A while ago, Jane of Chilly Hollow blogdom mentioned that people shouldn't expect local needlework shopowners to be overly enthusiastic about kitting canvases purchased on ebay or elsewhere. Someone rebutted in a comment that a sale was a sale was a sale--i.e., markup for fibers is the same as for canvases and a shop shouldn't care whether it were a canvas or a fiber that was sold.
That's true to a point. I think most of the resentment of shop owners stems from the fact that they are sitting there looking at all these canvases that no one seems to want because they have bought something else on ebay. It used to be that ebay was a synonym for cheap. That is no longer the case. So, excuse my lack of enthusiasm when you ask me to kit a canvas that you probably paid too much for from....ebay and possibly an amateur artist, rather than my shop or another brick-and-mortar shop and our selection of canvases from professional needlepoint artists.
Needle Nicely has had two geographical locations--the northwestern mountains of North Carolina in Blowing Rock (the original location) and the mid-Atlantic coast of Florida in Vero Beach. Both are tourist areas that are extremely seasonal. Trubey and I realized early on in Blowing Rock that we were so seasonal and out-of-the-way that we couldn't expect all of our customers to have purchased their canvases from us. We made a conscious effort to be non-judgmental about canvas origins. I like to think that attitude is still practiced by myself and my employees at Needle Nicely in Vero Beach. In fact, I try to apply that attitude to everything about stitching. You want to learn to needlepoint? Come sit at this table and I'll teach you the 2 basic stitches. Don't want to sit here? Here, take this learner's kit of 10mesh canvas, a needle, and stitch instructions for continental and basketweave. No charge. Come in if you have a problem. If you need help with another stitch, sit down and I'll show you.
Several weeks ago one of my regular customers came in with some bargello that she had started and with which she was having problems. What was she doing wrong? She wanted to pay me for my help. I was happy to look at her stitching and take out her errors and mention why she went wrong. No charge, just glad to see you and come back again.
One of my talents is seeing missed stitches in "finished" items. This carries over to an ability to see where the pattern is interrupted in bargello or pattern-stitches. I often wonder if I should have headed to New York when I was young to become a copy editor. Nitpicking seems to be my major talent!!! Just for the record, I'm a small town girl who has always lived in small towns and while I can handle large cities now, at 20 I definitely wasn't ready. But I'm gang-busters at finding your missed stitches. Don't take it personally when you see all the needles I will insert into your missed stitches. It's a non-judgmental service that Needle Nicely provides. Just bring back the needles!!
I also want to add that when someone brings in a canvas they have purchased from their travels, I ask questions about: where did you buy it?, what was the shop like?, were the people nice?, would you go back? I'm collecting information. I need to know all of this because I try to recommend shops in other places when my customers say where they are traveling. I tell my customers that the needlepoint world is quite small. So if you're going to Boise or Jackson Hole or Dorset--ask your local showowner for some possible shops to visit. It can't hurt--and there are a very few shops that I never recommend. Nuff said!!