Sunday, January 12, 2020

Raise Your Hand for Your LYS!


Raise your hand if you love crocheting, knitting, yarn or all of the above.  Keep your hand up if you have a local yarn shop where you can meet friends, attend events, take classes, obtain advice from experts and find inspiration.  Your hand is still up?  Great!  Now, hands up if you make the majority of your purchases at that shop.  My guess is that a great number of hands just went down.

As much as you love going to your shop to socialize with fellow makers, please don't lose sight of the fact that, although they love being able to provide that space for gathering, they are first and foremost a retail establishment.  If you are not making your purchases there then they can't pay the rent or replenish inventory.

Also, if you are knitting or crocheting in that shop, please think twice before using yarn purchased elsewhere.  After all, would you purchase coffee at McDonald's and then go to Starbucks to drink it?  I've always said that I never want to play yarn police, but that doesn't mean that it isn't bothersome when folks are using our shop space to work on projects with yarn they purchased elsewhere.

Big box stores are attempting to take over the way we shop and our industry is no exception.  Each year the number of yarn shops in the US diminishes.  In 2007 there were over 1400 and we are currently just over 900.  So if you value your ability to shop at a local store please be sure to go there for most if not all of your purchases.  This goes for any small locally owned business!  I wrote a 
blog post 2 years ago on this very subject and every single word is still applicable today.  And if you don't have a local yarn shop, you can support one in another town by shopping online with them!

Yarn shop ownership is one of the hardest yet most rewarding occupations.  Where else can you go to work surrounded by magnificent colors, meet incredibly talented people and make life-long friendships?  I for one intend to be around for a very long time!

8 comments:

  1. So True!
    I'm a LYS former owner, sole proprietor. We closed our doors Dec 31, 2019.
    Unfortunately the current online purchasing trend will continue and more shops will close. For those of us who value the experience of walking into a brick & mortar Yarn Shop... we Must keep them in business.
    Purchase online but through those shops we've walked into, experienced. If they don't have online sales available call them, order and pay what shipping is worth. We must decide what's most important at the base level of who we are, saving money or saving choice!
    Thanks for allowing my humble comments. Best of luck to all my fellow LYSO's. Keep an eye out, I'll be visiting your yarn shop soon! Oh and I always spend more than I should...See you soon.

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    1. So sorry to hear about your closing, we've had 2 in our area close last year as well. I'm doing my best to help people understand the value of shopping locally but sometimes I feel like it's a loosing battle. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

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  2. My nearest LYS is 2.5 hours away but I do my darndest to drive there every chance I get. I hit every LYS I can in my travels since it's important to me. I wish more people did the same.

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  3. Sadly, if I only shopped at a local yarn store for all of my purchases, I wouldn't be able to knit or crochet very much. I have to mix yarn that I get at estate sales, thrift stores, garage sales, rummage sales, online auctions etc with the more expensive local yarn shop purchases if I am going to knit or crochet more than one or two skeins per month.

    Don't forget that people come to the shop for their needles and notions and patterns, too. A person might stop in to knit with the needles they bought from you, even if they got their yarn online or from a big box store. A lot of people wish they could afford to buy lots and lots of yarn from a small business. Lots and lots of people wish they could always get pretty indie dyed yarn or fancy needles, too.

    I think it's important to recognize all customers and thank them. By being gracious today when someone spends his or her $10 extra of money on some needles or hooks, you're more likely to get their business when they get that windfall of money in two years. But looking down on someone just because they can't always purchase everything from you could be doing yourself a disservice down the road.

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    1. First let me address the "looking down on someone because they can't always purchase everything from you." I treat every single person with respect whether they are working with yarn from my shop or not. I value each and every person who walks through my door whether they are a regular or someone who just stops in occasionally, and regardless of the size of their purchase.

      But you do make some very valid points and I completely understand that not everyone has the same yarn budget. But you are likely to find that most shops carry yarn that's affordable to just about anyone. My point is that if you are coming to a shop to work on a project, then it's just more considerate if you are using yarn you purchased there. If you can't afford to make most of your purchases there, then just make one purchase and set that project aside for only working on at the shop.

      Please understand that I'm not trying to call anyone out, I'm merely trying to help people to understand the frustrations we face when we have folks who appreciate being to attend our handcrafting times but make their purchase elsewhere.

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  4. I also buy from LYS that I visit when I'm traveling as well as yarn that I get directly from small-batch indie dyers who can't produce enough to sell through shops. Then again, I'm not a social person and usually don't knit/crochet in the presence of non-family.

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