Makit Takit Studio brings all the elements of craft together in one place: materials, tools, techniques, and lots of fun! This fabric, yarn and craft studio in Lincoln, Nebraska is owned by former craft blogger and avid crafter, Christy Nelson. This community crafting zone hosts classes, workshops and casual crafting opportunities.
Introduce us to you: who you are, where you’re from – all the important details
I’m Christy Nelson and I own Makit Takit, a DIY craft and stitch studio in Lincoln, NE. I’ve lived all over the nation but have called Nebraska home for the past 14 years. Crafting has been a big part of my life but my first career out of college was as a high school Spanish teacher and during that time I started a craft blog (way back in 2004!). When we moved to Nebraska and I had two very young children, I used the blog as my main social outlet and eventually my business. My favorite things are Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, yarn, and my store. I like my family, too. J Carl is a professor at the University of Nebraska, my two kids Caleb (16) and Eva (14) are in high school.
How did you get the idea for your business?
In 2009, a friend and I wanted to create a craft makerspace that catered to makers like ourselves. We wanted to have some of the larger and more expensive tools available and have a co-op style space that makers could use. We weren’t quite able to make it happen at that time (she moved across the country) but it was something I kept thinking about. The year I turned 40, I decided that if I didn’t make it happen soon, I would regret it. That’s when I started making solid plans for opening my store. It’s not exactly what we had in mind back in 2009. It’s better.
How would you describe Makit Takit?
Makit Takit is a DIY craft, fabric, and fine yarn studio. We have drop-in crafting, classes, and yarn/fabric retail. It’s basically craft heaven. We even have a Splatter Room where you put on hazmat suits, goggles, and throw paint at a canvas!
Were there any challenges you faced when getting your brick and mortar started? If so, how did you overcome them?
There sure were! Money was the biggest issue. I needed capital. I had also run businesses before but I never had to deal with a retail space. Finding a commercial realtor to help me find the perfect space and help negotiate the lease was a huge help. As far as the capital, I put together a business proposal and I met with some friends who had some money to invest and I pitched them “Shark Tank” style. I wasn’t interested in a business partner but they believed in me enough to loan me some money to get started. Since then, I’ve been using the money we make to reinvest in the business to grow.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of a business owner.
The shop opens at 11am on weekdays so I have my mornings to myself. The kids leave for school around 7:30am and I take my time getting ready for the day. I appreciate the quiet. I’d like to say that I clean the house, do my daily planning, and meditate during that time but realistically I’m checking Facebook, listening to podcasts, and playing puzzle games on my phone or going to appointments until I need to be at my store. Once I’m at work, I usually get settled in by checking my emails, phone messages, and such and when customers start arriving, I help them make projects, decide what to buy, or show them around the store. We’ve recently expanded so I have a craft studio manager and also a yarn/fabric manager. At least one of them is there with me so they can handle a lot of the day to day work and I can meet with people in the community, work on larger scale projects, or just get the day to day things done like ordering products, scheduling classes, and thinking about what will be our next big thing. We close at 6pm and I usually get out of here by 7pm once I finish up anything I’ve started. If we have a class or party, I make sure that gets going without a hitch and then I head home to spend some time with my family, watch Netflix, and knit. NOT MENTIONED: The constant brain activity and thinking about all the little details that need to get done/delegated.
What was your biggest “A-ha” moment?
I’m not sure I really understand this question but this is something I’ve been thinking about lately…I was at a point in my business where I needed to take the leap and hire more regular help. I have always had some very part-time employees but I needed someone to do more of the day to day. A MANAGER. It was a big stretch financially to make that transition but it has done SO MUCH for my mental health and the direction of my business. Being able to hand off some of my tasks has opened me up to have my business work even more smoothly. Getting a manager made me really sit down and work on my systems. I basically had to transfer what I had been doing all along to paper so I could train someone to take over some of the jobs I had been doing from the beginning. It really helped writing out how we do things and finding that there could be more streamlining and then working with our new employees to see how they could make what I had started even better. So, I’d say having systems and great employees have provided me with the biggest A-ha moment.
What are your favorite tools that you use for your business?
We just switched our website and Point of Sale system to Shopify and I’m loving the ease of it. With our expansion, we are depending on online sales of yarn to help supplement, so having a functional website that can help us with shipping/logistics is a big help.
My favorite tools in my store that help me with my business are my Glowforge laser cutter and my Brother Scan N Cut. I love the versatility of all of the projects and products we can make with those tools.
What sets your store apart?
There are a lot of craft studios popping up and I think what sets our store apart from others is me. My unique vision is what has made the store what it is today but that doesn’t mean it is because I am really good at all of the services we offer. I find expert teachers. We research the trends and I make professional development a priority. I try to find out what our customers want to learn and I make that happen. I like to provide opportunities for all ages to experience creativity and try new things.
What are some of your top-selling items?
Our best-selling party this year has definitely been the SLIME party. We try and change up our Makit Anytime drop-in projects every few months but some of our perennial favorites are the wood standing shapes (from DARICE!) and paper mache animals. Acrylic pouring is still very popular and we recently updated our SPLATTER ROOM so we are able to offer that to customers during regular hours now.
What goal(s) are you working toward?
Right now we are focused on our expansion so that is taking up a lot of my brain space. I’ve also started a small consulting side hustle in order to help other creative entrepreneurs start their own DIY craft studios or similar businesses all over the country. I’m working on the best ways to help potential clients using the knowledge I’ve gained over the years in this business.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s looking to start their own business?
Having a brick and mortar business takes a lot of commitment and I think my best advice would be to make sure you’re willing to put in the work. This includes the work that isn’t what most creatives would consider to be “fun”. I’m surrounded by my favorite things all day and I love that. I can take the time to make things (and I do) but the majority of my time is spent managing people, products, and thinking about how to get more people to know about my store. Make sure you have people surrounding you that have your back. You’ll need help. And, just enjoy it! I’ve met the most amazing people and have made lifelong friends in the short time I’ve had the store.
What’s on your studio playlist?
You will always here a steady supply of Jason Mraz, MIKA, and Queen. I also believe no studio playlist is complete without “She’s Crafty” by The Beastie Boys.
When you’re not creating what are you up to?
My days are full of creating and working the business side of creating. When I’m not doing that I’m usually watching Netflix, going out to eat with friends, or sleeping.
Are you a brick and mortar who wants to be featured in our Independent Business Spotlight? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re looking forward to meeting you!
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