Business name: Woven Designs
Date opened: Sept. 30, 2011
Owner: Julie Kleinrath
Address: 537 Main St., Grand Junction, CO 81501
What goods or services do you provide? Everything is related to basketry - handmade baskets primarily, but we also offer gift/ornaments, stationary, candles, pottery and fabric items.
I love to teach basketry and have taught across the country, but I'm glad to be in one place now. I hope to share my love of weaving with residents and visitors in the area. We sell weaving supplies, basket kits and patterns.
What's new or exciting about your business? I've got my list of classes set up for early 2012 (see them at wovendesigns.com). I also plan to contact instructors from other parts of the country to teach in the store.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? I believe I have unique, fun items. While we do have mass-produced items, the fundamental basis of the business is handmade, one-of-a-kind items. The baskets are all made by me, or in the case of specialty items, by my students. With the exception of the traditional styles, the baskets in the store are designed by me and are all made by me or my students.
We will also not only sell you baskets but teach you to make them. Not only give you a fish (woven basket) but teach you to fish (weave) yourself.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you?
I try to give every customer what they need. Some desire more attention than others. I do enjoy leaving customers alone to explore, and see how they react to some of my items. When teaching, I do give each person personal attention. Above all, students must have fun and enjoy the experience.
Tell us a little about your background, education, experience: I was born in Illinois. My family was all make-it-yourself-oriented - mother quilts, sisters count cross stitch and knit, father is a woodcarver and also makes my wooden bases.
I must have always liked baskets but did not realize it until the first time I moved. The packers showed up to move us and they counted 400 baskets at the time. My husband and I had relocated to Ohio and in the course of trying to meet new people, I took a class (husband thought I was taking a bookkeeping class) and surprised him when I came home with a basket. I have been weaving ever since. That was 22 years ago. I have been teaching for the last 18 years - over the course of those years in 28 states.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since it opened, or since you owned it? I went to a lot of trouble to make a sign for my business - a hand-woven basket. I stained it, waterproofed it, my husband went up the ladder to hang it and the first breeze that came along knocked it down and squished it.