a. Identify opportunities
1. Supplier relationship
Laurel, the owner has been dealing with 10 suppliers for fabrics. They come at the store when Laurel needs them. They call ahead of time to make an appointment with her. These suppliers are representatives of fabric companies. She works also with 2 places for “close outs” older fabric designs, that can’t be sold because of the old year when the fabric was made. Clouse outs are always downgraded and sold in much better prices. Laurel deals also with three places for notions, like threads, zippers, patterns, and other staff that are needed. She uses yarn companies to purchase books.
Recently Lauren has engaged her business with Craftsy website that offers online classes only, video based, like you tube for sewing. They advertise the store site. Every class has an instruction and a materials list. They do the actual teaching and the fabric stash sells the supplies. They do not come in Laurel class but they do come at the Fabric Stash to purchase certain materials for classes they are taking already on line.
2. New Service Product development
There is no production at the Fabric Stash. This is a retail store, which in the same time teaches classes and occasionally they do projects and offer quilting services.
3. Order fulfillment
After ordering everything gets shipped to the store. Laurel orders 3 or 4 months ahead a time. She quotes “If you don’t buy it when you see it you are out of luck”. For Home Dec she has three suppliers. You can’t find anything you need unless you are on top of the ordering. Laurel can always see what is new on line and order what she thinks that will sell good at her store.
4. Customer relationship
Peg is one of the old customers that have been coming to the store for quilting for over 12 years. Laurel states that 30% of customers are regular customers for many years. She loves the bond and the experience they share together. Laurel’s expertise is in quilting and helping old and new customers. She is so friendly to be with; she loves to help everyone around the store. There is a lot of passion at the store for teaching. The store offers in the same time large variety of designs and fabrics.
Fabric stash will continue as it is. The owner plans to keep the business running as long as she personally can. She doesn’t see option to expand or franchise. The business motto is to keep high quality of the material, excellent customer service and attract customers that know how to appreciate this business.
Opportunities discussed within the group are: * Offering and creating classes when two different generations meet each other and exchange experiences and in the same time creates a family bond and good memories for both generations like: granddaughters and their grandmothers, or mothers and daughters. * Offer classes at Old Sturbridge Village. Laurel concern is that at the store she has sewing machines and it’s hard to transport them out of the store. * School projects: Bring kids and classes to the store. Get permit form the education department of the city. Give opportunities to the teachers to show the kids about the quilting and how much fun it is and how much more they can create. Home-economics class is missing now days in schools. Kids don’t have an opportunity to be introduced to quilting and develop their skills on it. They don’t know about fabrics, designs, or combinations of colors in it etc.
b. Define the scope
Fabric Stash is a local business. Family owned. The cycle of product starts from the manufacture to the distributor, than to the fabric store and finally to the customer. This business is very focused on the quality of the material, very friendly and welcoming environment, high quality of customer service but most of all this store is an educational store that want to inform all generations about the beauty of quilting.
This small business is branding itself as a unique one by