A New Year’s Rant…Marketing.

Recently I received a wonderful letter from a gentleman in Texas. He’s been crocheting for many years, and even though he buys crochet magazines, he’s often annoyed at all the baby patterns etc, because he doesn’t often have any infants to crochet for, and finding men’s patterns is tough.

Recently, a baby was born into his family and so he was flipping through old Crochet Today magazines, and found the July/August ’09 issue, and found the article about the CLF and myself. Here’s what he had to say…

Suddenly I needed to go back through my magazines, and other sources for a whole new genre’ of work. And there on page 10 of the July/August issue was the picture of the book cover, and it reached out and grabbed me, I can’t imagine where my head was the first 3 or 4 times I perused it. 

I was heartened beyond my ability to express. I guess I thought I was the only one who felt bruised and abused by all the companies out there who seem to only want to cater to those who pursue the “K” word. I have no idea how many emails I have sent to those sites that seem to think our fabulous art is somehow “less”, and beneath their attention and inclusion. I suppose there may be more folk out there who “K”, but as we all know we use more yarn than they, pattern to pattern. And yet we remain the redheaded step-children of the yarn community. Some of the companies sell some very beautiful strings, but I would rather use RHSS bought from someone who at least recognize our existence, than spend one cent with the stuck-up snobs who belittle us, and I have communicated those feelings to the thoughtless offenders.

 Anyway, I was so very happy to learn of your efforts, and join you in the cause.

This letter made my day, my week, and I felt it was the auspicious sign I needed for 2010. I know this gentleman is not alone in his feelings, we have almost 4500 members in the CLF today, and so many come into the welcome thread, excited to have found a group full of people like themselves.

People who are tired of being put down because of something they do. People who are tired of having difficulty finding patterns, or yarn that meet their needs. Tired of going into stores and being told the yarn they are buying is for some other craft, because crochet can’t possibly do it justice. People who know these are untruths, people who know that crocheting is a wonderful and fabulous art form, the CLF is full of people just like you.

Here’s the deal. Coats and Clark (owner’s of RedHeart),  have always served the crochet market. Whether you like their yarn or not, they have indeed decided they like the color of our money. (By the way, RHSS is number 4 on the Ravelry list of yarn used in projects, and most of those? Knit, with over 1000 pages of projects, you know stick projects: just pointing out a fact.)  So, to those in the industry, once again let me give you some free advice that’s actually worth something.

If you want to make more money in a crappy economy, why not try the following:

A)    Advertise to us specifically.

 Lumping us in as an addendum is ridiculous, we don’t like being “and crochet”, we don’t like being seen as an after thought. If you want our money, try talking nicely to us, and telling us how pretty we are…It’s kind of like dating, if you want to get the girl/guy, maybe treating them nicely will get you further. Telling us how we don’t quite make the grade doesn’t get you a date.

B) If you don’t know enough about what crochet is and can do, hire someone who does to be a consultant.

It amazes me how the yarn companies, magazines, and stores are willing to hire experts in other fields but are not willing to hire crochet experts. It’s as if they truly believe the idiocy of the myths. You will sell more if you hire competent, expert level crochet enthusiasts to help you market better and choose patterns that will be more likely to appeal to the crocheter.  I mean really, why hire an expert in another fiber art, who may or may not have a passing acquaintance with crochet, and then take their word for it? Do you hire your mechanics like that? Someone who works on marine motors is not always a competent car mechanic.

C) Stop blaming the consumer.

This goes for crochet groups and crochet aficionados too. I am so TIRED of hearing about cheap crocheters. My GAWD people, there are those who are budget conscious and those who are not. There are those who prefer to buy quality goods at decent prices, and those who don’t care. It’s not craft specific, it’s a personality thing. Stop saying that crocheters are cheap. Start offering what we want to buy. You haven’t figured it out, because you haven’t listened.

We do write in, we do ask, we do buy, but you seem to be so entrenched in your own mythology boxes that you refuse to see the economic truths of the matter: People will not buy something they do not want, need or can use. It is YOUR JOB to show us how much we might want, need or can use your product.

Three simple things that can help your bottom line. It’s that simple. And thank you Texas Gentleman, you made my year!


10 responses to “A New Year’s Rant…Marketing.

  1. Amy (aka Greenwoman)

    All right! I’m glad that Texas gentleman discovered the CLF. (I agree with him on the plethora of baby projects in some of the crochet mags, btw. Thanks for the rant. Nothing like starting out the year with a good rant! We will eventually get the attention of somebody with clout at some of these yarn companies. There’s power in numbers. Let’s keep e-mailing, writing, calling until they listen.

  2. I’m a recent convert from k to crochet. It’s definitely having a revival in the UK, this may make a difference over there, I’m waiting to see what happens!

    • Great news! I had a wonderful time playing with Fiber Activist Extra-Ordinaire Rockpool Candy who is on your side of the pond, I wonder how much her great flair and passion have to do with that? She’s a lovely as she appears in her photos btw! Good on you and have too much fun brandishing your hooks with pride!

  3. I agree with you that we don’t like being ” . . . and Crochet”, but I mind much less when we are “Crochet and . . .” 🙂

  4. Well, yes…which would be just fine by me, alphabetical order and all 🙂

  5. LOVE. The “mythology box” too! And yeah, it *is* like dating!
    Ugh, Laurie, I’m appalled by the blaming of the crochet customer. As if these businesses are *entitled* to crochet dollars. No, sorry. I say to them, “Do the work!” Listen, and then listen better. Do some introspection, innovate, offer real value, etc.–it’s business 101, always has been. I was raised on retail and can’t believe businesspeople’s attitudes toward crocheters as customers–the blaming, whining, haranguing, disparaging, eye-rolling! It’s so illogical businesswise that I gotta figure it’s the unconscious prejudice against crochet in a knit-soaked mind.

    • I agree with you Vashti…Frankly it is ignorance and sometimes stupidity.

      So that’s why I take my money where it is appreciated 😉

      It’s kinda like the song that Donkey Sings to Shrek…”You gota gota have some TENDERNESS!”…I’m sorry, but I like foreplay, and most of the stores out there do not provide me with it…They just lay there, and expect me to do all the work.. WHATEVER!

  6. Had a great experience at one of my LYS (Green Planet Yarn in Campbell CA) today; went in there to pick up some unusual yarns to use in a class I’m taking at Stitches West (Myra Wood’s Creative Crochet Lace, if you must know). They didn’t put me down when I told them what I was looking for; the clerk I was with just showed me where the fingering weight yarns were, recommended a few, and let me pet the yarn at my leisure. Then when I was ringing up the purchase the sales clerk behind the register and I got talking about Irish crochet, and she even brought up the Ravelry pages on the store computer! Definitely put the bee in my bonnet about eventually adding that to my repertoire.

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