Yarn Companies: RENT A CLUE

Dear Crochet Enthusiasts,

Get ready for another rant.

Your Humble Servant,

Fearless Leader

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.


9 responses to “Yarn Companies: RENT A CLUE

  1. You go girl!!!

    I buy yarn based on lots of different factors. Yes, like you, I buy inexpensive yarns for projects that I don’t think will be taken care of. I made a shawl for middle daughter to wear at oldest’s wedding. She has misplaced it and it never made it to the wedding. Over 4 months later it still hasn’t shown up. Am I glad I used inexpensive yarn? You betcha! If I had been making it for the oldest I would have used something better.

    But I buy higher priced yarns too. I was talking to hubs today about how I am planning on buying my bamboo from a certain business because I can get it dyed the color I want and not be limited to what some store (brick or online) happens to carry. I am the customer and I don’t want to be limited by what some big company thinks I should buy.

    And I have found out the hard way that higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality. If I don’t like the quality of yarn I go someplace else the next time. That also loses the sales of patterns and other accessories that I might buy at that location as I just don’t go back.

    Several months ago I found a small business woman who is great to work with and has gone above and beyond. Handspuns, great variety, custom colors… Why should I go somewhere else???

    You are most definitely correct of the buying yarn with no project in mind. I might have a category (wearable, afghan, etc) in mind but I have lots and lots and LOTS of yarn in my stash. I have three rolling 12 cube cubbies that are overflowing plus I don’tnknow how many plastic totes stuffed to the gills and it looks like a yarn store here. ANd I bought some more today! But, you can never have enough! 😉

  2. Amen sister! Or, in Ravelry terms, agree (1000000). I buy yarn of all prices, and usually find the pattern once I have the yarn in hand. (And the first place I usually look when I wind up with a commercial yarn is the yarn company’s website.) And when I’m disappointed with the selection of crochet projects, a lot of times I won’t buy the yarn again.
    Y’know, people talk smack about Red Heart yarns, but they at least give us almost as many patterns as they do the pointy stick people. In fact, I was at Wal-Mart today, and every single Red Heart project leaflet was a crochet project. They may be cheap, but they at least love us. Same with Lion Brand. Berocco, Bernat, and all the rest need to wise up.

  3. LOL

    I ready our post with such great pride! I knit and crochet both, but just as you said, there are yarns I buy for certain people or projects and others I buy for other projects. I do find it funny that they would say crocheters don’t buy expensive yarns and then forget to see that they are the “discount” or relatively “lower grade” of yarn. If I go to a yarn shop to buy yarn, theirs is not the one I’m looking to purchase.

    They really should get a clue! Thanks for “venting” I think you speak for many people in your rant!

  4. Why is there no agree button on blogger? 🙂

    As an example from another industry, you will find any large construction company that is worth its salt also has a good interiors department. Why? When the economy stinks, clients renovate the space they have instead of building new. Interiors projects fill in the swells between $500 million stadiums. Maybe the higher dollar yarn lines should consider “economy lines”, like designers do selling clothes at Target.

  5. I’m not sure who I heard this from but one reason given for the small amount of crochet patterns that were being offered to us was lack of crochet designers (compared to knit designers.)
    I think this probably was, at one time, true but not anymore.

    There is a huge number of talented, original, innovative designers out there and the yarn companies are either unaware of them or they are simply ignoring this wealth of creativity.
    Pretty dumb, especially in these financial times to totally miss out on this growing market share.

  6. I’d like to hear more about the yarn companies that DO promote crochet patterns.

    Personally, I think Blue Sky Alpacas is doing a great job adding hooked patterns. And, while I’m not sure what’s up on their site now, Louet was actively seeking crochet patterns for their site at TNNA a year ago.

    Who else do you like for their support?

  7. I’ve always been puzzled by craft snobbery on the part of yarn sellers. Crocheters use a lot more yarn to make a comparable item (such as a sweater). They should be encouraging crochet, not sneering at it.

  8. Fearless Leader of the CLF

    The Pro-article will be coming…But I think it’s very important to both state where the inequity is, state the solution…and then take our money where it’s wanted…

    I try to keep it even…That’s why we have a crochet friendly LYS list 😉

  9. Mercè Jara Muns

    ouh yeah!!!
    i found it! thanks goog you exist, it’s the firs time that i see this blog-movement-crochet and I’m very happy with it.
    I gonna follow your movemets and show you soon the mines, I’m working in a crochet-art-sculpture for an exposition…very soon…by the time I “croche”…see you soon

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