Dear Crochet Enthusiasts,
Get ready for another rant.
Your Humble Servant,
I cannot begin to count the number of discussions on the CLF HQ message board on Ravelry, where CLF members have brought up the disparity in pattern availability for crochet from various well known yarn companies. Let me list a few: Bernat, Berroco, Cascade, Phildar, Malabrigo, Dale of Norway, Noro, Lopi. Again just a small list of yarns, not all of them terribly spendy, nor difficult to find.
The yarn companies like to say that crocheters are “cheap” or don’t buy good yarn, or patterns.
Ok, you folks know that I have not always been “Fearless Leader”, I actually have worked in the business world, suits, good shoes, and a lovely briefcase to boot…So, let me explain some very SIMPLE business principles to these companies.
Yup, free business advice (and some of the “too big to fail” corps may want to pay attention, because this is old fashion business practice and has NOTHING to do with creative accounting)…
1) Sales aren’t always based on patterns. The majority of crocheters buy yarn without having a project or pattern in mind. (80% according to my own survey).
2) Putting down potential clientele is a way to turn off consumers, and is a great way to not make money.
3) In the list above, only a few can be described as “premiere” brands. Folks like Bernat and Berroco need to understand that their glory days at “The Yarn To Buy” rest back in the 1950’s and has declined ever since. They are not premiere brands, they are affordable, decent yarn, that many people use to substitute for more “expensive” and premiere brands. In other words, instead of insisting we (the crochet community) are cheap, recognize that you aren’t the spendy yarn in the market and you’re biting the hand that feeds you.
4) Fashion and function are two separate issues. Just because something is in fashion one year, doesn’t mean it will be forever. Functional yarn will always be in style, even if color popularity rotates. Fads are temporary…
5) Online the majority of crocheters are an average of 35 years old. They do more than one craft, and enjoy many kinds of fibers. 60% of online crocheters use patterns. 69% live on either coast of the USA.
“Cheap yarns” sell more than any other kind of yarn, putting it down doesn’t change the fact. They sell to all kinds of fiber artists, from crocheters, to luceters, to knitters, and tatters. If you think knitters buy less Red Heart Supersaver think again my friends.
High end, price tags will make a certain amount of money in any business, but they don’t sell consistently and in volume.
As I once admonished a sales person I managed, “I don’t care if you brought in the big account three months ago, you haven’t brought in anything since then. Mr. X brought in 20 accounts in the same amount of time, they may not be as big, but it spreads out our income.”
So, shut up about the cheap comments, because truly and honestly I only buy Bernat and other similar yarns when I’m making items for bazaars, or for family who won’t take care of more special projects. I’m not the only person who chooses to do this, in fact most of my knitting friends feel similarly.
Oh one last thing, we buy lots of yarn, all kinds of yarn, and we don’t have to do so to crochet. We can crochet with anything that bends around a hook. We are not limited to garments, we can make House Cozies if we want to… So if you want more money, it’s called marketing.
Market to us, and gee you just might see an increase in sales.