Friday, March 19, 2010

A Crafty Success

By Corinne Minard

Eloise Drenner is a perfect example of the accidental businesswoman. She did not start making crafts to sell them. And she did not start selling them in hopes of one day owning a store. While she did not originally plan to own a business, she’s been the owner of Weaving Stitches (a peculiar mix of home décor store and handmade craft shop) for almost 15 years and doesn’t see that ending any time soon. “It’s pretty much my baby,” she says.

Eloise started this crafting venture by making items she loved. “I’ve always sewn and I just started making baskets,” says Eloise. While she started making baskets and stuffed creatures for the fun of it, she eventually found herself selling them at craft shows as well. Soon, she was behind a table every weekend. Eloise says, “My house was getting so full of product that I needed to get out of my house and into a store.”

To make room for her expanding business, Eloise opened her own storefront to sell her crafts. To keep up with demand, Eloise began buying from other vendors. Along with her work, she sold painted signs, dishes, candles and other forms of home décor. “It took 10 years. It wasn’t something that happened overnight. It was mostly gift items to start with and then I got really interested in home décor, enough to start helping people decorate their houses,” Eloise says.

She would eventually move to two other locations and cut shows from her schedule completely to keep up with the business. When she moved to the current location and its 4000-square-foot showroom, she asked herself what was more important: her crafts or the business. She says, “I asked God, ‘What do you want from me? What’s your purpose for me?’” Eloise found that she wanted to be able to spend more time helping customers and stopped making her own product completely.

What started as a platform for Eloise’s crafts has instead become a store that lets Eloise help people design their homes. “I love to decorate,” she says, and she loves to show people different ways to do it. The store is divided into sections and each section is filled with displays. Using furniture she’s bought from others as display pieces, she’s worked to fill the store with different examples of what their home could be.

A friendly woman who smiles while she speaks, Eloise uses her approachability to help her customers. “I want to be able to read you and know what you like, not just trying to push my product, but listen to you and know what you like and please you because if I don’t please you to start with, you won’t come back. So I listen real hard to what you like and try to get on your page,” says Eloise.

She works to keep the place homey. With the antique furniture, the oldies music and the staff that has been with her for years, she works to keep the place a reflection of herself. “This is where I can show people who I am and who I am through God. I believe God gave me this place ... and he wants me to let my light shine so you can see God through me. That’s what I believe my purpose is here,” she says.

1 comment:

Gourmet Candles Distributor said...

What a cute little store. This what we need to help the economy is more main stream businesses to prevail. Thanks for sharing.