structured for the time being, I got a night job doing really simple tech work for the next 6 months or so.

This means that any focus groups I do will have to be daytime, or weekends, and that there won't be too much to update about here for a while.

It also means, however, that the likelihood that this will actually happen has gone up a bit.

If you'd still like to help make this happen but don't want to meet with me, I have a finalized questionare that I can mail to you to be filled out and sent back to me. Please email courtnee gmail com if you'd like contribute in that manner.

4/6/05 04:24 pm - neevita - Figuring up prices for things..

Well, both of my focus groups bailed on me for this week so I am left with nitty gritty things like accounting for how much milk costs and trying to figure out how much honey we'd go through in a month. heh.

Progress is very slow right now. I'm also looking to get a second job (aside from my fakehair and art projects) to help mow down some debt in the next 6 months, which will cause things to go a little slower also; though it is a night job, so I will still be able to work on cafe things during the day.

4/1/05 11:30 am - neevita - Progress is slow lately.

I'm still working on my Cash Flow Projection portion of the business plan, I'm pretty sure that's going to be the most time consuming part about all this (aside from funding the place, that is) because of all the research involved in making it complete and truthful.

I checked out lease prices in the area I want and have done a few focus groups, figured out approximately how much yarn I want on the floor (but don't know about 'in stock') and been ignored by the tea company I want to support about wholesale, will probably just have to pay retail on it if I want to resell teavana so I'm considering other options as well.

I've been feeling pretty low the last few days and haven't made much progress on things. But, I'm still looking for people to participate in the focal part of this thing if you're interested.

Update soon, hopefully with something more exciting.

3/27/05 12:43 pm - neevita - My new mission statement (Updated)

To provide a socially, environmentally aware cafe and yarn store, offering a unique, innovative availability of new and recycled yarns and supplies, while supplying premium coffee and loose-leaf teas, lessons at all skill levels, and affordable gallery space for independent artists.

3/26/05 05:27 pm - neevita - First focus group was a huge success

I did my first focus group today and got a ton of useful info as well as a good opportunity to streamline/add to my questionare.

I wanted to post to give members and readers an idea of what to expect from sitting down and talking with me. I hope it will entice more people to offer to help.

If you choose to come to my house, I will offer you a cup of tea (teavana, the type I will be serving) as well as the opportunity to touch and see many of the yarns I plan on stocking as well as examples of things I've made with them. If you haven't seen the knit cafe site, I'll walk you through it and explain how my cafe will differ, and be similar, to what you see there. I may not have the opportunity to do these things off-site.

I'll explain the packet I hand you, starting with the confidentiality agreement (it is very standard and also protects your information, legally) which is only three paragraphs so you can actually READ what you sign. Then I'll ask you to read a Mission Statement and give me an impression of what it makes you think about the cafe.

Then, the questions. I will talk with you through each question and explain in more detail what the purpose of the question is, we'll talk about the basics and the details of the place, what you want to see and what you feel the cafe should be like, as well as my plans and ideas.

The entire process will probably take about an hour, perhaps more if there are a lot of people (I spoke with 5 people today and it took an additional 45 minutes)

I am more than happy to come to your stitch n' bitch to talk with you about the cafe. Just email me and let me know when/where you meet, and how many people will likely be there. I will do my best to come to you when it is convenient for your group. Keep those emails coming!

3/25/05 03:50 pm - neevita - Update on stuff.

Well, I have all the creative/fun stuff pretty much documented. Now, it's time to focus on the cash flow projection. Goodie.

I had a meeting with a business advisor today who told me I was on the right track and gave me props for my focus group questions (and having the inituative to put them together at all - he says he rarely sees' that kind of drive. Hm.). He agrees with another friend of mine that I need to come up with a tagline to explain the business that I can rattle off in 10 seconds, so that's what I'm going to work on tonight.

I expected to have a girl come by the house today to talk with me, so I rushed home and did the dishes my husband so kindly left for me. She was supposed to be here at 3, so around 3:20 I went to email her and realized she never confirmed the meeting anway. Feh. I think I am going to have to install outlook.

Back to the Business Plan. More later.

3/24/05 08:05 pm - neevita - OOf. Tired..

I have two sections of my Business Plan, out of 13, done. I have pieces of other sections written but they're not completed.

After going to the SBA loan talk, I'm feeling pretty low about funding. Not that it's terribly hard to get it, but, I have a lot against me. I have personal debts, a few little dings in my credit from things like moving and not receiving a final bill that eventually went to collections because I didn't know about it, absolutely no Personal or Business assets, no collateral, and no experience managing a business. Meh :/

If I have to answer to a partner about every fucking little thing I want to do, and open myself up to get screwed by someone, I don't think I want to do this at all. The whole point for me in owing my own business is doing it my way.

I really hope I can find some investors or something to help me along. I KNOW I can do this, I just don't have a damn piece of paper that says so. Maybe if I take every spare minute I have taking business classes someone might want to give me a loan in a year or so.

But this thing, it needs to be done now. The timing is perfect right now. In a year, there will be places all over the city. And yes, what will make my place special is me, I know I know, but timing is still a factor in the success of this project

But, apparenly, even though I still can't for the life of me understand cashflow and sales projections, I'm a pretty damn good marketing weenie. And that makes me kinda sad ;)

3/24/05 09:23 am - neevita - Tell your friends about me!

TELL your FRIENDS that I'm doing this, send them over here, have them join the community, have them post what they think.

I'm interested in peoples opinions and resources. The best yarn stores in town so I can go check them out, where people like to stitch and bitch, let me know if your group or a few members would be down with talking to me for an hour or so about what they want in a new place. This business is for me but it's meant for you guys, I want to know what you want and what about a new place to be makes you excited. Shit, just let me know when and where you meet and I will show up to talk to you. I need to prove my assertations about why this place will work ASAP, I'd like to talk to anyone interested in knitting, they don't have to be in Seattle, they just have to understand that I will log our interview.

I am thinking of putting together an online chat to help get more people involved, what do you think?

If anyone would like to go out on a limb for me and post that community in their knitting communities, that would be AWESOME. The last thing I want to do is go and join a bunch of places I haven't contributed to in the past and start advertising my business. I HATE when people do that and I don't feel it's a good way to make a connection with people. Just send them to the journal I spose, and ask them to comment or email if they'd like to help. This place has such potential to be really amazing, the more help and justification for my idea I can get to show the bank the better.

email me if you want to be part of a focus group! courtnee gmail com

3/23/05 10:29 pm - neevita - Spin on the Spot

Man, I have this pipe dream, of carrying fibers (like these) and having a spinning wheel in the cafe so I could spin-to-order yarns in the weight and texture that people wanted.

Oooh god, that would be so FUCKING COOL!@$% Damnit, now on top of everything else I'm trying to do, I have to learn to spin yarn also. HAH.

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