Remi Haygood is the proprietor of Charlotte Yarn in Dilworth.
Practically 15 years in the past, Remi Haygood was a chunk of cloth within the material of company America. She labored for a bank in Charlotte, but it surely wasn’t completely fulfilling. “I was tired of corporate America and wanted to do something on my own,” Haygood stated. The spark to maneuver on to the subsequent factor got here in 2005 from a buddy whose godmother labored for the proprietor of an area enterprise off Selwyn Avenue referred to as Charlotte Yarn. She had been the proprietor for a while, however out of the blue the proprietor was able to promote the store. Yarn, or the “Fiber Community” as Haygood places it, wasn’t completely overseas to her on the time. She began studying learn how to knit and crochet (she’s a fan of the knitting) as a result of it offered a therapeutic launch from her nerve-racking company job and gave her a break from the lengthy stretches at her pc. On the time, knitting was gaining traction with youthful crowds versus being an exercise favored solely by sweet-natured grannies. “It’s really not, it’s really a misconception,” stated Haygood in regards to the stereotype. Uninterested in her routine, Haygood determined she would depart her company life behind and pursue possession of Charlotte Yarn. She and her then-husband talked to the proprietor and labored out the small print, and Charlotte Yarn turned her very personal. “I didn’t grow up thinking I would own a yarn store. It just fell into place. I just knew I wanted to do something more than work for corporate America [and] I said, ‘OK, why not this business?” Haygood stated of her choice to leap into entrepreneurship with each ft. Charlotte Yarn has balls, skeins and hanks of yarn in quite a lot of colours and lengths. The shop is situated within the Dilworth neighborhood in Charlotte, NC. Alex Cason CharlotteFive Possession wasn’t with out its challenges in these early days, although. “I had never worked retail, so just learning the cash register was difficult,” Haygood stated, including that she additionally needed to discover ways to handle a workers. It seems, the staffing facet would turn into among the finest components. Finally, staff turned like household, particularly throughout powerful instances. “[While] I was going through my divorce, my employee actually lost her husband and we leaned on each other for a lot. They don’t know where they’d be without the yarn store and the people that are united by it.” There was additionally the problem of not becoming the stereotype. On a couple of event, gross sales representatives have entered the store and instructed Haygood, who’s Black, that they got here to see the proprietor. When she replies that she is the proprietor, she’s met with a glance of shock. Charlotte Yarn in Dilworth has an array of knitted items together with scarves, sweaters, belts, cowls and hats. Alex Cason CharlotteFive “It’s the [stereotype] of being an older white woman – not realizing that I was the new owner or could be an owner” she stated. “I try to brush it off and laugh about it. I don’t fit that box.” Clients additionally sometimes make the error of assuming Haygood is an worker. “A lot of times people would take a class and say they loved it. [My employee] Sandy tells them to tell the owner about it. They automatically think because she’s older and white that she’s the owner,” she stated. Colourful hanks of yarn are strewn about Remy Haygood’s Charlotte Yarn retailer in Dilworth. Alex Cason CharlotteFive When this occurs, she waves politely from throughout the ground. In keeping with Haygood, who’s 47 years outdated, they’ll typically reply, “You look too young to be the owner.” In keeping with the Annual State of Ladies-Owned Companies Report, commissioned by American Specific in 2019, “U.S. women with diverse ethic and geographic backgrounds started an average of 1,817 new businesses per day in the U.S. between 2018 and 2019, down only slightly from the record-setting 2018 number of 1,821.” The annual report, primarily based on U.S. Census Bureau knowledge adjusted by Gross Home Product, additional revealed that, “While the number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019, firms owned by women of color grew an astounding 43%, and African American women-owned firms grew even faster at 50%. African American women-owned businesses represented the highest rate of growth of any group in the number of firms between 2014 and 2019, as well as between 2018 and 2019.” Remi Haygood organizes bundles of yarn at her Dilworth store Charlotte Yarn. Alex Cason CharlotteFive As a Black girl in an trade dominated by white ladies, Haygood acknowledges it may be disappointing when she’s mistaken for an worker. “Most yarn stores don’t survive. There used to be a lot, and I’ve survived and it’s literally through blood, sweat and tears,” Haygood stated. Regardless of the challenges, she has nothing however gratitude for the Charlotte space fiber neighborhood and all of the positivity it’s dropped at her. “It’s given me so many rewards in my life,” Haygood stated of her craft. “[The fiber community] is wonderful. People wouldn’t know [it exists], but they’re supportive, they’re fun.” And in relation to competitors between retailers, that sense of togetherness remains to be the precedence. Even Haygood’s rivals have promoted Charlotte Yarn as a Black-owned enterprise amid the latest social motion towards exposing and eradicating systemic racism. “We’re all supportive of each other, which I think is wonderful. We’re a community, and it’s about helping all of us.”Like many companies, Charlotte Yarn was additionally impacted by the latest COVID-19 pandemic however since reopening, enterprise is resuming a way of normalcy. Remi Haygood’s Charlotte Yarn retailer in Dilworth carries balls and skeins of yarn of each colour conceivable. Alex Cason CharlotteFive “We’re slowly going back to classes but on a smaller scale,” Haygood stated. And whereas there’s at present no “knit-and-sit,” the place clients sit across the huge tables in Haygood’s retailer chit-chatting and dealing on their initiatives, Haygood appears to be like ahead to reconnecting with the neighborhood which means a lot to her. “A lot of my customers are my friends now. The shop has created a support system for me,” she stated. The love of her clients has been a secret ingredient from the beginning, and the neighborhood it’s created has been gas for overcoming challenges. “That’s what kept me going — I had a dream. I envisioned the store being more than what it was,” Haygood stated of its development. Within the years which have handed since she took over Charlotte Yarn, now situated within the Kenilworth Commons Buying Heart, Haygood has had loads of time to mirror on her mission and intent with the enterprise. “I don’t ever want to quit,” Haygood stated. “And I think it’s because it’s a part of me, it’s a part of who I am. I’ve made friends, and I see how it’s helped people.” Remi Haygood’s daughter, Ava, has grown up in Charlotte Yarn. Courtesy of Remi Haygood CharlotteFive Charlotte Yarn can also be a testomony to Haygood’s perseverance — one thing she sees as crucial for delivering goals to fruition. “I want people to realize that without risk, there is no reward. I never gave up. Almost 16 years later, and I never gave up.” Haygood maintains this outlook as she plans for future endeavors. Haygood is now a co-founder of Coolvio – a brand new firm that makes a speciality of know-how attire for animals that helps shield them from the solar’s warmth and dangerous UV rays. It’s one other thrilling enterprise for Haygood, who’s once more prepared to leap in with each ft. “I am a risk-taker. I believe you have to take risks in life,” she stated. “I’m going to put my heart and soul into anything I do.”
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Kadee Blakely is a local Charlottean who has labored as a contract author for native publications since 2007. In her spare time, she enjoys touring, true crime novels and attempting out new recipes at dwelling. Observe her on Instagram @kadeethescribe.