Jul 24, 2023
With host retail coach Wendy Batten
Today on the podcast, I’m talking with artist and retailer Deanne Fitzpatrick of Deanne Fitzpatrick Studio about her passion as an artist to keep people connected through creativity. This episode is all about keeping passion in your retail business. For Deanne and her customers, rug hooking is a meditative “place to go,” much like journaling, exercise, or prayer. She has been slowly growing and building her creative retail business from an in-home studio to a downtown retail space in Amherst, Nova Scotia with a team of 14 over the past 30 years.
“When I’m creating … My intention is to create from a place of soulfulness.” Deanne Fitzpatrick
Deanne explains throughout the episode that her business centers around her passion for the art of rug hooking. Over the years, she has been able to expand her business by adding revenue streams that are compatible and complementary to selling not only everything her rug hooking customers need but also her finished pieces, monthly subscriptions, kits, memberships, retreats/workshops, wholesale, and authoring multiple books.
One of the things Deanne highlights in our conversation is that not all opportunities are ones you should jump on; or, in other words, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
The business advice she has always given and follows is to center your business around what you are most passionate about. We love this advice.
Deanne has also put a lot of effort and focus on community and making her studio space feel like “home.” A few examples she gives is that she offers her customers tea and her rug runners in the shop are handmade and comfy, not industrial. She also has bunting hanging from the ceilings so her shop feels and looks more like a working studio than a retail shop.
Atmosphere and vibe matter.
“I think of my business as an art project.” - Deanne Fitzpatrick
Deanne is clear with her role in her business: (1) making art (2) writing (3) guidance and business development. She employs capable, passionate people and empowers them with the knowledge and opportunity to make decisions and to help with the rest.
“In being good to our customers, we also have to be fair to ourselves and our staff.” - Deanne Fitzpatrick
We also touched a bit on social media marketing as well. Deanne’s advice is to pay close attention to the marketing efforts of someone you have chosen to follow closely. Being a “follower” of someone else’s business online can remind us what our followers may want/need from us.
In the Words of Deanne:
“I hook nearly every day. I cannot stop myself. I like the feel of wool slipping through my fingers. My goal is to live simply, and make hooked rugs that are unmistakably art.
Rug hooking is full of possibilities. It has changed my life, and been a powerful force in changing the lives of the people I have met through it. I have learned that art, craft and handmade can totally change the way you view the world and how you feel about it.
My style of rug hooking, with its meditative qualities, and its freedom from rules adds beauty to our world and is therapeutic on its own. It is joyful, powerful and transformative. It is not about being perfect, it is about creating beauty everyday.
I have a retail studio in Amherst Nova Scotia where I work with an amazing group of talented people. We create classes, kits, patterns and supplies available online. I have written eight books about creativity and rug hooking, and exhibited widely in public and private galleries.”
Visit Deanne in her studio or online at
Related podcasts we think you’ll like:
Episode 149: Retailer Success Stories: How Two Friends Turned a Creative Hobby into a Successful Retail Business
Episode 106: Multi-Passionate Jo Packham and The Creative Business Journey
Episode 35: Five Tips for Finding Success as a Creative Retailer
About your host, Wendy Batten
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m Wendy, a small business coach and founder of the Retailer’s Inner Circle, where I help other independent shop owners learn how to gain the right business skillsets to see more profits, paychecks, and joy as they navigate running their retail business.
Through online classes, business coaching programs, speaking, and a top-ranked podcast, I’ve helped hundreds of retailers around the globe reclaim their dream and see the success they want from their beautiful shops. my signature private coaching community, The Retailer’s Inner Circle, has helped retailers around the world build their retail business skill sets and confidence.
I am proud to have been featured in several major publications, including my own business column in What Women Create magazine. I have been privileged to be a guest on top-ranked podcasts and sought-after as a guest speaker and teacher for several brands, associations, and communities that are passionate about the success of independent retailers.
When I’m not coaching, you will find me either DIYing and renovating my very imperfect old crooked cottage by the sea in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg, NS, or blogging about our travel and RVing adventures and the weird fun things we get up to in our coastal village. I’d love to invite you to check out one of my free resources for real retailers at https://wendybatten.com/free-resources/
For more support from Wendy
All of Wendy’s programs and services for shop owners can be found HERE.
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