Back in Michigan, accessory stores would ask to sell my scarves, but not much ever sold when I tried to do that. MaryLiz, the owner of Leon & Lulu's, which is about the coolest store in the world, would hold artists' markets four times a year. I did several and always sold a lot of stuff. I asked her whether she would ever consider carrying Woolynns and she very honestly said no. She said part of why my things sell is I am there with them. I explain the nuno felting process (thus the prices) to people. I encourage them to buy the right piece for them, not the most expensive. MaryLiz explained, rightly, that without that added attention, most people would look at the tag and walk away. In her giant store, that is likely what would have happened.
I thought about her words often. It may have been the best business advice I could have received. So when looking for places in the Twin Cities, I have been looking first for stores selling locally designed clothing. Then I need to meet the owners and see if they really sell the pieces or just work the cash register. I need to see how large the space is. I have been doing my homework and I am pleased to introduce the first shop carrying Woolynns here in MN.
C'est Fou is in one of several renovated houses on Grand Ave in St. Paul. It is part of a wonderful shopping district with independent businesses, restaurants, bakeries, etc. The owner of C'est Fou is Susan Metzger. She designs all the clothing and includes alterations in her prices. You will not leave her shop in something that doesn't fit you perfectly. All the accessories are by Minnesota artisans. The day I brought some pieces over for her to check out, she found herself unexpectedly busy with two women who were going to Scotland this summer and wanted a few new outfits, clothes that would travel well and weren't from a department store. A little something special, in other words. Susan allowed them time to browse, but once they began trying things on, she showed each one how a little tuck here or there could change the entire drape. She pulled sandals out from her shoe store so the women could envision summer (never mind that it was 30 degrees out for a high that cold April day). She added belts, necklaces, offered to change a sleeve. In short, she was clearly there to make these women look good, not to make a big sale. Exactly what MaryLiz was telling me I did for Woolynns.
I left seven scarves and three bags at C'est Fou last week. Susan says that they already get much attention from customers. The shop certainly shows them off well, and they are definitely being seen by a new market. It is all I could ask for so soon after landing here in the Twin Cities.