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A Stitch in Time

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Caitlin McWilliams

on 20 March 2015

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Transcript of A Stitch in Time

Textile arts and crafts have historically appealed to a demographic that is largely
. This continues to be the trend today. As a result, although a wide range of customers patronize ASIT, the majority are female.

More specifically, 75% of customers fit the profile of a retired, 50 + year old woman with a pension who can afford to indulge in this extra-curricular hobby and the associated - often - recurring - expenses (sewing machine, replenishing fabric supplies, patters, kits, etc)

Other target groups include new mothers / grandmothers (baby flannel and minke), Mennonite women (notions and sewing supplies), young females (wool and knitting) and businesses (custom embroidery)
a stitch in time
a social media audit
textile hobby shop
Classified as a
quilting cottons
baby flannels
commercial embroidery
assorted notions
A Stitch in Time (ASIT) is a sole proprietorship, established in 1992 by Mary-Beth Sharpe
Located at 30 Mill St W in Leamington, ON
Annual revenue of over $500,000
Shop is 6,600 square feet
Employs 1 full-time staff, 3 part-time staff
Over 6,000 bolts of fabric
the average quilt store lasts approximately 3-5 years
ASIT is an anomaly in this industry where
because most owners treat it as a hobby and not as a business
Although it has a website, ASIT is considered a "brick-and-mortar" shop since it mainly operates out of a physical store which offers face-to-face customer service, as opposed to an online-only shop with no physical storefront or foot traffic
Proportion of Sales / Revenue
Fabric, yarn, notions 65%
Commercial embroidery 25%
Sewing machine sales 10%
ASIT's keys to success
Focus only on initiatives that will offer a full return on the time and money investment
Sell only high-quality products and materials
Offer a large and varied selection of raw materials, as well as materials to complete products ("one-stop-shop")
Stay on the cutting edge of fabric trends by regularly rotating inventory with new lines; stays ahead of the competition and encourages repeat business
Maintain excellent working relationships with distributors so as to take advantage of special pricing and promotions
Increase public presence by setting up as a vendor at trade shows
Champion customer service by encouraging a shop culture that is lively and inviting. Staff are friendly, easy-going, and helpful. Baking / cooking sub-culture appeals to her
target market
main customer base
SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) Code:
451130, Sewing, Needlework, and Piece Goods Stores
ASIT has been in business for
The industry
Customer profile
Research process involved searching the internet to locate and document all social media profiles. Used Google and a range of keywords to guide the search. Kept a running list of all domains that directly referenced the business. Performed a general search for the brand on all the major social networks. Attempting to see what has been said about he brand in the past few months. Searched the first three pages of Google. Owner gave me access to back end of social media website
Textile shops that rely solely on online sales struggle in part because the fabric industry is VERY visual and tactile; consumers prefer to see the colours and feel the textures. The most successful textile shops have both a physical
online shop
ASIT's has two local competitors (also small businesses). Its proximity to the US-Canada border also makes crossborder shopping a threat. Pressure also felt from online retailers who often use rapidly updated stock and free shipping to entice consumers
summary of recommendations
A Stitch in Time's website is located at
Social Media Sites Visited
Etsy - Not in use
Facebook - Moderate use
Flickr - Not in use
Google+ - Minimal use
Instagram - Not in use
LinkedIn - Not in use
Pinterest - Not in use
Ravelry -
Twitter - Not in use

Areas Excluded
No areas of the business were excluded for this audit. The business is small and has a relatively small social media presence to begin with, so it was possible to analyze all aspects.
e-newsletter statistics
Average open rate 35-49%
Average click rate 4-6%
Average Facebook likes 2-6
SnapRetail platform allows ASIT user to view statistics regarding newsletter open rates, click rates, page visits, etc
E-newsletters are sent out to advertise sales and special promotions, classes and club meetings, as well as events and open houses
Content is usually visually appealing and includes photos as well as descriptive text
Includes a hyperlink to ASIT's website and Facebook page
No consistency in terms of template, design, or standardization of messaging
Not able to purchase items through the newsletter; no direct links to PayPal or an online store
E-Newsletters are not cross-posted to the website
Postings occur infrequently and randomly (the circled dates below)
The only social networking site that ASIT is active on is
Facebook Page is located at
Facebook Page currently has 215 "Likes"
Managed by Mary-Beth and one other staff member
cover photo and Page Info
Customer reviews
Customer engagement
Cross-posts of e-newsletter
Events and promotions
Four main types of posts include:
Facebook page statistics
Average post reach 187 people
Range of post reach 74 - 543 people

Average people engaged 24 people

Average number of likes per post 13 likes
"Insights" - available to the Page administrator - gives statistics on Page activity and Post reach
Encourages customer engagement by sharing photos and customer feedback
Offers a platform for advertising promotions and sales that reaches usually +150 people
E-newsletter posts direct viewers to the website if they click through
People can send a direct message if they have an inquiry
Wide discrepancy in terms of Post-reach
Low number of Post "Likes" generated by each posting
Posts often reach a high number of people, but a low number of people actually engage with the post after viewing
No ability to click on posts and be redirected to online store to purchase items
Majority of posts are the e-newsletter and generated by SnapRetail; therefore, they occur infrequently and randomly (as indicated by the posting frequency calendar in the previous section)
ASIT has an electronic newsletter that is distributed through the online marketing platform
Users subscribe to the e-newsletter via the website at
E-newsletters are distributed via e-mail (approx. 1230 subscribers) and Facebook (audience of approx. 215)
keywords & Searches
Using variations of the key search terms revealed that there are many textile businesses across the world called "A Stitch in Time". None are in geographical proximity to Mary-Beth's shop, which is the second hit on a Google search. This may be problematic ...
A Stitch in Time has a
page; however, it does not seem to be currently active or have been active in the past. There are no posts, updates, or images. It seems almost as though the page was automatically generated but never maintained.
"About Us" page gives history of the shop, contact details, and shop hours
Categories give a sense of the wide selection offered in store
Users can create an account to expedite the shopping process
Shipping and returns policies are clearly defined
Posts recipes on the website - baked goods that are brought into the store on weekends
Website template and design is outdated and not user-friendly
No buttons or direct links to social media channels (especially Facebook)
No links to view current or past e-newsletters
Most product pages do not have a related image
Images are not high-resolution; difficult for viewers to get a sense of colours and textures
Limited opportunity to purchase product because not much product is listed throughout the website
Majority of website sections are extremely out of date or empty:
"News" section - which is first item on the homepage - has not been updated since 2013
"Fabric" section - only very small selection listed of the 6000+ bolts of fabric in-store
"Threads" section - completely empty
"Yarn" section - completely empty
"Machines" section - completely empty
"Block of the Month" section - completely empty (despite being their best-selling program)
"Classes" section - completely empty (despite the newsletter advertises they have multiple new classes and clubs going on)
"Upcoming Events" section - has not been updated since 2013 (despite the newsletter advertises multiple upcoming events)
A Stitch in Time has a
page; however, like its Google+ page it does not seem to be currently active or have been active in the past. There are no posts, updates, or images. It seems almost as though the page was automatically generated but never maintained.
Recommended that A Stitch in Time

some small recc - icons on website, etc

Instead, ASIT should focus its social media
Full transcript