Las Vegas Review Journal
Posted August 22, 2016 - 11:49am
Unraveling the craft of business
Merri Medley, left, and owner Cassandra Bartlett pose for a photo at the Mirage Fiber Arts store in Las Vegas. Jerry Henkel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
By ANN FRIEDMAN
LAS VEGAS BUSINESS PRESS
Just over a month ago, Cassandra Bartlett traded in the more than 15 years she’s spent at investment firms across the country in pursuit of her dream of opening up a yarn shop.
And the former Salt Lake City resident decided that Las Vegas was the perfect place for it.
“I thought it was a good market to have the business in and I fell in love with the city,” Bartlett said of Las Vegas. “It’s an unsaturated market for yarn shops and there are a lot of crafters here.” Before relocating to Las Vegas, Bartlett and her family spent weekends searching for the perfect location.
“I started working with yarn companies while I was in Salt Lake City to open accounts, place orders and plan shipments before we moved here,” she said. “When I got here, I started working with local companies that sell coffee, hair products, honey and other items because I wanted to have artisan products in here that might not get a lot of recognition in order to help their businesses grow, too.”
Mirage Fiber Arts made its debut in late July at 1161 S. Buffalo Drive in Summerlin.
“We offer high-quality brands and more luxury brands for someone who wants alpaca fur, cashmere, silk and unique fibers that they would never find at a chain store,” Bartlett said. “I’m only carrying brands that I know and love.”
Bartlett said she’s been working together with her competition, Sin City Knit Shop on East Windmill Lane.
“I’m hoping to hold joint events with Sin City and we’re going to carry completely different brands,” she said. “We’ll also be referring business back and forth and I think we’ll work together really well.”
Bartlett has been knitting for the past six years and said it’s not complicated for people to learn.
Owner Cassandra Bartlett, left, shows some yarn to customer Charmaine Lee, of Las Vegas, right, at the grand opening of the Mirage Fiber Arts store in Las Vegas. (Jerry Henkel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
“I like the knitting community and I love helping people, which I’m able to by offering a place where people can come in, spend a few hours, get help finding the perfect yarn for a project and get help with their project,” she said. “There are always so many new, amazing projects to work on and it’s really awesome to take a long piece of string and turn it into a garment.”
In addition to hosting free knitting, crochet, weaving and spinning classes, Bartlett also has teamed up with a local nonprofit, The Energy and Arts Church of Healing.
The Rev. Merri Medley launched the nonprofit group in February as a way to heal the mind, body and spirit through the art of crochet.
“I’m thrilled and excited to have this store here,” Medley said of Mirage Fiber Arts. “I’m hoping to empower the community, uplift folks and create a comfortable, fun and exciting experience for them.”
Bartlett said she found Medley’s organization online and decided to reach out.
“I like giving back to the community, so I reached out to her to offer my space because I want groups to be here and feel comfortable,” she said. “I’m looking forward to even more groups coming in and offering more events and classes.”
Like any new business owner, Bartlett said she wants to see Mirage Fiber Arts be successful.
“I want to have a steady stream of people in here,” she said. “I’m looking forward to having the freedom to be able to help people and give everyone a great experience when they come into the store.”
In the future, Bartlett would like to see her business expand in the Las Vegas Valley.
“In a perfect world, we’d like to open a second location, which would take a lot of work, but the westside has the capacity to have a second store,” she said. “I want to be the hub for this side of town.”