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 Stocking a new yarn shop: foo-foo or basics?
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Seriously Hooked

719 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  10:03:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit platys's Homepage Send platys a Private Message
There is one local yarn shop that I don't even go to because they display by color. It's amazingly frustrating to find anything. Well, it doesn't help that they mainly stock glitzy, high priced stuff. But the combination is instant death for me.

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Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  10:52:09 AM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message
As to merchandising by color, I'm so glad to hear from patrons who Hate it. In some of our yarns we carry every color available. What if you love the yarn, but,want to see all the colors it comes in? I have had personal experience in shopping at other stores and asking to see all the colors a particular sock yarn comes in; being walked around the store with sales person muttering "I know we have more somewhere".
Yes, color is impactive and elicits a lot of oohs and ahhs, but leaves shopping a bit to be desired. If people come in thinking"I want to make a red sweater", they are pretty sure of the fiber first.
Our yarns are segmented by 100% wools[for felters], mohairs, cotton and cotton,blends,acrylics and machine washables, baby, and novelties. Highlighted yarns will alternate sometimes by vendor like Annie Blatt as all yarns are color coordinated, so we show the assortment,or very distinctive yarns like Prism, Fiesta or Alchemy.
Our store may not look as impactive, but our regular patrons know just where to go in their particular search for what they are looking for. If they can't find it themselves, at least we are able to show them the complete range of color that a particular fiber comes in. It just makes good merchandising sense to stock by classification first and then color especially when you have a large inventory. We never stock by vendor, which I'm sure the companies would like better. KL
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Permanent Resident

1127 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2005 :  07:47:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit fillyjonk's Homepage Send fillyjonk a Private Message
IMHO, the best way to display is by weight. Many people shop for yarn for a particular pattern, design, or idea, and one of the first considerations is the yarn weight. And if you're wanting to substitute for a given pattern, it makes comparison easier.

I'd find it very confusing to shop by color. (and it would be frustrating to see a color you LOVED and realize that it was only available in baby weight or superbulky when what you really wanted was a good worsted weight).

If I were planning out a (large) yarn store? How I'd do it:

sections for
sock yarn
baby yarn
dk to light worsted
bulky yarns
separate section for the novelty yarns
separate section for the kits
patterns displayed by type of item they made, and within that display, separated by yarn weight required.
Needles and hooks all together in a single section, along with the other "tools" like stitch counters and stitch markers.
Books on shelves by a library table ("shop copies" of each book, if I could afford it, and then have the for-sale copies in the back so they don't get beat up by people thumbing through them. [if possible, I'd also have a list posted of what was out-of-stock or on-order so people wouldn't be too disappointed]).

Within the yarn sections, I'd probably group all yarns of a particular line (e.g., all the Brown Sheep Naturespun) together, or all yarns by a single manufacturer together.

That's just how I think. I've seen pictures of the stocked-by-color yarn shops and they look beautiful but I fear they're not practical for the person coming in looking for a particular thing.
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Chatty Knitter

214 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2005 :  06:09:58 AM  Show Profile Send nwilson02 a Private Message
I'm not a shop owner but I travel extensively (we live in our RV full-time) and have hit A LOT of yarn shops nationally and would like to add my 2 cents if it's OK.

First, keep a variety of yarns in stock. I can't tell you how many times I've gone into a yarn shop looking for lace weight or fingering weight and there has been none. It always seems to be bulky weight, sock yarn or novelty yarns that the shops carry. I did a lot of felting this summer getting ready for Christmas and I couldn't believe how hard it was to find 100% wool yarn suitable for felting, just the good basic kind. I like the koigu type of yarn but it gets expensive and I like to use it for accents.

Second, keep a good selection of knitting tools on hand. There's nothing more frustrating than wanting to start a project, finding the perfect yarn and then not have the tools available to make the project. So many yarn shops focus so much on the yarn that I've walked out when all I needed was a certain needle or accessory. Of course, my perspective may be different since I do live in an RV full-time and my space is limited so my yarn stash has to stay on the small size so my yarn purchases are usually done for a specific project.

Third, and most important in my eyes, make everyone feel welcome. I've walked in yarn shops where they treat me like long lost family before I'm halfway through the store. I've also walked into stores where I'm barely greeted, much less made to feel welcome because I'm not a local regular. Guess which store gets my business? I realize that the third item is a little off topic but as a person who has visited many yarn shops nationally it was a point I thought would be important.

Thanks for letting me express my opinions.

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New Pal

49 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2005 :  4:52:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit sheepish's Homepage Send sheepish a Private Message
Nancy, I think your point #3 is the best one posted! While I'm just getting going with the knitting, I've wandered through a local yarn shop a couple of times and been given the cold shoulder treatment each time, not just by the owner, but by her employees. She's got quite the selection, but I just can't bring myself to give her any money with the poor attitude she's shown. Customer service outweights selection in my book any day!

I milk sheep, do ewe?
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