Karen Smith, owner
1360 Disc Dr.
Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday: 12 to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Riddle me this: What do quilting fabric and human hair have in common?
The answer: They can both be snipped.
And if it can be snipped, “bring it in,” Karen Smith said of her recently expanded Twisted Scissor Salon and Quilt Shoppe on Disc Drive. As of Jan. 11, she services customers with a haircut or manicure on one side of the store and materials and a place to quilt on the other.
“I love to quilt and wanted to generate more income — how many people get to work around their passion?” Smith said.
Twisted Scissor opened as a beauty salon and gift shop 12 years ago. The owner said she has always done well with it, but she wanted to incorporate her love for sewing into it and to give the northeast area of Sparks a different niche.
So, Smith enlarged her retail space from about 1,150 to 2,300 square feet and has plans to rearrange the shop so that the salon, which currently takes up the majority of the floor, would be reduced and the quilting side can be extended.
A strange combination? Maybe, but for Smith it’s par for the course.
“(My husband) has always told me I’m a risktaker,” Smith said.
The risk is in the melding of two industries that have a pair of scissors as a common denominator. She is moving her business away from selling gift items because it’s a “tough industry,” Smith said.
But there’s not much risk in competition, she said. According to Smith, it’s likely the closest store that also sells fabrics and quilting materials is Wal-Mart, but she’s not worried about losing business.
“I don’t consider them to be competition. The town is growing by leaps and bounds and there are so many cute things here,” she said.
And she should know of Sparks’ growth spurts: Her husband, Ron Smith, is a Sparks City Council member and is the manager of the Scolari’s Food and Drug Co. nearby on Disc Drive.
It was Ron, in fact, who helped develop the name for Twisted Scissor. Smith said it was based on a discussion about the ’80s metal band Twisted Sister. She said she was reluctant about the idea but it finally grew on her.
In the quilt shop, Smith sells “higher-end” fabrics because she prefers materials that are brighter, have more unique patterns and will last longer.
“People pass down their quilts to their children,” she said. “The fabrics have to hold up.”
Customers can purchase the fabric at $8.25 per yard on average. The shelves are lined with jelly rolls, some quilting books, stencils and a few various art supplies.
For the remainder of January, Smith is holding a sale on flat quarter rolls, or bundles of small squares of fabric, at four for $2.50 and the customer can receive a fifth one for free. She still has remnants of gift items when the salon also sold gift items, including Virginia scented candles that run for $16.
Peggy Wheeler, a customer and friend of Smith, said she offers “beautiful fabrics,” especially the Batiks, which are created by an Indonesian process of wax-resist dyeing. Wheeler comes in and shares her projects with Smith, as do many of her customers.
Smith plans to offer sewing classes in the near future. In the meantime, she has a table in the shop for anyone to come in with a project or to start one and ask for her help.
Smith said she tries to keep up with her own sewing projects as she is able, but the flow of customers keeps most of her attention.
“I lose interest if a project takes too long,” Smith said.
On the salon side, Smith hires contractors, including six hairdressers and three manicurists.
“She keeps a good sense of humor,” said Renee Cartinella, a nail technician. “She helps us all out and she’s fair.”
Cartinella thought opening the fabric side of Twisted Scissor was beneficial for Smith.
“It’s a good thing; she needs to follow her passion,” Cartinella said.
Although managing the two concepts keeps her busy, Smith said she enjoys it and hopes to continue growing the quilt shop.
“There’s something about women that quilt,” Smith said. “There’s a giftedness. Itís like a common gene you recognize in a fellow quilter.”