Starting A Business Online Interview with Needle Rebellion
Starting a Business Online Interview with Needle Rebellion
by Michele Thymmons
Have you ever wanted a place that you could call your yarn fiber home where you could be yourself and find amazing colored yarns? An online yarn dyer store that did the searching for you in order to bring you the most amazing indie dyers and yarn dyers from around the world? Then you have found the shop that answers all these questions and more with Needle Rebellion :) . We had the chance to do an exclusive interview with Shanel of Needle Rebellion, where I asked her questions about starting a business online, being a wife, mother, Kidney Transplant Nurse Practitioner and now an entrepreneur, her advice for new entrepreneurs and those just looking to start their own business, her plans for the future, and so much more!
How did you start Needle Rebellion?
It all started as a dream, that felt so unobtainable. I had a strong desire to start an online yarn shop but didn’t know where to begin. I reached out to a couple shop owners and I will be honest some were open to share and some unfortunately were not. When I met these obstacles, I didn’t let it stop me because I knew my dream was so much bigger than these obstacles. I took the advice that I received and ran with it. I obtained my business license, bank account and all the things and started. I reached out to various dyers after stalking their yarn on IG, I explained that I was opening a shop and would love to carry their yarn. Again, I was rejected in some cases but I didn’t let that hinder me from moving forward. Once, I got all the yarn ordered it was a waiting game before the official launch. I started to build my Shopify store and when the yarn arrived we launched. It was so scary but so worth it.
What gave you the idea/inspiration?
After I learned to knit, I yearned for more. My friend that introduced me to knitting would always talk about how cool it would be to open a yarn shop. So, I started mulling over the idea of opening a yarn shop. At the time I was following Modern Skein and I saw how she opened an online yarn shop that later became a brick and mortar shop. This gave me the inspiration to open my shop.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a wife, mother, Kidney Transplant Nurse Practitioner and Entrepreneur. I am from Charlotte, North Carolina but later relocated to Salt Lake City, UT for my job. I love my job as a Kidney Transplant Nurse Practitioner. I take care of patients from the time they are discharged from the hospital after transplant until the transplant fails or the patient passes away. I have a strong passion for kidney transplant as my father was a transplant patient. This definitely shaped my life and made me the person I am today.
At this point I’ve lived out west for the past 11 years and consider this to be home for me now. I love to spend a lot of time with my husband and son. We enjoy going hiking, exploring National Parks and traveling.
How long has Needle Rebellion been around?
Needle Rebellion officially opened our online shop on April 1, 2019 but I would like to say the concept all started in December 2018.
What is Needle Rebellion all about?
Needle Rebellion is a place where you can rebel against all social norms. I don’t fit the description of a Knitter and many people don’t. I wanted a haven where people could be free to be who they are. They could live outside the box and be free to be who they are. A place where people could love all the bright, bold, colorful things.
How do you choose the yarns you stock?
We are the place where the colorful luxury yarn brands live. I choose the yarns to stock based on how the dyer uses color and if they align with the brand we are building. We want to be known for the colors we carry. We love bright and bold colors here!
How often do you restock?
We are still fairly new at this point, so we don’t have a restock schedule at this point but we plan to grow significantly over the next several months to have a more consistent restocking scheduled.
What other products do you carry (besides yarn)?
We also carry Project Bags. We definitely plan to expand and carry notions and all the fiber lover things.
What is Yarn Shop Chit Chat?
The Yarn Shop Chit Chats are just short little videos on IGTV to discuss what is going on in the shop or exciting things to come. It is a fun way to just sit and chat with all my fiber friends
How can someone do wholesale or have their products be a part of Needle Rebellion?
Is Needle Rebellion an online store only or are there plans for a physical store in the future?
As of now we are an online store only but open to the idea of a brick and mortar at some point.
Do you knit/crochet? How did you get started?
I knit but would love to learn to crochet as well. I started knitting on October 6, 2017 after my friend invited me to learn to knit. I must say, it changed my life forever. I was at a place where I felt lost and needed something for myself. Knitting found me and set me free.
What would you tell a new knitter/crocheter for encouragement?
Don’t be afraid! You can totally do it. Don’t let the voices in your head tell you this pattern is too hard.
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What is something you are passionate about and why?
I am totally passionate about knitting. I love that with every stitch I am set free. I love how it makes me feel having the needles and yarn in my hands. It gives me life and joy.
If you had one (or several) things to share with a woman entrepreneur, what would it be? What would you encourage them about?
Don’t give up!!! When you meet obstacles climb over them, don’t let them stop you! There is always a way around an obstacle.
What is a lesson learned for being a woman entrepreneur that you wish someone had told you when you first started?
Don’t share your goals and dreams with everyone. When you are starting on the entrepreneur journey not everyone is going to celebrate your ideas or support you. You have to guard your goals and dreams. A lot of times people don’t mean to hurt you but they are basing your success on their own limiting beliefs.
Advice on how to be a wife, mother, nurse practitioner, and entrepreneur?
Oh wow! This is a tough one. When I approach all the things, I just get to work! I don’t sit back and get overwhelmed by all the task. I jump right in. After I had my son, I decided I wanted to go back to graduate school. I didn’t think I'm a new mother, I need to work full time and go to school full time. I just did it. I made a list of things I needed to do and checked them off one at a time. This frustrates my husband I love living under the pressure of deadlines.
How does your family play a role in Needle Rebellion?
My family is so helpful when it comes to Needle Rebellion. My son, Erickson, helps pull inventory and package yarn for shipment. He also helps direct videos for the YouTube channel and also plays photographer sometime. He is such a sweet boy and loves to help me!
What is your dream for Needle Rebellion to be (where do you see Needle Rebellion in 5+ years)?
In 5 years, I see Needle Rebellion as a household name for all fiber lovers. I see that we will have our own yarn line as well as several indie dyers exclusive to our brand. We will have made an impact in the fiber community and the world. We will give back to several organizations that help support children.
Note - This post contains affiliate links, which means I (Michele) will make a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click through and make a purchase. I do not recommend products I have not tried, do not use, or would not purchase.
After reading that inspirational interview from Needle Rebellion, I wanted to show you the resources available to you when you look at starting your own business. There are a number of grants (I will not go into loans here, even though grants are very competitive) that you can apply for and resources to assist in helping you to establish and start your own maker or family oriented business. I have also included a number of classes I have taken (and am an affiliate for - you can become one too once you take any of these classes) about blogging, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, building your website or Etsy Shop and more. You can also find more of what I recommend in my Recommendations page which I continually update.
Grants for Entrepreneurs - Arts/Crafts/Creative Businesses, Women, Minors, Hard of Hearing/Deaf
General Business Grants:
Nerdwallet is a great place to find a list of 10 grants for small businesses in one place. They also have a number of lists and information about finances and other great articles for small businesses. I have also gone through this list and put many of the links below as well.
The Small Business Association (SBA) in the USA is a great place to find local assistance. Here you can find Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) within the USA and international. There are several SBDCs worldwide that can help with applying for grants and other small business needs in order to help grow and develop your business.
The SBA has an Office of Women’s Business Ownership which will help women launch a business to include helping with funding, growing, expanding, and more. SBA also helps businesses qualify for federal contracts as well.
The SBA has an Office for Veteran Owned Businesses as well which will help veterans launch a business to include helping with funding, growing, expanding, and more. SBA also helps businesses qualify for federal contracts as well.
The SBA also has a lot of resources online with templates and other items to help you achieve your goals for your business. SBA Learning Center is where you can find all of their Online Courses and online resources which range from mentorship, to writing a business plan, to setting up financially, marketing and more.
SBA’s main funding program page is where you can find the small business grants that they can help you apply for as well as funding programs that they run themselves.
FedEx Small Business Grant is a contest conducted every year small businesses can submit their stories. The stories will be voted on by readers who choose the best one. Typically there are 10 winners but in 2019 Fedex added 2 extra winners because they received a huge amount of votes :) . Keep your eyes on this page for when they open up the submissions for 2020. This is well worth the submission as the grand prize is $50,000, second is $30,000 and the third (8-10 businesses win this) is $15,000!! Each winner also receives a large amount of Fedex services they can use as well!!
The USA’s Government Grant website where you can also download their app to search on the go. Here you will find tons of grants for women, minorities and more. It is definitely worth checking out. While a lot of this is for businesses in the science, technology, and health field, if you are trying to do something innovative with your business, chances are you will find a grant here for it. They also have grant writing tips and a grant learning center to help with writing grants.
SCORE is a resource partner with SBA and is a great source of FREE business mentoring and education. While they do not have grants they are a huge resource to find a mentor and additional business resources around the US. They also have workshops and a resource library of business information.
IRS Small Business website is not a funding source but it does have a ton of information about how to start and grow your business in regards to federal taxes, small business legal documents, small business events around the US for understanding all of these as well.
America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) website has information about SBDC conferences, locations of their centers, elearning resources and more.
Fundera Small Business Grants has a very good list of all types of grants with over 105 ways to get free money for your small business! While the U.S. Federal Government has a lot of small business grants, they are mostly in the science, technology, and health related fields. Fundera constantly seeks to update this article with the last update in March of 2019.
Etsy Maker Cities is a grant program for nonprofits and educational organizations who seek to grow the local maker community, and these grants are available worldwide!!! They have research grants ($30,000 for one year) and program grants ($60,000 divided over two years).
Chase Small Business Forward is where you can find information about what Chase is doing for small businesses in your location as well as what resources they’re investing in for small businesses that you can take advantage of.
Challenge.gov is a place where companies or individuals can find challenges posted by the US Government. If you win the challenge there are monetary rewards and opportunities to work with the military or a variety of other government agencies.
Business Owner’s Idea Cafe is a great place for small business grants that they give out often. They also have a number of links for other business resources and grants as well. They have a number of partner websites that they work with and a variety of companies that sponsor small business grants through here.
Street Shares Foundation is a foundation for free education, resources, and grants for US Veteran Business Owners. You can find grants on their page that you can apply for if you are a US Veteran Business Owner.
Grant Watch Art and Crafts is a collection of grants specifically focused on art and crafts. Grant Watch is a great website where you can find grants by topics and search for specific grants in locations or via specific keywords.
Business grants for women:
Value Penguin does a superb job of describing 21 grants for women (some are listed here) but also organizing them into the most competitive and those that are good for the arts.
Becoming Self-Made has by far the largest and most comprehensive list I have seen regarding funding for women’s small business! Not all of those on the list are grants, some are angel investors or other type of investors where you could apply for seed investment into your business. The company who is providing the funding typically wants something in return but depending upon what you are looking to do with your business, this could be for you. They also have lists of educational grants for women owned businesses and much more. This is a true gem in information!
Amber Grant has monthly grants of $2,000 (next deadline is 20 June 2019). Winners then get voted on by the public for a $25,000 grant! Women’s Net is the company that sponsors the grants who were created after a 19 year old woman (Amber Wigdahl) who died without being able to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams.
Cartier Women’s Initiative is a website full of information and resources for women entrepreneurs. They also have a monetary grant for their Women’s initiative that opens for applications June 19, 2019. Their Toolbox is a place where you can find worldwide networks for women (no matter where you are), videos, documents, and information for all stages of growing a business. Here you can find links to organizations like the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network, a number of different women’s networks and groups in Europe, Africa, North America, Middle East and more.
Women Founders Network is a great place for information on how to grow your business. They have a fast pitch competition each year (stay tuned on their website for 2020’s opening for submissions), workshops, and networking events for women founders. WFN’s main goal is to provide capital, mentorship, and visibility to women founders.
Tory Burch Foundation chooses 50 women entrepreneurs each year to take part in their Fellows Program. This program not only provides some monetary grants, but also helps in creating a network of women through a variety of different fields but all in business. There are some amazing women entrepreneurs here and a number that are from the maker community! Keep an eye on their website for next year’s submission and the requirements to submit for the Fellows Program.
Merchant Maverick provides a great list of women’s business grants and goes even further by listing out the criteria and what is offered for each grant. They also have a number of other great small business resources available for women led businesses (and men led too).
Business Grants is a list of 6 business grants worldwide for women specifically. One on here is for silver jewelry businesses!!! This site also has a variety of small business resources available to you and recommendations for a number of different ways to grow your business.
Nav.com has a list of 9 business grants for women worldwide. They describe each of these grants in a way that lets you know which ones you should prioritize and which ones would not fit for your business. They also have their own $10,000 grant that is open for applications now!
Nerd Wallet has a list of 10 grants specifically for women, some of these have been listed below. They also have a number of other great financial resource information for small businesses.
Exxon Mobil She Counts is a place where you can find grants and other small business resources by Exxon Mobil.
Franchise Business Review has a list of 9 women’s business grants but does not stop there. They also list a number of other good places to find funding for small businesses and of course, discuss how a franchise can be bought and what the steps are for those interested.
American Express has an article with a list of women’s grants (most have already been mentioned) but they also go into recommendations on how to apply, and other sources of funding to include local and state government support (SBA typically has information or at least contact information on these).
This The Balance article has a full list of great resources for networking, organizations to help your business grow and more.
Business grants for Minorities:
Fundera has created a list of 25 resources for funding and starting up a minority ownership business. These include grants, other forms of funding, and schooling scholarships for starting a business.
Merchant Maverick has a list of grants and other resources specifically for minorities. This also includes tips on how to find and apply for these grants.
Nerd Wallet has a list of 9 grants specifically for minorities. This also includes a couple of organizations where you can find mentors and network.
Small Business Grants for Minorities and Immigrants is an article that has a number of resources for both - minorities and immigrants to start their own business.
Lending Tree has a comprehensive list on minority funding for businesses and has a number of other resources as well for small businesses.
Small Business has a number of great articles all focused on funding for women and minorities.
Business grants for deaf/HOH:
Grant Watch for Deaf/HOH is where you can find grants specifically for businesses that support deaf and hard of hearing individuals looking to start a business.
Grant Watch Disabilities is where you can find grants specifically for businesses that support people with disabilities to include but not limited to autism, medical issues, hearing and vision disabilities, and much more. This can be those businesses that provide a service to people with disabilities or hire them.
Becoming Self-Made has a great list of grants for small businesses with owners or employees with disabilities.
Startup Bison is from Gallaudet University and is a great place for resources for starting a business. Their Resources and Toolkit page has a ton of information on starting up a business, being deaf and starting a business, resources and more.
Deaf Business Organization is the website home for the business expo and conference for the deaf as well as workshops and more.
Federal Grants Wire has a specific group of grants for small businesses focused on hearing impaired and other disabilities.
Hearing Loss Association while not for business grants, this does have information regarding assistance in purchasing new hearing aids for those that need them. This can be a huge help for businesses that would need the money spent on hearing aids to help grow their business.
Classes Recommended for Growing Online Presence:
These classes are ones that I have either personally taken or will be taking in the future and highly recommend. A couple are FREE (can’t beat that price!) while others are a small fee, but well worth it. If you are looking to grow your websites, Etsy, and/or online presence, the following classes have been instrumental in my continuing to grow this website and my online presence. All of these are ones that I am continually going through again to make sure I have not only implemented everything but also to see the new information that each class adds as new information comes out.
Affiliate Marketing and Sponsored Posts:
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing : This course by Michelle of Making Sense of Cents is a great way to figure out Affiliate Marketing, how you get started, what your options are, and how far you can go. Michelle has made over $50,000 a month with Affiliate Marketing and many others have done the same or higher! She walks you through everything from showing you how to find and apply to affiliate marketing sites, how to stay within the rules (i.e. nofollow links so Google does not penalize you, disclosure of links - like the way I have above), how to promote your affiliate links, and much more to include a huge list of bonus materials. And the best part? You can also be an affiliate for her course (like me!) and be a part of her Facebook group where you can ask questions of her and others who are and have taken the course. I'll be posting an interview with Michelle and a more complete review of both of her courses that I have taken soon. If you have any questions for her you want answered, send me an email at email@example.com and I'll make sure to include your question. :)
Making Sense of Sponsored Posts : This course is also by Michelle and is an amazing walk through of how she does sponsored posts to the amount of $10,000-$20,000 a month! She walks you through each step, gives you templates on how to set up, apply for and pitch brands, as well as follow-up steps for ensuring sponsor satisfaction and possible ongoing parternship. She also has a Facebook group for this course where you can ask her and others questions about your media kit (see mine at www.vamicreations.com/work-with-me), your email pitches, and to not only recieve input but also encouragement as you work through the course and build your sponsorship networks.
Jessie on a Journey Brand Pitch Bundle is an awesome class about how to pitch sponsored posts to brands with a bunch of templates as well as bonuses including a list of 101+ brands that work with bloggers that Jessie built and adds to continuously. She has a number of other courses that I have not had the chance to take but will in the future to include: how to start your own travel company, affiliate marketing, how to turn your blog into a profitable business, one-on-one blogging consultation, brand pitch success where she takes your proposal and helps you create a successful pitch, how to use facebook ads successfully, how to get paid to travel, and more! I will be posting an interview of Jessie soon, stay tuned! :)
Social Media Growth:
Mom Makes Cents' McKinzie Bean has a number of great classes for you to take, I'm still working and reworking my way through these. Most of hers are via video as she walks you through everything from Pinterest, to email, to affiliate marketing using Pinterest and more!
Pinterest Primer is a FREE (yep Free!) class that shows you how to set up Pinterest, schedule like a pro, create viral pins, and more.
Pin-to-Profits is a great starter course all about how to use Pinterest with affiliate marketing to create your own business. McKinzie goes through how to set up your business Pinterest account, how to create rich pins, how to optimize your account and create viral pins, how to create traffic to your website and she gives some great bonuses like Canva Templates, free stock photos and more.
Pin-to-Profits Affiliate Marketing is another great course by MicKinzie which focuses on Affiliate Marketing using Pinterst. Here she takes you through how to build your Pinterest Profile, how to create and optimize your Pinterest profile and pins, branding, implementing the course to create affiliate pins, and Pinterest Tips for Bloggers. This is a great course to learn all about Pinterest and what you do with it using both affiliate marketing and creating traffic to your website.
Pin-to-Profits Promoted Pins Promoted Pins goes well with the Affiliate Marketing course as this course teaches you all about how to create successful Promoted Pins campaigns in Pinterest that will allow you to greatly increase your reach with Pinterest. Promoted Pins have nearly doubled my traffic to this website and increased my reach for each article I promote. I'm going through this one again to make sure I am impletementing everything and to add on what I have already done.
Pin-to-Profits List Building is all about how to build your email list. McKinzie delves into how to create opt-ins and lead magnets, build a landing page, what sales funnels are and how to do them effectively, as well as some advanced strategies and a ton of bonuses to include a number of PDFs and templates to start building your email list. Email list building is something that I have heard time and time again from many bloggers and online businesses is so important to start building and growing from day 1 of your business.
Pin-to-Profits Bundle is a great bundle (and what I bought) to have all five classes while saving some money. The classes included in this bundle are Pin-to-Profits Foundations, Affiliate Marketing, List Building, Promoted Pins, and Tailwind. I had bought the Affiliate Marketing course first and loved it so much that I got the bundle and have been using it continually. McKinzie goes through her courses and updates them continuously and you have these courses for a lifetime. :)
McKinzie also has a Mom Blogging Mentor Ebook that is a step-by-step roadmap for how to start and grow. If you are looking for something more than just the ebook, she also has a book and a course Mom Blogging Mentor Ebook and Course that is a perfect combination for new mommy bloggers with 8 modules to help you set up and get started with mini-courses for all of the bundle classes.
Jessie on a Journey provides a Blog Audit that I highly recommend. I requested one for my website and her blueprint has helped greatly improve it. She looks at your website as well as social media accounts to show you specifically what it takes to grow and what you can improve to gain more traffic and also how use it to better monitize your website. I loved having her do my audit, learned alot, and will probably do another one in a couple of months to see how I have improved as well as see what else I can improve.
If you have other starting a business resources that you would recommend, please comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other maker features for yarn dyeing, drawing, pattern creation, and more can be found in the Maker Resources and tutorials on Yarn Dyeing, Tailwind, Bluprint, Blocking handmade articles and more can be found in Tutorials. Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you, and have a wonderful day!