Image by TheDigitel Craft Happy owner Jill Brumer shows off her Lowcountry Local First Local's card in celebration of Buy Local Month.
Local business owner Jill Brumer shares the ins and outs of owning your own storefront in the local community.
Craft Happy is a craft studio and workshop center in a small, warm and welcoming space in downtown Summerville. Visitors are greeted with bright walls, sewing machines -- and endless possibilities.
Part craft studio and part workshop center, Craft Happy offers a myriad of sewing, knitting, and crafting classes and workshops for all ages. They also offer their space up for those wishing a crafty private function, and even a "Craft Happy Hour" for crafters of legal drinking age. Brumer and her mother Patricia are the team that make up Craft Happy.
"I've always been interested in owning my own business," explains Brumer. "I have an analytical mind, and enjoy working for myself, and maybe thats a product of having a lot of crummy jobs along the way."
Originally from Myrtle Beach, Brumer completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in North Carolina and Georgia. After graduating, she relocated to Houston, Texas to teach at a local college. Brumer got the idea to open a craft studio/workshop center from a place she frequented in Houston. "There is a place in Houston that I directly based my shop off of, and the owner knows it. I was going to this sewing and craft lounge with my girlfriends, and we always had a great time. I thought to myself "I could be doing this, if I had the opportunity." I was about to turn thirty, had been teaching for three years, and felt that it was time to start something new." Brumer then relocated to Summerville where her mother lives, and got the Craft Happy ball of yarn rolling.
But it takes a lot more than a good idea to create a business. Brumer advises "There are many obstacles to opening a storefront. Everything costs more than you think. Starting smaller would of been great, to save that start up loan, but at the same time, I love our space."
Brumer is also a very active member in Lowcountry Local First, and knows how crucial it is to support a local economy and community. "If someone comes in to sew, we direct them to the fabric shop across the street. We're definitely trying to integrate into the community and push all of the other local shops."
Brumer also emphasized making community connections before starting up. "My best advice to someone looking to own their own business is to know everything is going to cost more than you think it will, and will take longer than you think,a nd it's hard, because there isn't a checklist. You go to this website, fill this form out, then onto the next. I would suggest getting involved with the local business community before you even start, and networking with local business owners. I wish I would of done that before I started mine, it would of saved me a lot of shots in the dark!"
Craft Happy celebrated their one-year anniversary on October 1st, and are gearing up for holiday classes and workshops.
"Doing arts and crafts is good for you. It's empowering to build something from start to finish. I look at little girls from our summer camp, I sit them down in front of a sewing machine and say "You're in charge." How often can you say that to a 9 year old, or anyone? if you want to sew a straight line, or a crooked line, it's yours."
Be sure to check out Craft Happy's website and class schedule, and you can even register for classes online. Follow them along on Twitter and Facebook, and check out their photo stream on Flickr for some crafty inspiration, or buy pre-made goodies at their Etsy store.
Craft Happy is located at upstairs 114B East Richardson Drive in Summerville, and can also be reached at (843) 261-7704.