One observation really did start a long conversation. Our young acolyte said she was surprised at how much time we were willing to spend with customers who weren't spending much money. This came as a shock to a few of us you see we're not there to sell stuff, we're there to help people. This may sound cheesy and corny but our mission statement goes along the lines of " To inspire people to be creative" and not "To sell 5 meters of white velcro". As a result we're not fussed with how much people are intending to spend, we're more interested in helping them work out what they want to do, and then how to do it. It's a happier way of working as it's much more enjoyable to help someone on their journey through creativity than it is to try and get their cash.
Some people have dismissed this idea of how we should work, but in the long term we think people enjoy coming into our shop because of the help they get, and because they know we wont try selling them things they don't need. We have a few customers who are very talented fashion degree students who I remember helping with their GCSE projects. This firstly makes me feel quit old, but more importantly it shows that treating our customers with care and not pressuring them makes for life long customers.
When asked why I work at the shop I responded simply with "I want to change the world". This elicited a bit of a giggle from the questioner but it is true. I personally feel the world would be a better place if people made things. We're forgetting the simple joy of achievement and of self expression. Okay so maybe working in a fabric shop in Colchester only lets me help a small number of people, but it's a start. And it's through Fabric8 that I get to do these blogs with hints and tips and projects for people to try.
So why am I writing this? Partly to share with you WHY we do what we do. However I also wonder if this is a normal way of running a shop. So the next time your'e in any shop try asking for help, even if you're not spending much money, they may just enjoy helping.