When you walk into A Scarlet Thread for the first time, you will likely be greeted by this woman pictured above. This is Karen Taylor, proprietor. Or is that proprietress? Isn't she a doll?
I had the opportunity to ask Karen a few question recently, to give you, the readers and customers, a little insight to this amazing woman. Follow along and see why A Scarlet Thread is the place to be, whether you quilt or not.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself, Karen.
Well, let's see. My husband, Ken, and I have been married for almost 13 wonderful years. I am a 43-ish mom of one daughter, who is about to be married, one son and a step-son who lives in Ohio. Ken and I have two granddaughters who bridge the gap between our blended family, and who are, without a doubt, a blessing from God. Grandchildren are the best and make going through parenthood all worth while. Andy is our little 14 year-old Chihuahua and is the best dog in the world!
2. You are one of the most vibrant women I know. Where does that come from?
I don't see myself as vibrant. I have always loved an audience and I love inviting people into my conversations, no matter who I am speaking to. You know how you feel when you are having a pedicure and the technicians are all speaking in another language and you sort of fade out of the picture? I hope I never make anyone feel like that. I want everyone to be included. I can usually find something good in everyone. The bottom line is I love people. I think that is one of the most important aspects of our business. Customer service is a dying art in most places. People don't expect to get good service, so when they come to A Scarlet Thread, they are given the best customer service that can be found. My staff and I really care about the projects that are being made and our customers themselves. At the store, we all love each other and don't leave the building at night without saying it. That carries through to every person who walks through the door.
3. Your husband, Ken, is an unexpected and welcome addition to the shop. What does he think when women come in and drool over...fabric?
Ken is very much a "go-with-the-flow" kind of person, which is good because he is married to me! He may find me two miles down the river caught up in the current, and he will pull me back to shore and dry me off. I guess his experiences with me have seasoned him well enough to know not to give even a second thought to fabric droolers! Knowing him, he would just grab a mop and bucket and follow behind them, smiling the entire time and asking if they are okay.
He' s a pretty mean sewing machine repairman as well.
He' s a pretty mean sewing machine repairman as well.
4. What makes you tick?
Wow, what a question! Ummm, the first thing that pops into my mind is Jesus and my relationship with Him. Second to that would be my husband and my children. But, back to the most important thing- I love the Lord! If you knew what He knows about me, well..... He sticks closer to me than a brother. Good thing, because I am an only child and need all the help I can get!
5. What made you think, "A quilt shop! I need to open a quilt shop!"?
A quilt shop was actually the last thing on my mind. I thought I was going to be selling embroidery machines! That is my passion. The reality was born out of our customers declaring that our little store, with a huge room of sewing machines and only 300 bolts of fabric was, in fact, a quilt shop! God has a great sense of humor. He changed my direction in a snap and I am very glad He did!
6. What brings you the most happiness at the shop?
I would have to say the reaction people have when they visit for the very first time! We have so many women that nearly fall out when they walk in the door. Of course there are those who try to play it off, feigning composure when we know their insides are jumping all over. Those are the funny ones. First impressions are always a blast! I am also happy when "my girls" are busy and fluttering about the shop. My staff makes me smile. They all love the store and me, and I love them right back.
7. Do you ever experience that heart-stopping moment when you see a new line of fabric?
Do I ever have a heart-stopping moment when I see a new line of fabric? Yes! Nearly every day. I should require my salesmen to carry defibrillators in their briefcases to revive me! My first thought when I see a cute fabric is, "Oh! That will make adorable dresses for my granddaughters!" Then I think about the quilts.
8. On a quilting scale of 1-10, where do you fit?
My quilting skills are limited, very limited. I would say that I am about a 1.5 on that particular scale. I don't think I will be a true quilter because of my short attention span. If I really got into quilting, I would probably not do the other things that my days are made up of- ordering new fabric, patterns, notions, coordinating classes, teaching how to use a new sewing machine, etc. No one wants that! So, I think I will stay a part time quilter and a full time buyer.
9. Why a blog?
I was not really sure that a blog was necessary, but after a few days of mulling it over, it really started to sink in. So many people enjoy coming to our shop, but they can't be there all day, every day. Well, they could, but....A blog is the perfect way to keep our customers informed about what is happening so that when they do come in, they don't feel as though they have missed out on anything. I don't personally get to talk to every person that comes in, but I would love it if I could. I actually dislike being in the office. I would much rather be on the floor seeing all the new projects and visiting all day long. But, the reality of it is that I can't. This blog may help keep our friends up on what is going on with me too, like Shop Hop plans and trips to market for new fabric. You know, the important stuff!
10. Did you ever think you would be where you are today?
In a word...No! I never dreamed that this store would be so wonderful! I knew God had a plan for me, and in true form He revealed a portion of it to me. But His ways are higher than ours. If you don't believe me, just visit the shop. There is a wonderful spirit there that comes from following His plan, the women that work with me and the customers that fill our days with laughter and friendship. I didn't think I would ever be here but I am very glad that I am.
People ask us about what it is we contribute our success to. Besides the above, I have a theory. I would say that 95% of the things bought from the shop are going into a gift for someone else. When money is tight people will stop buying for themselves, but they will not stop buying for others. People love to give and that giving heart will always prevail. How rich do you feel when you give a gift that you have made yourself to someone you love? That is why we are here, to help you do that.
Thank you, Karen, for giving us a little peek into your world!
This is me, Karin Smith, writer of A Thread of Red and big fan of A Scarlet Thread. I am married to Jim and the mother of three children; Nathan, John and Ainslie. Originally from Massachusetts, I have called Georgia my home for the past 28 years.
Most days you can find me at home, hanging laundry outside on the line, collecting eggs from the hen house, sewing in the craft room and scouring yard sales for bits and bobs to create with. On the other days, you can find me drooling over the fabric at the shop, the place that caused me to venture into quilting, one tiny step at a time. Sundays find me at church, where I continuously discover how much we are loved by our Heavenly Father.
You can find some of my work in MaryJane's Farm magazines, as well as my own blog, One Perfect Little Miracle.
Thanks for visiting with us!