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Retailer Attitude Towards Crochet

July 25th, 2007 at 00:37 am » Comments (1)

Crochet As The New Knitting –

Part IV:
Retailers & Crochet Consumers

Retailers need to realize there is growing segment in the yarn community who have been exposed to and have been enamoured of “Yarn Store Yarns” for Crochet.

It is true, that based on harsh experience many who crochet have not had the most positive of experiences, some of the fault is the attitude they bring in the door.

Yet, more of it is likely a defensive response by the shop owner or staff because they are not sure they possess the necessary skills to properly support the Crochet customer in the way they (The Retailer) want to be able to serve their customer.

Nor, should Retailers believe that all past behavior is the unbreakable rule. An opportunity exists to increase your sales thru common courtesy. So what if they initially only buy from the Sale Bin. You did want to sell that stuff didn’t you?

At a shop recently opened in my area, she has a begun monthly stitching night. The Group was quite diverse including a small cadre of those who can knit but prefer not to. We had an interesting discussion about why Yarn Shops seem to be Crochet Unfriendly. Typical of many of the shops opened in the last few years, the shop owner is rather new to the business.

Atypical is that she is completely upfront about her lack of indepth knowledge and has gone out of her way to hire ‘experts’ who can assist her customers in the many ways of using yarn.

I explained that, in my opinion, it really has nothing to do with Crochet – although changing in the last few years, reports and reality of clique-ishness in “local shops” for any needle arts have been rampant for years. You can read all about that in just about any “Knit Group”

Add in the challenge of possibly not having the skill set to properly support Crochet, with a smidgeon of Customer Attitude because they have not had happy experiences in other shops, and I sincerely believe that most of what is perceived as snootiness about crochet is really just a very human reaction defensive reaction caused by fully understanding something.

It is just so hard to say “I don’t Know” when you are in the position of thinking it paramont to the be the expert.

If Retailers recognize this and explain it to their staff, then it will help them to create the Retailer/Consumer relationships that benefit both.

It is neither rational or reasonable for the consumer to expect a retailer to stock merchandise that that is unprofitable. If Crocheters want free patterns and cheap tools and low cost yarns, they need to shop elsewhere.

From a shop owner perspective.

No, Crochet is NOT the New Knitting…

but why not make them feel welcome, perhaps invest a bit of time in learning more about Crochet and at least carry a few patterns, books and tools for this craft, they will see this become an increasing portion of their sales.

Don’t they deserve the same courtesy and respect you give to other user of yarn?

Maybe I need to offer a class at TNNA on making your shop “Crochet Friendly” without breaking the Open to Buy Budget Let me go make a note to include cost of a Nerf Ball Bat to use on those who forgot to knock off the chip before they came in the door.


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Crocheters In The LYS

July 20th, 2007 at 00:06 am » Comments (3)

Crochet As The New Knitting –

Part III:
Crocheters In The Local Yarn Shop (LYS)

I do not (read Part IV next week) believe that Retailers should be totally left off the hook (pun intended) but your local shops are in many ways a partnership between the proprietor and the customer. IF you want a shop to be Crochet Friendly – well you have to support that by purchasing the products the sell at the price they can afford to offer them.

Shopping in an LYS does not make you a “YARN SNOB”, a term I find divisive and smacking annoyingly of “Have vs Have Nots”

It JUST Does Not Have To Be That Way. It does NOTHING to improve the craft or the industry.

I am NOT embarassed because I Crochet.

I don’t hide what I enjoy behind “fancy terms” like Fiber Artist.

Yarn choices for my business activities are often dictated by others. Yarn Choices for my personal projects are dictated by what I can afford and what will be suitable for the project.

I want Crochet to be accepted and respected –

That means I invest much thought in planning my projects, thinking about how the item will be used and what stitches and materials will give me the best result – including what yarns I can afford.

Each project deserves as the utmost care and pride in creativity and craftsmanship I can invest put into my work, the quality of the workmanship, the thought I give in planning each project -whether it is a garment for a beloved grand. child, an afghan or cap for charity

I also spend a fair amount of time helping other to improve the quality of their work without regard to what yarns they can afford.

In other words, I have enough respect for myself and my work to be secure in my accomplishments and see no need to be defensive about that work.

I am pleased to admit I can Knit, but …
I LOVE To Crochet
and in the words of that immortal 1970 movie:

Love means never having to say you’re sorry

Okay, I am not going to spend $100 on Buffalo Gold for a baby sweater. (adult is more like $300 much less what plus size will require) I can and do choose to spend an extra $10 for many of the Sirdar yarns or Kraemer’s Little Lehigh or Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece – although I hope to soon try Serendipity Tweed – They are well priced and better quality and offer good yardage – and will produce a product worth my time to make and the love with which it is given. There are other “Yarn Store Brands” that also offer quality product at a fair price.

If I cannot afford a certain yarn, then I do not rant on the Internet about unfair it is. I don’t abuse the shop staff about how they are “gouging me” – such rudeness is uncivil, impolite and embarrassing to all.

Nor, do I think it helps the image of Crochet when “professionals” create an unbusiness-like disturbance on the floor or a trade show… causing one retailer to comment (as I took her order for quality Crochet Patterns) “I am not really sure I want those kinds of people in my shop. We prefer to be welcoming not combative”. (Behavior that was commented on Other Retailers and well none of us were amuzed.)

No where in the Miranda decision did the court say “If you cannot afford higher priced goods, we will provide it for you”

If your funds are limited and you do not wish to limit your supplies so choose lower priced goods, that is your decision to make – and none of my business.

But if that is your situation, I decline to accept the concept that just because you want something you are entitled to have it. This is not food, medicine or shelter or legal representation in a court of law. Although it might be fun to try to convince the insurance companies to offer yarn and hooks instead of anti-depressants or other mind altering substances or local government to trade yarn for guns instead of cash to be spent on street drugs.

With rare exceptions, I have been treated like any other customer (good, bad or indifferent) even after I said I Crocheted – I have not been, and some stupid comment is made about Crochet I just look at them with a sad expression and say “I am so sorry you are so limited in your skills, it must be very difficult to own/work in a yarn store without the proper knowledge of how your products can be used…”

On the other hand, there has been a many a time when I wanted to take out a baseball bat our from under the cash drawer and knock the chip off the shoulder of the Crochet Only Customer. For goodness sakes, can you really blame the shop owner who prefers the customers who seem happy to be there over the ones who are only there to bargain hunt and STILL complain about the cost.

If Crocheters want better treatment in the LYS, they need to knock the chip off their shoulder, take pride in their choices and treat others the way they wish to be treated. Shop owners and their staff are human beings.

Courtesy & Respect are a Two Way Street.


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Crochet in the Merchant Mall

July 19th, 2007 at 00:01 am » Comments (1)

Is Crochet The New Knitting? –

Part II : Crochet
In The Merchant Mall

Okay so the CGOA annual conference Chainlink was last week. Health issues kept me home, and that may be part of why I am cranky

However, I am also cranky because of the usual post-Chainlink complaints about the Merchant Mall not having enough Crochet.

Some of us did a fair amount of post show consumer research last year. What we found out when we asked enough questions “Not Enough Crochet Stuff” was really code for
No Chain Store Type yarns at Cheap prices.

Well since Michael’s Wal-Mart & Hobby Lobby did not take a booth and these products cannot easily be offered profitably by Independent shops, you are unlikely to find them at a show like Stitches or the Knit & Crochet Show. The Products offered are and should be what the Merchant believes will be profitable.

The influence of the hobby guild is & should be primarily in class choices. And No Crocheter should be complaining about the quality of the education that is routinely offered at CGOA and TKGA’s respective annual conferences.

I can also tell you with complete certainty that Knit and Crochet show management encourages the Merchants to bring Crochet products to BOTH shows (even though the Fall show is technically the TKGA/Knitting event) and each offers classes of interest to the other.

But you cannot pay booth fees by selling products that are not profitable.

I can also tell you why as someone who has run “The Almost No Knitting Booth” at several events I will no longer able to give such total support to the Needle Art I personally enjoy so very much.

Why? If I had a $1 for every time I over heard, “Oh I am so glad she brought that so I could see it… now I know I want it, I can order it Online “cheaper”. – the shows would have been profitable instead of marginal.

I know at least one merchant who will not return to the Knit & Crochet event. Why? Well she went to the trouble to bring *many* Crochet Models, The Patterns and the yarn. She sold lots of patterns, a few tools (although most told her they will get those on line since it would be cheaper) and then bought the yarn from the discounters ) that’s right to her face, said they would *not* be supporting her for bringing Crochet items, they would spend the bulk of their money elsewhere.

This Retailer had invested in models, patterns and tools, she is knowledgeable and offered classes in her shop – until now. It is sad for the Crochet community that we are going to lose her as a resource.

If Crochet shoppers at a Crochet Conference don’t support the Retailers, it no longer makes sense to beat our heads against that wall.

If Crocheters continue to demonstrate they are not profitable customer, Retailers will be forced to discontinue offering Crochet related products.

If you cannot afford these products, there is no need to be rude or abrasive about it. Just accept your own reality and buy and use what you can afford.

Just as a designers cannot afford to continue to invest in developing well written patterns, properly sized, tech edited and attractively presented if they are not purchased. But we already had that discussion last week.

If you just want to window shop, please have the courtesy to be polite. Not berate me or others because we have to price our goods to make a living. This is not our hobby it is how we put food on the table.

If you want Crochet products to be at the shows, then you are going to support the people who provide the supplies – if not, then you need to find service elsewhere cause we are going to be looking for an easier way to make a living.

There is a new show on the horizon coming in November to Orlando. We will devote a portion of our booth to Crochet, but there will be quite a wide selection of other “String Stuff” as well. Why? well if you want me or any other retailer to sell it, we have to make a profit.

Looking forward to your Comments and Suggestions on how we can “Make It So”


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Coming Tomorrow:
Part III: I can Knit, But I prefer to Crochet

Is Crochet The New Knitting? – NeedleWork, The LYS & Wal-Mart

July 18th, 2007 at 09:09 am » Comments (2)

This particular rant has been brewing in my head for quite a long time.
For those who keep asking (as if repeating it would make it true) …

No, Crochet Is NOT The New Knitting? –
Part I : NeedleWork, Crochet,
The LYS (Local Yarn Shop) & Wal-Mart

I love Crochet. I have been supporting Crochet in the LYS (Local Yarn Shop) Network for a VERY VERY LONG TIME. As a result, I have taken a LOT of heat in every venue imaginable when the so-called Professionals did a number of stupid things particularly over the last 10-12 years which have and continue to alienate the established LYS network.

Repeating I LOVE Crochet – I wish Every LYS (local Yarn Shop) had more tools – but the nonsense that an LYS does not stock yarns for crochet has to stop. It is just not true especially now with so many knitters excited about Lace – the shops are bulging with fingering, sport and DK’s (all of which have always been there) “Sock” yarns make wonderful and washable crochet garments.

If you want to say you cannot afford the yarns offered in the LYS, that is honest – saying they don’t have yarns suitable for crochet is just an ugly untruth.

I intensely dislike the commentary in various needle arts hobby discussion groups implying the world will end if they can’t buy cheap supplies. Or carrying on about not having access to the internet. There continue to be several excellent “catalog” merchants who sell the lower priced yarns (and quite a few of the mid-range “yarn store yarns” as well)

Just because I cannot afford quivit or a porsche 911 does not make the seller evil. It means I have to decide how to live happily within my means – Which happens to include driving a 20+ year old car so I have the monthly car payment for other purposes – like food, medicine and shelter

Nor will Wal-Mart’s phasing out of needlework mean the end of supply. People stitched *long before* either Wal-Mart or the World Wide Web existed. The catalog and on-line retailers as well as the many independent shops will continue to be there. They don’t require paypal or even a checking account. Cash & Money Orders are acceptable.

Here is a quote from the announcement made to Wal-Mart’s Suppliers and released to the industry press (you can read the newsbrief and one comment at: Creative Leisure News

  • “As just discussed, you are aware that we are downsizing departments with declining categories. We continue to reduce space in these categories to allow for increased space in growth categories. As a result we continue to evaluate and where appropriate make adjustments as needed. As a result in week 34 this year, we will be deleting stitchery from 2642 stores. Our goal is to be out of stitchery 100% by Fall 2008. Please make adjustments in your forecasts and inventory using the spreadsheet attached outlining by item current and new store count for week 34.”

So here is my question for all those who think they are “entitled” to deals at their local yarn shop:

Please tell me how, if Wal-Mart with its HUGE Buying Power used to pressure its suppliers, cannot have a profitable Needlework department… you think an LYS can manage to stay in business with its higher costs if they discount.

Exactly what incentive do they have to stock and sell unprofitable merchandise.

Long as you are thinking, please explain to me why, if, on average, 90% of a shop;s customers already understand the value of the products offerd and are happy with those products, the pricing and are already buying multiple skeins at full price – most of the time, why should these shops abandon common sense and start discounting.

Is Crochet the New Knitting.

No not today and probably not in this decade,

But it could be eventually if we all work together

Looking forward to your Comments and Suggestions on how we can “Make It So”


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Coming Tomorrow:
Part II: Crochet In The Merchant Mall…

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