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Life & Work with Cassandra Allen-Brown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassandra Allen-Brown.

Hi Cassandra, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I opened my YS downtown because I love the thrill and excitement of being in the mix of the city, I am a travel destination location. Customers walk into my Shoppe from around the world. Literally. I wanted my customers to feel that same thrill and excitement that I did as a child and still feel as I travel into the Shoppe each day. Customers just get it. I have always been a downtown girl. When I was a small child, my dad would bring me downtown to go shopping and to the movies. I love the city! During my 33 years as a litigation paralegal working for trial lawyers, and before I retired, I decided I was going to open a yarn shop in downtown Denver. I made contact with a number of City Officials with the Downtown Denver Office of Economic Development, and the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, and I also drove around in my car literally looking for a location to open a yarn store. Once I found the space, I signed a lease, used my writing skills as a litigation paralegal and created a Press Release, and sent out marketing emails to create the Buzz, and I opened with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony! My amazing husband helped me along the way by doing all of my interior design, and my wonderful kiddos who were in school at the time helped me to set up and get all of my inventory into my Shoppe, customers showed up, family and friends drove from afar, as well as my local district councilwoman who gave an awesome speech, and the rest is history. I will never forget that first opening day! Priceless.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
For the most part, the road has been smooth. I am an organized person, and I like for things to be in order. To be honest, my skillset from being a litigation paralegal really helped me to organize the preparation and planning to open Yarn Shoppe Denver.

Since I had never owned a brick and mortar before, and I also didn’t know exactly what yarn, notions and products in general to purchase for my customers, I did spend a period of three years or so figuring that out! Also just trying to figure out what types of marketing and advertising I needed to increase customer foot traffic. Now that I have that down, I offer my professional consulting services to help other folks who want to start up a new locally owned small business but need help in figuring out how to do it. You can get that information on my online store website: https://yarn-shoppe.square.site/product/small-business-marketing-consulting/30?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false

Another struggle was effective budgeting with advertising. A lot of local small business startups do not have a surplus of cash sitting around, so I teach you how to utilize FREE and effective advertising with Google. Simply amazing! There is nothing like having customers walk into your business on a regular basis and they say that Google just notified them that your business was only one block away! Love it!

Finally, a continued struggle is finding good employees who are a good fit for my business. People think that this is a cake job, and you can just sit and knit all day! When they find out the real WORK that goes into operating the business each day, then if that person is not a good fit, they do not stay around. So, figuring out exactly what their related skill set is, and personality an individual has beforehand is very important.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a creator and a maker. I love working with my hands to create the fashion accessories that I see as a visionary. I learned to crochet when I was in elementary school in an after-school class while waiting for my parents to come pick me up from work. I immediately took to crochet. Then I put it down when I got to high school because I was very busy! So, after I had turned 40, I became very ill with R.A. Lupus. So, I quit my job and took the summer off, and got my health back in order. I grabbed my crochet that I had not worked on since I was a Junior in high school, and I just stitched! Crocheted up these cute clutch bags that I then tossed into the washing machine and felted them with cute pins, and I had my first real crocheted design. Bags By CAB. They were a big hit! Everyone wanted one. Customers to this day still walk in and ask me for them. My really big-ticket item today would be one of the services I provide here at Yarn Shoppe Denver. Travel Concierge Knit and Crochet weekend getaways and stay-cations. We plan your trip where you want to go for the weekend, or a Friday night stay-cation and book your hotel, dinner, breakfast and provide your knit/crochet project for your stay. Every woman out there who is a true fiber artisan knows how much it means to her to get away for a night or a weekend and sit and knit, stay, and crochet. It means the world! And, to have someone plan your stay-cation for you, and all you do is just show up, relax, and enjoy. Let someone else do the dishes and clean your room! Book it here: https://yarn-shoppe.square.site/home#LhIlPr

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
God deserves the credit because He has blessed me with the skills, talent, vision, and abilities. It is a gift. A really good sense of business and organization. A lot of people do not have that. My family; wonderful husband DeForest who I literally could not do what I do without all of his support and help, deserves credit. My great kids; Gabe and Taylor deserve credit because they have helped me by working in my YS and understand when I am not at home because I am working. I am blessed.

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Yarn Shoppe Denver

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