Over the past few months I have been promoting dye and prints at the Craft Routes stores in Pretoria North. Sue Peddle is a strong, independent entrepreneur who has taken her love for the arts and crafts, and developed world class retail stores from her vision.
She started out in stained glass. She created commissioned stained glass windows for the homes of the rich and famous. All creative entrepreneurs eventually realise at some point that they have only so many hours in their day for custom work, and that they need to find something that is replicable if they are to survive and truly thrive. At this point in her career, Sue decided to build her first Arts & Crafts retail store.
Retail is not for sissies. It comes with heavy financial risks, and when Sue approached the shopping centre management for the first time, they were sceptical of her success. How did an independent, and a mere woman at that, plan to survive in this male-dominated corporate world?
Her early days in retail came with unexpected challenges. A couple of weeks after she opened her store in the Kolonnade Centre, the roof came crashing in, literally. When she shared the experience with me, she explained how it had sounded as if a freight train was tearing through the centre. It was a frightening experience which would have put many people off completely. If I had been in her shoes at that time, I imagine I would have taken it as a sign to get the hell out of the retail business. Customers were slow to return to the centre after the cave-in, for fear of their lives, and business was slow to pick up in her new store.
Sue is a tough business woman with a determination to succeed against any odds, and she stuck to her dreams. Today she has two stores, one in Kolonnade and one in Wonderpark. They are situated to the North of Pretoria and many people from outlying areas come to her shops for their art supplies. Initially she stocked mainly stained glass supplies, because that is where her passion was born. Later she branched out into other crafts and today you can get almost anything that you need to fuel your creative passions from her well-stocked shelves. Scrapbooking, decoupage, fabric painting, watercolours, cardmaking, mosaic, quilting, dyeing, lino printing, fine art, sketching...Sue has it all. A Craft Routes store truly is a one-stop solution for any artist or crafter. Her selection of books is impressive and anybody wanting to self-teach will find what they need to get started in her collection.
She has regular demonstrations and classes in her stores by industry experts for those who want to see how it is done, and a friendly team of knowledgable merchandisors to help you find what you need. Look out for her distinctive blue and green colours the next time you are in Kollonade or Wonderpark shopping centres and pop in to pick up your art and craft supplies.
Have a great day in full colour!