Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Ideal Local Yarn Shop

Opening a Local Yarn Shop(LYS) of my own has been on my mind and in my heart. I've dreamt about it for quite some time. Lately, I feel the dream tugging, tugging. tugging... OPEN OPEN OPEN. When something pulls that hard, I think it should be paid some attention. Several signs have been put in my path telling me this is something I should seriously look into and soon!
I've made steps towards making this dream a reality. I attended a great conference through the Crochet Guild of America. I've sold several pat
tern designs to two different nation wide yarn companies. I finally signed up to sell my own hand made items at a craft fair. I've made wonderful con
nections with professionals through blogs and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. And, I have visited about 20 different yarn shops around the US and Canada and even Spain.

Perhaps the most helpful tool I have used to find information has simply been speaking to yarn shop owners and friends who knit and crochet. When ever I meet someone who has the slightest idea of how to own, shop in, or appreciate a yarn shop, I tell them I'm looking to open one of my own. I ask millions of questions, and have gotten some great advice. The advice that
seems most prevalent is "IT'S VERY DIFFICULT!"

So, I figure, GREAT! I'm am never afraid of a challenge! Nothing about pursuing a career in musical theatre is easy. However, with the help of some very supportive people, I have had a career in musical theatre. After getting my Equity card, I worked as a singing waiter for a little over a year, and then I started booking work... consistently. I have worked successfully as an actor for four years now. I am very proud of this accomplishment and I've loved (almost) every second of the journey. But, I can't help but notice my passions are pulling me in a different direction. I know I will never want to stop performing completely, I just might want to change my focus. I find when I'm on the road, nothing makes me happier or helps me to feel more at home than when I step into a Local Yarn Shop.

Now, what am I accomplishing with this post?

I've been to LYSs of over the country and I've started to get a feel for what I want in a shop of my own. As of now, it's all a bunch of mumbo jumbo floating around in my head and heart. Today I'm going to begin a list of everything I hope my shop will embody. I'd LOVE feed back and comments on what type of a shop you most enjoy. What turns you on about your favorite LYS? What turns you off? You've never been in a yarn shop?? Tell me what makes you happiest about your favorite independently owned clothing shop, paint store, shoe store, coffee shop. Anything that makes you happy (or unhappy) about a small retail shop will help.

Here's my list and I'll continue updating as I discover or rediscover ideas that will help describe my ideal LYS.


Clean organized shelves
Organize yarn by weight and then color then fiber

Enough, but not too much yarn - lots to choose from but not so
much that it is overwhelming

Clearly labeled prices (this is a big one for me)

Encourage cross crafting (knitting, crocheting, felting, using yarn with glue or playdough if it works)

Greet each customer as they come in the door in a jovial relaxed encouraging manner

Offer project and technique classes

Offer one on one and group classes

Offer some classes that span over a few weeks and some that are completed in just one day so that people who travel for work still have an opportunity to take class

Craft and coffee nights

Afternoon crafting tea

Men's night

Family crafting groups

Handmade items for sale

Cute Reusable Bags (this is from Persones Llanes in Barcelona, Spain)

Projects (or knit AND crocheted swatches) made out of most types of yarn

Happy felted items around shop, but not too many so that it's cluttered

Coffee and snacks

Kids play area

Comfy Chairs and tables for hanging in the shop

Easily accessible swift and winder

Offer to wind more than one type of yarn together for multi yarn projects like at this shop

Interesting notions, buttons, and beads

Skacel and Lantern Moon needles/hooks

Tunisian hooks maybe by ChaioGoo

Machines for felting (this might not happen right away)

Some sort of mascot that greets shoppers at the door (this guy is at Knitch in Atlanta)

What are your thoughts?