Meet the owner:
Cadence Kidwell, Fuzzy Goat
Fuzzy Goat is a knitting boutique in Thomasville, Georgia, that sells artisan yarns from women makers around the world. Owner Cadence left a career in academia to build the business — and in doing so, she’s built up an entire community.
Who better to answer your questions about starting and running a small business than successful business owners who’ve done it themselves?
This month, we’re partnering with business owners featured in Grit & Greenlights: Small Business Stories with Matthew McConaughey to answer questions from our social media audience — covering getting started, building a team, expanding locations, and more.
Here, Cadence Kidwell — owner of Fuzzy Goat yarn shop in Thomasville, Georgia — shares what she’s learned in opening and running her first retail store.
Any tips on how to keep your employees motivated and happy, especially during the great resignation?
What works best for us is keeping our team engaged. We meet twice a month where we share celebrations in addition to getting to know what our employees need. Giving them areas of responsibility that will allow them to shine really helps the business grow as their own fan base also grows. Use their ideas as much as possible! And, of course it helps to add in benefits such as paid time off, retirement accounts, and flexible scheduling.
Were there any start-up surprises that you wish someone would have warned you about? Or any heads up you’d give to a new entrepreneur to help them prepare for the unexpected?
Gosh, know that everything will take longer and cost more than you plan. When you work your plan up, add in 30-50% more time and funding. We had some extra surprises about a year in that we couldn’t have foreseen and I had to really commit to my shop and be ready to even downside my family home if I wanted to keep going. Do you love your new business enough if that were to happen to you? Additionally, really focus on what your mission is, what sets you apart, why people will want to shop/eat with YOU! And be fierce about that mission. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
What are your favorite tips for turning event participants into long-term customers?
In the past two years all of our events have been online. Wow them with that first encounter as much as possible, going a bit above and beyond! If it is an online event, it helps to have great packaging and schedule follow-up emails that provide engaging information (not just product info) to create an online community. We are just starting to schedule our in-shop events again.
Did you find it valuable working with a retail coach? Any tips you can share from that experience?
I found my coach about a year and half in and I can’t imagine growing my business without them. They help me analyze my numbers so that I know which areas need more or less inventory, when I might need to put together a promotion to help cash flow, what team benefits I can afford, how to best manage my team, etc. And the community of their other clients is also invaluable for learning new ideas. When looking for a coach, follow them on social media to see if you are gaining benefits from their content, ask for references of current clients, and try a “lesser commitment” product of their before singing a longer contract.