Thursday, January 03, 2008

Talk around town

The talk in my local knitting community is about the unexpected announcement of the LYS (local yarn store) being put up for sale. If you listened carefully you could hear the roar of hallelujahs and applause. We are all anxiously waiting to see who will be the lucky buyer and if it will be someone that we want to spend hard-earned money with.

So I thought, HEY! I don't have anything else better to do than post my thoughts about it. Please understand these are my thoughts and they aren't entirely nice or polite but they are truthful. So if you are seriously considering purchasing this store listen up because I have some tips for you. It won't be hard for you to get knitters to come back to shop there unless you are just like the previous owner or you are the previous owner.

1. Have her clear out the inventory of all the old crap prior to buying. More is only more it's not necessarily good or better. Buy a variety of colors of beautiful yarns and not only colors or brands you consider good.

2. Please no animals in the store. The first time I visited there it stank and I attribute that stink to the dog that was running around. I understand that there is a lot of animal based material but please we don't need a petting zoo associated with the materials. I love my dog but she stays at home.

3. Please no rules posted prior to entering the store unless the only rule is to smile. If you are afraid of people stealing yarn or other materials from you, invest in a security camera system or a security guard. Most knitters do not like to be hassled while they are trying to shop and spend money in YOUR store. And no they don't want to hear about the latest tricks your animals do or the names of your new rabbits.

4. Offer classes people want to take. I'm sure her classes were great and all BUT the baby surprise sweater has been around for awhile. She told me about it like WOW have you seen this? Uh, yeah duh! How about finding a new pattern designer or other knitting teacher to come and talk about a book and teach a class? You can actually make some money doing that. NOT a ton but you'll probably have repeat business if you follow all the suggestions given here.

5. I know it's number 5 but it's really important. BE NICE and have great customer service. Don't bad talk other customers in front of customers in your store or on the phone. Don't belittle your employees. Empower your employees to give your customers great service and help them at any opportunity.

6. Get rid of all the skanky furniture that came from a garage sale including the sad looking sectional and the old worn out "toy" section. If you want to have a child friendly area, invest in a great area for kids to sit and spend their time. Also not placing the child section at the front of the store near the door would be great too. Parents tend to like to make sure their children are safe. Keep the toys clean and safe.

7. Invest in some great shelving. I know someone got a kick ass awesome deal at the dollar store on those stacking bins. If your plans include charging full price for skeins of yarn, don't throw them in a bargain bin. It was sad to see beautiful beautiful cashmere skeins tossed in a sad circus colored bin with a full price to go along with them.

8. Look into moving to a better location. I love going to Tuesday Morning as much as the next person. I have gone to that shopping center for MANY MANY years but that doesn't mean that it's convenient or a nice shopping strip. Make it a little more upscale and move to a better area. Customize the area to fit your needs as a new Yarn Store owner with style. (this doesn't necessarily need to be done right away but it does need to be done!)

9. Did I mention be nice? I can't believe how many knitters I've spoken to with just as bad experiences as me in the LYS. Bad word of mouth = bad business.

10. Have fun and be happy because life is way too short not to. That's why hardly anyone shops at the lys because it sucks the life out of you when you walk through the door. Knitting is supposed to be fun and enjoyable.

I think that's all for now. :)


bookgrump said...

The first (and last) time that I took a class there, I sat in this one chair. I sat there for about five minutes and then heard a "creeeeaaaak!". Then the chair collapsed underneath me.

Now, I know that I'm no model, but c'mon... It was quite embarrassing.

Not quite as embarrassing as the poor woman who sat there while the owner frogged her project and then told her, "Sorry. I don't have time to help you."

Needless to say, I agree with all of your items. The only thing that I'd add is, "Please don't assume that your customers are stupid." She tried to sell me SWTC Karaoke while insisting that it was EXACTLY the same thing as Noro Kureyon. (The former is 50% silk. The latter is 100% wool.) *insert eyeroll here*

aisling said...

Great ideas, I agree!!

Jeri said...

I agree...
Way back when, I went to some knit nights there. I was just getting back in to knitting and wanted to take a sweater class. I said so. She said sweater classes were just on Saturday's and my Saturday's are committed to my other job (selling trees with the maple man) so I said I wouldn't be able to participate. Then I thought, well, maybe in the summer we'll be slower and I'll be able to have some Saturday's off and she said "we don't teach sweaters in the summer". Well, dang, I thought. But now I know, it was for the best. And all's well that end's well. And I didn't need her sweater class.

Angeluna said...

AMEN sister!

robowerks said...

Wow, I need to take lessons from you on some of my reviews. I could be a little more edgy perhaps. Fact is I believe what you wrote!