What's new in various product categories; monthly
The State of Needlework, 2009
Excerpts from a Yarn Market News survey.
Staff Report (August 17, 2009)
(Note: Yarn Market News asked its needlework retailers
about the state of their business. The complete answers are in the
August issue, available at www.yarnmarketnews.com.
Here are some excerpts.)
1. "Sales are usually helped by attendance at several
large events in the area in April and May. Poor attendance at those
events has a ripple effect."
2. "Classes have kept me going. We teach a different
class four days a week and rotate each week, offering twelve
different classes a quarter. It's a lot of work, but it's where the
money is made. We offer lots of small projects so the prices aren't
so high that the average knitter/crocheter can't afford them."
3. "I find myself being more creative at this time.... I
feel challenged by our economy, turning it into a positive
4. "While we've noticed an increase in the number of
customers who shop at our store, the average amount per purchase has
declined by a few dollars in recent months. Thus, our sales are up
overall but the manpower required to meet the increased demand is
not offset by increased revenues."
5. "I truly think people are knitting as much as ever,
but buying the discount yarns and digging into their stash. One of
the reasons I believe this is because we are selling a lot of
needles and accessories that customers tell me they cannot find at
the discount stores."
6. "I'm considering more 'free' events to get people
into the shop. Some people feel bad coming in and not buying, so I
need to present this in a welcoming way without expectations (and
hope they swing to the other side while they are among all the
beautiful yarn). That said, this is a wonderful opportunity to get
the creative juices going and to figure out ways to get customers to
come in and spend money, even if it's just a bit."
7. "I'm moving yarn around in the shop weekly, not
monthly, to give the appearance of 'new.' I'm sending out more
e-mails, Tweeting, getting to Ravelry group, and writing blog posts
more often. I'm giving fabulous customer service (as I always have,
but perhaps less grudgingly) .... My feeling is that I have to make
this work. I'm single (no other income) and it's not likely I could
go out and get a job right now."
8. "Our business has indeed been better since the
recession started a year ago, just as the reports say. We are quite
a bit up from past years. In fact, our business started increasing
when the recession started in the spring a year ago. Being in a
college town does help keep us stable. That said, I'm nervous."
9. "Though it is summer, the hard-core knitters are
using basic yarn (more chunky than in years past) to create winter
items like hats and sweaters, commenting on their need to keep
warmer – are they figuring on heating problems this winter? Some
retired customers complain that yarn or thread is an item they can
no longer afford to purchase. It is a sad day in the fiber world
when an elderly person cannot afford a $3 ball of thread or
10. "Our philosophy is to continue to push forward the
projects that will grow our business and cement our market share.
These times separate the wheat from the chaff, and we are determined
to be the wheat."