Tag Archives: yarn stores

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.

When it rains it pours… (Or crochet feast or famine)

So, I went to my local yarn story today to pick up the very wool which will become my warm socks that I so desperately need. The owner Sirrku is a knitter par excellence, and a brilliant crocheter besides, sher’s IS one of the most CROCHET friendly yarn stores, and I am blessed to have her just a hop skip and jump from my house. She recently moved her premises into a lovely new space with gorgeous hardwood floors, and PLENTY of room to display her yummy wares.

You can get good old fashioned kitchen cotton in a fabo range of colors, good workhorse acrylics and wools, and then delightfully fine and fuzzilicious baby alpaca, scrumptious Merino, and to DYE for silk/mohair lace weight yarns. I love her store. And she carries both crochet hooks and knitting needles in equal measure. I love her shop. It’s called PinchKnitter’s and is in Stanwood, WA. What? I am recommending a store with a knitcentric name? Yeah I am, because it’s named after Sirrku (the owner) she has been “pinch knitting” for folks for years before she opened the shop, and I like the play on words…And she’s the only game in our small town AND makes no bones about welcoming you regardless of your craft of choice!

So, what does this have to do with when it rains it pours? Well, we have talked around my teaching classes there for about a year or so, with nothing much happening about it. Mostly due to my schedule being wackadoodle and her changing shopfront’s twice (each time to bigger and better!…I’m so proud of her!)…So starting next February I will be teaching several beginning classes, and one lace class (which I think an advanced beginner would have a easy enough time for it.)!

“Laurie ” She says to me, “I am getting oodles of requests for crochet classes, so write your blurbs and email me! We’ll shoot for February!”

So if you want to learn how to make Irish Crocheted Roses, or want to expand your personal stitch dictionary I’ll be teaching a basics  “Make decorative washcloths” expanding stitch vocabulary class through out the Fridays in February, I’ll just do the one Crocheted Roses classes, which can be done in lace thread or in large yarn (doesn’t matter, shapes all work the same 🙂 ) and we’ll see how it goes !

If you go in before that time, look for the CLF postcards on her counter! Ooodles of fun they are!

So more crocheting is feasting on my table. OH and I’m almost done with that hammock, one more 400 yd skein of yarn and we should be big enough to hold most of the collection. At this rate I think my niece might fit into it as well! LOL

Yay!

Twistedpdx, Crochet, Handspinning, Giant Web, Halloween Party

Twistedpdx, Crochet, Handspinning, Giant Web, Halloween Party

 

And just so you know if you are planning on spinning at this event PLEASE Bring natural colored wool…Crocheters needed to make the web!

Time for a Rant: Demanding some maturity!

One of the great pleasures I have is receiving your notes and emails. I love hearing your stories, and even answering questions from time to time. Yet, once in a while I get a note from one of you that makes me either sad or angry for you!

I got one such letter from a CLF member the other day, first thanking me for putting links to some CLF member designer’s pages where their patterns can be found, and then informing me as to why she was having trouble getting patterns in her area. Her most local yarn store, is run by an immature, thoughtless person (my words not hers)!

One day this CLF member went into the store, was going to purchase some very nice silk, and there was a class happening IN THE MAIN ROOM of the store! Yup that’s right, I know many LYS owners who do that so that they can help clients that walk in when they are short on staff or have a small store. The CLF member in question asked for help and was ignored, she continued browsing and looked up from time to time to see if she could catch someone’s attention…Well, heck and darn, one of the people taking the class (a pointy sticker, bless her heart and a nice one) pointed out that a customer needed help. And here’s the truth…and it’s just galls me to no end…

The yarn store owner said in a LOUD whisper, “Oh she’s just a crocheter, I’m not going to help HER.”

So, our dear CLF member walked out, not making a purchase and will not return. Good for you CLF member! Don’t forget to check the Crochet Friendly Yarn Store List for stores that DO want your money.

In this economy where people are giving people the line of “it’s tough times” and “I can’t afford to advertise” and “I can’t afford this or that…” then maybe business owners would remember that customer service is their FRONT LINE on making money. Most silk skeins I’ve seen in yarn stores aren’t cheap, that could have been a good sale…But no, someone had to be immature and decide that high school clique was in fashion this season and had to lose a sale…

MY GOD PEOPLE IT”S YARN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s all it is! Yarn…Yarn doesn’t care what you do with it, as long as you use it…

Crocheters, listen to me…Don’t spend your money in places like this, come over to the CLF Message Board and look at our long list of stores who DO want our money.

And for you immature folk out there who want to have dividing lines and don’t think our money is good enough for your store? Have fun trying to stay in business. Because my friends, had some of my pointy stick buddies been there, they would have walked out hearing a comment like that.

Stop the Croch-Ate…

Yarn Business, some advice

Hey folks it’s your friendly Fearless Leader here, offering some business advice to yarn companies big or small. Having been in your ranks selling my handspun yarn I have great empathy for vendor’s braving the various markets at events (big and small). At the Recent Sock Summit I heard tell of a few grumbles amongst the vendors because they felt the market place was too large to do them benefit. WOAH, you are so kidding me?

First of all, having been a vendor at various shows I can guarentee you that being in a small vendors market is no guarentee to making money versus being in a large show room. Second of all as a shopper I can tell you it won’t guarenttee sales either.

Why? I’ll tell ya why! Competition doesn’t decrease sales, monopolies do not guarentee sales (unless it’s a needed service like water or electricity), for consumer goods it’s what you got and how it’s displayed that makes all the difference. You don’t have to be into Feng Shui to understand that merchandising is an art form, and I am always intregued as I walk through a market place looking at the set up of the various stalls to see who created an inviting environment and who has not.

If you have your entrance barracaded with tables and stock behind you people are not going to freely waltz into your stall unless they are extremely extraverted. Likewise, you will not get people interested if you are so open and loosey goosey that the choices are overwhelming. You may want to read up on Feng Shui (at least a simple book) just to see how to make your booth attractive!  I’m not into Feng Shui much, but I know people who are and their homes always feel nice and I also know that how you display your goods and/or services makes a huge difference.

The next thing to consider is this, do you have anything unique to your stall/store? Put that up where people see it first. The biggest problem I saw for most vendors at the Sock Summit was the fact that about 60% of them were displaying various forms of Super-wash Merino sock yarn in various flavors. Some of the handpainted stuff was nice, and some of the quality of the fibers differed but in general if you all have the same thing, good luck with that. Also, if you are coming to either the Pacific Northwest OR the Northeast of the USA, understand that we have a bazillion local yarn stores and getting ahold of things like superwash sock yarn isn’t all that hard.

If you have stock you want to clearance, do it at a show, put a Clearance sign up and mark down your prices, people love a good deal. Not all of your stock has to be a good deal just some of it. Or if you have cute little doohickies like buttons, book marks, stickers, or stitchmarkers, put those up for sale where people can see them and impulse shop!

Now why doesn’t competition hurt you? Well, if you are smart about your business you will have something unique to your store and no one else will have it there! You should be able to see well in advance who is vending with you, check out what they have in stock in their shops online try not to dupilcate if possible, and if you do make sure your price point is a good one.

Big shows and vendors markets give consumers a lot of choice, and you make not make a lot of HUGE sales but you should make consistent sales. Caveat: You might just have the MUST HAVE product of the show and then you will rake in the dough!

A small market doesn’t mean you will make much money at all, more than once my higher priced handspun art yarn did ok, but faltered next to the guy who had discounted hanks of yarn! It was a small show, with lots of people, but the discount vendors made more…Why? everyone has a budget, most people do not have big ones, especially when they are traveling from out of town and have to pay for hotel etc.

Remember these simple rules:

  • Keep your booth open and inviting
  • Display your unique items up front
  • Have legible signs for sale and clearance items
  • Mark your inventory with prices
  • Highlight your strengths
  • Do a display of a technique or something special of what you do.
  • Smile
  • And make friends with your neighboring vendors, because you can send each other clients and customers!

Just some friendly advice from someone who has been in the trenches!