The Yarn Gourmet Important Information

Location: 2915 Mishawaka Ave, South Bend IN 46615 (across from River Park Furniture)
Phone: 574-232-9276

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10 - 5
Friday: 10 - 8
Saturday: 9 - 3
Closed Sunday & Monday

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And the beat goes on....

Today has been a very productive day. We are having brakes put in my husband's van, as he has been driving with only the emergency brake for a month now (he didn't want to spend the money), we got high definition on our cable account, and I made contact with Mary Umstead of Notions Marketing. She is a doll - very helpful, making it very easy for me as a new retailer. In this age of poor service being the norm, Mary is very refreshing.

I am getting closer to having a physical address. Right now it is a matter of negotiation. I found the store I want, and I am absolutely champing at the bit to get in there and start painting and organizing. Mind you, I do not enjoy painting. I used to, before I was a landlord and had to paint every apartment between every tenant. And then there was the day a half gallon of white latex paint and I fell off a ladder onto a hardwood floor. That was a good time, let me tell you. I had absolutely nothing with me to clean up all that paint, and I watched as a good part of it ran down the heat register in the floor. Doesn't everyone have white painted heat ducts? It does add a touch of class to an apartment....and to the landlord (me) who was covered in white paint from the butt down. I actually took my jeans off, walked outside and drove home in my unmentionables. Making sure to do the speed limit and come to a full stop as required, of course.

Anyhow, I am getting closer to knowing what I am going to order and where. Stay tune, and please knit responsibly.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ah, Monday....

Today's mission was to research knitting classes other retail shops are teaching. I have a lot of ideas of my own, but why reinvent the swift? So I sat down at this lovely computer and began. Sort of. The @$#^$#);$ thing was moving at 386 speed, and then froze like a polar bear's tush entirely.; So I turned it off, defragged it, cleaned up the drive, re-booted it, and STILL it moved like me the morning after the first full day of yardwork in the spring. Then I find out I have 98 tabs open in Firefox (mostly about knitting), and that MIGHT just be the cause of the problem. OK - so I'm not a techie.

But the classes I propose to offer include (but are not limited to):
two-handed color knitting, intarsia, magic loop method, shadow knitting, Entrelac, socks, short rows, mitres and other modules, various ways to cast on and cast off, basic socks, Aran knitting, lace), an “oops, now what do I do?” class, making your first sweater, steeks without sedatives, using the stash, substituting yarns, mittens, gloves, cuff-to-cuff sweaters, top-down sweaters, Kitchner stitch. If anyone has any suggestions, or would like to teach a class (I know - you kind of need to know where the shop will be, don'cha? Soon, soon....) I'm wide open.

If I didn't mention it before, I will be offering luxury and basic yarns that are otherwise not available locally. The internet is great if you already know the yarn you want. I know I am very reluctant to buy a $30 skein I have not touched and fondled. In fact, virtually every time I have purchased unfamiliar yarn on-line I have been disappointed, either with the weight not quite being as advertised, or the color not quite being what I expected, or the hand being not what I wanted. And isn't touching and petting the yarn part of the whole knitting experience?

Also - please tell me what colors you like; I tend to favor bright jewel tones, turquoises, purples, lime greens, fuschia (sic?)....but the shop is intended to suit my customers' tastes, so speak to me! What gadgets do you like? I firmly believe in the right tool for the job, even if I have been known to use twist ties for markers.

Is there anyone out there who has done this and can give me some words to the (not always so) wise?

Well, I'm off to the business plan wars. Pray for me.....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In the beginning.....

...I wanted to open a luxury yarn shop when I retired from my consulting career.  Then the economy crashed and I found myself in a "forced retirement" - read: no work, no income.  Crap.  Then I came into some money when my father died (thank you, Daddy) and decided that since I had not worked in a year, it was time to do something different.  So with my husband's blessings (he is a saint) I decided to proceed with the yarn shop.

First, I started researching wholesalers of the lines I thought I want to include.  There were some surprises - some of the minimum orders are - shall we say? - unrealistic.  Some were very reasonable.  Some, like Skacel, have fabulous "set ups" of their needles for first time yarn shops.  Sweet.

And then I found Joanne Cole, the local rep for Brown Sheep.  This woman is a wealth of good advice and common sense.  She recommended I contact TNNA and purchase the booklet Starting Out Right.  This is quite possibly the best $25 I have spent so far.  And also quite possibly the scariest $25 I have spent so far.  The book provides a mountain of information that I might otherwise have spent many days or even weeks trying to find.  It covers topics I expected it to cover, and there were a few surprises.  It covers topics I did not expect, and mama llama!!! there were some surprises there!  The bottom line is that if anyone out there is considering opening any kind of needlework shop BUY THIS BOOK!  Thank you, Joanne.  There are cookies in your future.

So this morning, I started out at 5:30 AM by going to resource links found in Appendix A of the book, until I found comprehensible advice on writing both a business plan and a marketing plan.  Then I started writing these plans.  And that I will discuss further later....