Friday, August 24, 2007

Whew! We made it!

After an adventuresome drive home (after we survived the tempest that was Rapid City, we ran into flood, fire, lightning, more hail, falling trees, mudslides, kamikaze children who run off the edge into the deep end of pools and then sink like stones, and one flat tire), we arrived in Portland on Tuesday evening, tired and happy to be out of the car. The kids did amazingly well, and I tend to have a very short memory for discomfort and am already planning next summer's road trip in my head.

I can't locate the camera, so you'll have to wait until next time to see our plethora of bison pictures from Yellowstone (that place is filthy with 'em!). In the meantime, let's talk knitting.

As you may already know, I'm waffling about closing up my retail shop and going wholesale-only to yarn stores. At least, it seems like I've been waffling. However, after picking up a couple new accounts on the trip to Minnesota, I've decided that pursuing wholesale sales is the best way to get my patterns into the hands of lots of knitters. I've also become more and more convinced that I want to be sure to support the shops as much as possible. We just had another Portland shop close its doors while I was on vacation, which solidified my decision.

I know there are complex forces at work, and that nothing is going to keep an unsustainable number of shops open, but I still don't want to dilute the customer base any more than it already is. I could make more money per pattern selling them myself on-line, but ultimately I think I'll reach many more customers selling them via shops. There's also a lot less competition. The competition is still fierce, but it's different than on the internet. There are so many bloggers putting up patterns (both for free and for sale) that it's hard to stand out from the crowd and the sales are very inconsistent from month to month. When you start to wholesale, there's an entirely different level of commitment involved. You need to have the stomach to pony up money for advertising, joining TNNA as a wholesale member, and attending the shows. You need to have a very good-quality product, since shops remember who has patterns with lots of errors in them. You need to figure out how to pay for printing and graphic design and layout software. I'm realizing it's a whole different ballgame, but I'm loving it!

I will be adding four new shops to my website very soon (hopefully this afternoon, if I can get through grading the pattern-from-he** for Interweave) - two in Oregon and two in Minnesota. Boersma's down in McMinnville ordered some sock patterns and All About Yarn in Tigard just ordered the entire line. Playing with Yarn in Knife River, MN ordered the whole line, and Needlework Unlimited in Minneapolis ordered a bunch as well. I don't think I ever talked about my visit to Needlework Unlimited - it was a really great stop. The shop includes both knitting and other needlework (like needlepoint canvases and thread) and is packed full of great stuff. The owner sat down and talked to me for quite awhile and gave me great advice on how to move forward with my line. After we were done, I snooped around for a little while and picked up Cat Bordhi's new sock book for myself and some pink ribbon yarn, needles and Knitgrrl 2 for my cousin who just turned eight. I didn't get a chance to actually teach her how to knit, but I gave my aunt a refresher course so they can work on it together. Gotta get 'em hooked young!

And now, back to work on the PFH (aka pattern-from-he**). It's really going to be lovely, but I'm working on the sleeve caps right now and I DO NOT LIKE GRADING SLEEVE CAPS! I need to design more drop-shoulder sweaters. Too bad those sleeve caps look so darn good...


Blogger msubulldog said...

Yay! I'm glad you're back! We missed you at Cat's book signing--glad to hear you grabbed a copy! :)

1:00 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

You go girl and do what you need to will be great at it..

6:34 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Go for what feel sright for you. Selling wholesale is a whole different ball of wax, as you've mentioned. However, if it is what you want, then go for it!

12:18 PM  

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