Retail outlets still have such an important role in our communities, particularly small ones, BUT, in order to survive we need to diversify. Most of us want to create our home space to reflect our unique tastes but just don't know where to start. Ruby's Yard sits on the High Street, within the heart of a comminity in West Wales and helps people realise their dreams with its unique blend of three key services: Retail Shop (selling gifts and chalk paint) + Furniture Paint Workshops + Up-cycling Commissions! Following one year in a very small shop, I now need help to move to bigger premises where I can expand the courses to become a proper creative hub within the community, as well as increase the number of commissions I take on.
It's long been my vision to have a creative hub in the heart of my community. By opening Ruby's Yard last year I finally started to move towards that dream but due to the size constraints of the shop have had to limit what I could do. A space just a few yards up the High Street has now come free and it's the perfect size for all aspects of Ruby's Yard. It's a wonderful old building (ex bank) with large windows perfect for a vintage display. There is room for a permanent space to hold our courses, which would enable me to run the shop and courses simultaneously. There's also a large open space to one side, Ideal for commissions. There's storage for stock, a small office space, toilets and a kitchen ideal for when running courses. It needs work inside as it is quite neglected, but with some of the funds raised I could create a beautiful space which would make customers and students uplifted and inspired. I hope you can help make my vision a reality!
Our 3 aspects...
1. Retail Shop
I sell unique and affordable gifts to the local community and holiday makers... this is what pulls people into our shop as well as providing a shop window on the high street for advertising courses and commission services. The most successful element of the store is the chalk based paint sold to crafters and professional furniture painters locally and online. This ties in with the workshops and the commission service offering a three pronged approach to the business. In the new premises I will also offer the opportunity for local crafters to rent small sections to showcase their work which will increase our product range and boost the West Wales creative community.
Bringing people together from the community, as well as the occasional holiday maker, for learning the techniques of painting up their own furniture has proved very popular. The current premises hold me back in that I have to rent a local space at a high cost. I currently have a number of courses I'm unable to deliver but the new premises will allow me to expand the range of workshops as well as offer them on a more regular basis. I also will be able to offer a monthly 'knit & natter' group and a skill-share workshop, which will be free to form a creative hub for the local community. In the future I want to draw further on my teaching background and open up this side of the business to local schools and community groups on a wider basis.
3. Up-cycling Commissions
I specialise in restoring and upcycling furniture, working from the back of the shop. This provides the perfect 'advert' for more business and therefore it's expanding quicker than we can store items waiting for their make-over. The bottom line is we really need more SPACE!!!
Who am I?
My name is Ruth Rowland and I have 2 yrs management experience in multi level marketing, including training, managing KPIs & sales targets for over 400 self-employed representatives. I have 15 years teaching experience in the art field. My product knowledge is excellent and have become someone locals turn to for advice on their projects which draws more people into the shop. Apart from all these credentials, I'm extremely passionate about creativity in the local community. I feel that with so many shops closing on high streets, my vision is one that can be sustained.
How funds will be spent
The money would be spent on restoring the new premises to make it fit for purpose, purchasing speciality tools which we currently hire for our commission work and funding a new part-time staff member for the initial few months. Any extra funds raised will be used to purchase equipment to expand our range of courses.