String Thing Studio isn’t your average yarn shop. It is a community space for knitting enthusiasts to gather. For owner Felicia Stenhouse Eve, it was her dream come true.
“The moment that I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur was when I got tired of working for other people,” she says.
Eve’s dream of owning a yarn shop followed her for years before she saw the chance to make it a reality. She was working in the nonprofit world when her mother passed. “That really kind of threw me for a loop,” she says. Eve took time off from work and “really leaned into my knitting. It was part of my grieving journey.”
Friends encouraged the former podiatric surgeon to follow her dream of opening up a yarn shop. “A couple of my girlfriends said, ‘You’ve always talked about opening a yarn shop. You should really do that. It would be a great outlet for you,’” she says.
Creating a community around knitting
Eve finally took the plunge, and String Thing Studio was born. The visionary self-starter has since transformed the space into a haven for neighborhood knitters, breathing life into her Brooklyn knitting community by hosting events in her 600-square-foot shop.
Knitters from all walks of life are welcome at String Thing Studio. “This is your grandmother, your aunty, and your young niece’s yarn shop. Because we do things that appeal to all those demographics, every generation,” says the business owner.
From teaching classes to Friday Knit Nights, there’s something for everyone at Eve’s shop. “We host themed knit nights, so we would do Game of Thrones knit nights, we would watch the Super Bowl knit nights,” she says.
Overcoming COVID-19 as a small business
Like many small businesses, String Thing Studio was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I would say the biggest challenge that I have seen in the past five years for String Thing Studio has been COVID,” says Eve.
Forced to shut her doors to in-person clientele, the yarn enthusiast turned to social media to stay connected with her knitting community. However, what started as a way to stay in touch became so much more.
“I would do Instagram Lives from the store,” Eve says. “People would be like, how much is that pink yarn over your left shoulder?” From there, live streaming on Instagram evolved into hosting live “shopping segments” from the comfort of her store. “Then I would spend two hours after the Lives fulfilling these orders for people,” she says.
Supporting women in business
Having the support of her community includes the support of fellow women in business. “What I have found is that when you find your tribe of women, whatever the specialty is as far as business goes, we want to support each other,” says the beloved proprietor. “And it’s beautiful when it happens, and it’s encouraging … There are so many similarities and ways that we can help each other. It’s fortifying to find that support.”
As a successful business owner, Eve would tell her younger self to believe in herself. “Advice that I would give my younger self would be: bet on you,” she says. “Lots of people are going to tell you no and make you doubt yourself, but you’re a good bet. Bet on you.”