Tag Archives: yarn companies

We interupt the current programming for an important message! Yarn Stores LISTEN UP!

Recently one of the members of the CLF sent me a letter about his crochet activism. He’s been busy contacting companies, both online retailers of yarn, and yarn companies asking for more on the crochet side of the aisle. Amazingly he’s met with some great success. In fact, recently he got an online store to feature crochet more prominently, but in their response to him they stated that they were hard pressed to find attractive crochet patterns to feature on their web site. He relayed this to me with a standard, thoughtful crocheter answer, “Yeah, maybe we do need to step up to the plate more…”

My response was this; We can always step up to the plate more, but the “no attractive” patterns line has gotten very old to my ears. I can think of a dozen designers off the top of my head who make beautiful, practical, elegant and fashion forward designs in all realms of crochet goodness. The time of the ugly has long passed, and beyond having attractive designs, we are surpassing our old knowledge base and adding to it at rapid speed. In fact, I can think of no better time in history to be a crocheter, our materials are excellent, our access to information is beyond the pale, and our pioneering efforts are only just beginning. We are in a time of innovation and exploration, it’s a great time for crochet, and there are many designers meeting the challenge on a daily basis.

When I looked at the website he had contacted I saw that they in fact had many good crochet designs on offer, by a well known crochet designer. (Cough…cough…and Ahem….) Hair pin lace? Yup that’s crochet, Tunisian? Yup, that’s crochet. DUH. Broomstick lace? Yup that’s crochet, too.

But, in reality what I saw was a lack of designs on offer by the yarn companies that store features. Is that the designers’ fault? No, I tell you it is not. It is the fault of the yarn companies for not hiring designers to create fabulous designs for them.

Yarn companies, listen up and listen good, if you want crochet clientele then having attractive, up to date (at the least) garments will get you that clientele. Not offering more than a scarf pattern here or there is ridiculous, especially when you offer so much for other crafts in your pattern line. So, I thought I’d give the information any business wants to hear: the bottom line.

Designing a crocheted garment takes time, but not as much time as one created in pointy sticks. Crochet works up faster, therefore the initial design concept as well as any testing takes less time to make. Does it mean it takes less skills? Nope, the fabric is just created faster, it still takes plenty of technical skills and math skills to make a damn fine pattern. But you could get 10 patterns out of a crochet designer far faster than in another craft. Second of all, if you pay a designer a decent fee, and don’t make them sign their life away you’ll have a designer loyal to the core and quite willing to promote your product. That, too, is worth it’s weight in marketing budgets.

So before you start dissin’ the crochet designs out there, take another look. We long ago and far away proved there are beautiful crochet patterns out there, unless you live in Mythlandia, and if you reside there, then you only know what you have heard.

Yarn companies, come on, start hiring on the crochet designers, it will be worth your while.

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!