What started as a seventy-two-square-foot booth in a local mall has grown into a 1500-square-foot yarn mecca that is a top destination for vacationers and locals alike in Miramar Beach, Florida.
Customers love stopping by owner Carol Williams’ homey, happy shop for a good time and an incredible selection of unique yarns. This selection includes Happy Fuzzy Yarn’s Corrie Sock, DK Silk, and Merino Tencel yarns.
Check out our interview with Carol to learn how she decided to open the shop, what her journey has been like, and what her favorite thing about owning a yarn store is.
Destin Yarn Shop: It was a huge decision for me (Carol). I was about to rejoin the workforce after 30 years of “retirement” as a mother and house renovator. My former career had been as an art director in an advertising agency and I didn’t want to go back to doing that. My sister suggested opening a yarn shop, and she was working at her local store in Buffalo and loved it (we had both been knitting for 50 years). I had never been in retail before, so I started in a 72 square foot booth at an antiques and collectibles mall. Within a year I had enlarged there to 300 square feet and had a small customer base and loved the business. When the mall closed shortly after that, I moved into my first real storefront where I had to learn the accounting and business details of running a shop on my own.
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What other businesses or models did you look to for inspiration in creating the shop?
Destin Yarn Shop: I did a lot of research on the internet and listened to the requests and suggestions of my customers. I also had help from the owner of Have Ewe Any Wool in Buffalo where my sister worked. She advised me about yarns and inventory when I first started out. Also, I have had the good fortune of dealing with some wonderful yarn reps who guided me on trends and stocking my store with quality products.
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: Has the way you think about yarn and fiber arts grown since you opened the store?
Destin Yarn Shop: Most definitely. I made a few mistakes along the way concerning content and how yarns respond to knitting….i.e. drape, blocking, needle choice and color combinations. The variety of fibers has grown tremendously since 2007 and dying processes have evolved into breathtaking new choices. I love this business and take a great deal of joy and enthusiasm with me to work every day!
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What is unique about opening a yarn store in your city as opposed to a different one?
Destin Yarn Shop: My shop is located in a vacation resort area on what has been named the most beautiful beach in the United States. I am about ½ mile from the Gulf of Mexico in Destin, Florida. Almost 95% of my customers are from out of town and are very excited to find a yarn shop here. They are looking for yarns that are new to them and will remind them of their visit to the area. I sell a lot of tropical weight fibers although the warmer offerings do hold their own in the winter months….it does get into the 30’s here. Many of my shoppers come here annually and mention that they can’t wait to see what new ideas I have for them upon their return. Every year I add at least 5 or 6 projects specific to these delightful women. I carry many luxury fibers and, of course, my favorite…bling. Sequins are a special touch here and we add them with abandon to any project we deem deserving of a little extra attention!
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: In what ways has your local community welcomed or supported the yarn store that you maybe didn’t expect?
Destin Yarn Shop: When I first opened the shop, a local newspaper did a full-page color article about my store. It also had a photo of my son and his United States Air Force group in Italy wearing the helmetliners my knitters had made for them at Aviano Air Force Base. This was a charity project we supported for the troops in Europe, we provided free yarn, patterns, and shipping to Afghanistan and elsewhere. Being located next to Eglin Air Force Base brings many enlisted men and women to the shop and I also was able to get names and addresses for some of the troops overseas and to actually hand out some of the helmetliners to those on leave who would take them back with them.
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: How has your life changed since you opened the store?
Destin Yarn Shop: I have become independent, more confident, and my days have been filled with laughter, purpose and activity. The shop has provided me with exercise, mental stimulation (including a bit of stress!), new friends, and a greater appreciation for community and small business enterprise. It has made my family proud and provided me with an income that is enough to take care of my basic needs and enjoy an occasional vacation…however, I find it difficult to stay away for too long. The yarn calls me!
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What do you envision your store looking like one year from now? How about five years from now?
Destin Yarn Shop: It will probably be much as it is now, just more color and more yarn, yarn, yarn! And a slightly older owner. I find I would not change much there; it is nearly perfect the way it is now. When I bought the store, I gutted it and reworked the interior to make it exactly as I wanted, and the design works well for me.
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What has been the most surprising thing about owning and operating the store?
Destin Yarn Shop: I would say it is the joy I have found going to work every day. It is not work, it is what I love to do best: meet people, make them laugh, share my ideas about design, technique, and color, and watch them leave with a smile on their faces eager to start a new project. What could be better?
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What is one of your favorite things that you get to do on a regular basis because you own a yarn store?
Destin Yarn Shop: I would say it is ordering and buying wholesale, and meeting with yarn reps to see all of the new yarns before they hit the market. I love the reps who bring cash and carry, where I can chose those yarns that have just the right color and feel without waiting for a shipment. Owning the shop means I have the biggest stash in town! How wonderful is that?!!!!
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: What is something challenging about owning the store?
Destin Yarn Shop: I am a one woman shop and do all of the ordering, bookkeeping, merchandising, sales, and knitted samples. I used to do the teaching myself as well, but now have a wonderful lady and friend who is at the store most afternoons for individual instruction on a freelance basis.
Happy Fuzzy Yarn: If you were to describe your store in one word, what would it be?
Destin Yarn Shop: This is the hardest question you have posed. My first response was “happy”, because I’m always smiling and people come that way and leave that way. However, other words have been used by my customers like “homey” “best” “fabulous” and “astounding”. I am proud to use any of these words to describe my store. I am blessed every day to call it my own.
Destin Yarn Shop
Miramar Beach, FL