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Conversations with Sati Glenn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sati Glenn.

Hi Sati, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
What started as learning to crochet so I could make cloth diaper covers for my baby daughter, somehow turned into a multi-faceted fiber arts business and retail yarn shop. I taught myself how to crochet back in 2011 using books so that I could make cute baby things for my new baby. After sharing my excitement and a few finished projects on Facebook, family and friends started commissioning me for other things.

The yarn became my passion, and I started researching different fibers and their properties. Who knew there were so many! Alpaca, silk, angora, cashmere, linen, bamboo, and wool are from so many different breeds of sheep. From there, I got into spinning my own yarn and then learned to knit. I started designing crochet patterns, which eventually led to teaching crochet classes at the Oconee Heritage Museum in Walhalla.

After almost 10 years of working out of my home, my yarn stash was starting to eat the house. We were running out of places to sit, and I was always having to move my stuff around (no room for a studio, alas.) I had always dreamed of owning a yarn shop one day, so my dad suggested to me that this might be a perfect time. I disagreed with him; we were in the middle of a pandemic, had already had one shelter-in-place just a few months ago, and argued with him that nobody would come.

He argued back that EVERYONE would come. After a few days of thinking hard and talking to my family and friends, I decided to just go for it. We spent two months in a whirlwind. We found a place with rent that I was pretty sure I could afford (assuming people DO actually come,) and set about getting the place right and ready to open. We did so much cleaning, painting, and shelf building.

I had to research all the laws, all the licenses, all the wholesale accounts, and even how to run a point of sale. I had never worked retail in my life, so this was a completely new thing for me. I opened Rows & Roses Yarn & Fiber in September 2020 and was shocked at how many people in our area had been hoping and praying for a yarn shop for so long. I built this shop with the community as its core, and the community has turned up and made this place amazing in so many ways.

The sitting area is always open for anyone who wants to bring a project to work on or seek out help with a project or pattern they’re stuck with. Coffee is free, and so is the winding station. This little shop is growing and growing all the time. I’m adding departments and new yarns and items weekly. I teach classes and do all sorts of demos. I’m still a one-woman show, so the growth isn’t as fast as I’d like it to be, but any growth is good and I am working on my patience.

In May 2021, my friend Bianca and I launched a house label: Rows & Roses Hand-dyed Yarns and Fibers. Bianca and I are a two-person team of dyers and we are dyeing up all sorts of beautiful colorways. We hope to take our yarn line on the road next year as vendors at a few fiber festivals.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not as smooth as I had hoped. Opening in the middle of a pandemic presented a lot of challenges. The whole point of opening the shop was to create and support a robust community of local yarnies and fiber artists. I was worried that nobody would show up, or worse, that we would all somehow “get in trouble” for meeting in a group out in public.

We had already had one shelter-in-place already a few months back. I started out with a mask policy, and as it turned out, everyone was willing to wear a mask while sitting and stitching and chatting with each other. Friendships were forged very early on, and a small group of ladies became “shop regulars” within just a couple of months. The worry and stress were apparently not necessary.

Another struggle was that the building I started out in had moisture issues that I was not aware of until it was almost too late. After a couple of months of rain, moisture started building up along the windows and walls, and even dripping down the walls in the storage room and bathroom. A smell quickly made itself known, and I (and quite a few others, at this point,) started to panic.

Yarn and fiber and mold and mildew don’t mix! I was able to get out of that lease fairly easily as my landlord was happy to help me do what needed to be done. A much bigger, much better place just four doors down the sidewalk opened up and kinda fell into my lap. It all worked out perfectly as soon as I got out of the way, but the initial panic is something I’ll never forget.

Moving is generally bad for business, and this shop was so new, that I was afraid I was losing before I even got a chance to start winning! The Grand Re-open went very well though, and everyone continued on in the new place as if the old place had never happened. I am so thankful for that.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have a Facebook group where I run events called Specials & Customs four times a year. In a Special & Customs event, I take orders for crochet and knit items, as well as spinning services (you send fiber/roving, I spin it into yarn and send it back,) and custom yarn and fiber dyeing. In addition to the custom orders, I will include 8-10 Specials in each event. These are patterns I’ve found online that I would be willing to make for a special price.

I make as many as my customers want to order, and I give them yarn and color choices to choose from. I also design crochet patterns and have an online pattern store on Ravelry.com with right around 50 original patterns that are available for purchase and download. I’m designing new patterns all the time so that number is growing! The thing I’m most proud of…. honestly? It’s the community that has been created and supported in the shop.

I’ve seen so many strangers become friends. People who did not know each other, and most likely would have never crossed paths, have enjoyed getting to know each other at the shop and now are going out for dinner and drinks, taking their kids on homeschool field trips together, and inviting each other to their events and birthday parties. As much as I love yarn and fiber, I have to say I love my yarn community more. My people are everything.

What makes you happy?
Cashmere and silk! Haha, okay, besides that. Being able to be with my kids (I’m a homeschool mom) and have them watch a business grow from the dirt with nothing more than a tiny amount of savings and a whole lot of hard work and determination. This is so good for them, and I hope they’ve been paying attention. Short-term happiness? Music, tattoos, coffee, hiking, birds, baking. Good food, always. I’m a total foodie.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Erin Ramos

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