If YOU opened a new Yarn Shop

Gosh, reading all these suggestions I wish I had one of these in my neighborhood… Kinda like a knitting version of Borders. I love Borders!

My 2 cents: Internet a must. I have a friend that wants to learn to knit w/ her daughter. I did a search for here in Houston and only came up w/ one place, about 45 min. away. No way they can do that. No other yarn shops came up. THEN when I was browsing through the Vogue Knitting site, I saw they were having a trunk show at a new place by River Oaks… they don’t have a web-site (that I have seen), so won’t come up when I Google. – But I doubt I will go to River Oaks to a shop… way to high brow, and I am just regular middle class, and feel intimidated by that part of town.

I agree w/ the suggestion to be sure and include crocheters… when I go to Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby they have MUCH more item selection (I crochet also, and am sure there are many others)… so assume there is a large group buying these products. The goal is to be successful, not exclusive, I believe?

Best of luck to your friend! I will look forward to updates of her progress… could be inspiration to the people that posted the wonderful ideas I have read!

I would have a “guys day” one day a week to encourage the guys to come in. Discounts, guys-only classes, that sort of thing.


I too am from the general area and would be interested in knowing which shop your friend runs. I would also be interested in knowing if she needed any help, I am in the job market…


K, I haven’t read the other posts yet, but here are some of the problems with my LYSes:

No prices on the yarn. Which means I have to go to the counter and ask, which is intimidating. I also feel lame doing it, like I’m not cool because I can’t afford to buy yarn without asking the price.

Poor organization. I can’t ever tell where to find anything. I prefer yarns sorted by fiber content, but brand name is also good. Just something to help people find something.

And…um, be nice. :teehee: One of the stores NEVER greets you when you come in. They just barely glance up from the projects they’re working on at the counter in the middle of the store. Makes me feel like they don’t want me there. The other store is much more friendly, so even though it’s more expensive and less convenient, I prefer it. But I’m sure you already thought of that. :slight_smile:

ETA - I want to come to all of YOUR yarn stores!! I love the idea of 2-for-1 classes, kids’ days (making parents feel like kids are welcome would help) and ALL those big comfy chairs!

Hey, one more thing–one of the LYSes here has a little area with toys for kids. It’s great, because it gets them out of my hair for a few minutes while I think. In the other store, I spend the whole time saying “Stay by me–don’t touch anything!” I’d go without them, but it CLOSES AT SIX. Later hours a couple of nights a week would be great!

K, ramble over. :wink:

I would have all the knitting bags and supplies on the planet.
none of the ones around me do.
and the yarn wouldn’t be marked up to twice what it is online.
maybe 25% up, but not 50%. if that could work.
and I would just have lots of space for meetings, but not classes, unless they were individual or people really wanted group ones, because $10-$60 an hour is ridiculous when there are 10 people competing for 1 person’s attention in that short a time frame.

[color=indigo]What a marvelous group of suggestions. “niffer” seems to have summed it all up particularly nicely.

I would like to underscore the importance of avoiding the creation of a private club-like environment with insiders and outsiders, or even knitting “wizards” and “dummies”. Beginners in any new endeavor like to feel that they are in touch with and part of the “old hands.” A great comparison is the music store, where generally the professionals and even celebrities are somehow encouraged to interact with the rankest of beginners.


Well besides yarn, I’d would promote the sale of all the essentials, bags, winders, needles. the LYS that I have here in my town is only that, a yarn shop, no needles, no classes, and sky high prices, and I thought, what’s the point? Though if I were to start my own, I’d pattern it after my favorite yarn shop, which was down where I used to live, while I was working for Dell computers. it was called Sheep to Shawl. The owner did everything from spinning to weaving, knit and crochet, taught beginners for almost free (the person had to buy the yarn and tools)

The place was warm (both in temperature and tempers) and even though you knew it was a business, the owner treated everybody like they were her best of friends, and would trade fairly.

If YOU opened a new Yarn Shop, what would your goals be…besides selling yarn? [color=blue]To instill the love of crafting with yarn fibers-be it knitting, crocheting, weaving, or spinning. [/color]

Would you offer any free services or classes to your customers? [color=blue]Why or why not? Of course, once a week for 3 hours I’d offer ‘open knit’ sessions where knitters of all levels may come in & get assistance. I think free children & teen classes twice a month also is a good idea along with a brand new knitter class that would cover the bare basics of casting on, knit stitch, purl stitch, and binding off. Other free services would be yarn searches, ball winders & swift usage. I think a free feature pattern per month also would be great & KALs with free participation.[/color]

What would you do to make your shop feel friendly? [color=blue] I think I would use as much of the perimeter for displaying yarn so that I may have at least 4 over stuffed chairs & ottoman sets, bookshelves full of used and new knitting books, coat racks for hanging up one’s coat, library tables to sit at, and offer coffee, espresso, tea, Italian sodas, and spring water. I’d also allow designers display their creations, and offer longtime customers the ability to knit display pieces for no upfront cost, and after the current season ends, if they want the article, pay 1/2 price of the yarn cost. I’d also offer a good selection of lower cost yarns for those on a tight budget. I want everyone, no matter how much they can spend, to feel right at home. I’d also offer classes that most would consider affordable. And anyone taking a paid class can bring supplies not purchased from me. [/color]

What do you think makes a Yarn Shop feel intimidating, snobbish, or cold? [color=blue]Not enough light, selling only high cost yarns, being ignored, being treated like you don’t know anything, being offered projects beneath one’s knitting skills, stores with cliques in place, snotty attitudes from sales staff.[/color]

How far would you stretch to promote the art of knitting? [color=blue]I’d devote time, and help along with in-school & nursing home demonstrations when possible.[/color]

Would you need to be monetarily compensated for everything you do for your customers? [color=blue]NOPE! [/color]

[color=blue]I’d also offer frequent buyer programs. After 10 $50 purchases, you get 25% off one purchase totaling $150 or more --discount not to exceed $50.00. Also, anyone who spends $100.00 pre-tax would receive 10% off purchase. I’d also offer bi-annual sales where everything in the store was 10-20% off. [/color]

[color=indigo]I have sent a link to this thread to the owner of my LYS, already a very friendly and well thought-out store. I expect that she will be quite interested.

BTW, as this thread continues, the comments just get better and better. Let’s keep going! :cheering:


Landolphe (a new but appreciative customer of Elegant Stitches LYS)[/color]

Man…this makes me want to visit my LYS…and I’m trying so hard to knit my project list down…

If I was opening a yarn store, I would talk to tons of other LYS owners who have been down the road before and could offer advice.

It’s all nice and good to posit what we would offer, but speaking to those with extensive experience could yield a gold mine of practical information. I can tell you that many people take advantage of LYS owners for free information about knitting, when really they should either pay for a class or private lesson. Knitting expertise is worth something! It’s not just about offering classes and great supplies. Owners have to worry about inventory control, advertising, business relationships with suppliers, payroll, dips in the economy, etc. Those things take a ton of time away from the yarn and classes, and that has to be accounted for.

Just my $0.02. :slight_smile:

Happy, satisfied, loyal customers…are a business’s most valuable asset.

Whatever it takes…

I noticed that all of my LYSs only offer “open knitting” groups once a month, sometimes even less frequently. If I owned a yarn shop, if the doors were open, people would be welcome to come in and knit at their leisure. Maybe put out some comfy chairs or sofas and keep coffee and tea brewing for patrons. I would offer both knitting and crochet classes. I find that sadly a lot of yarn shop owners and staff tend to be very stuck up toward those who crochet instead of knit. I would encourage local spinsters to sell their handspun yarns in my shop.

One thing my favorite LYS does that seems so trivial yet is a tremendous service is they wind all hanks into a ball for you before you leave the store. When I first went to my LYS, I was holding a glorious hank of Rio de la Plata with this sad and confused look on my face. Not having a yarn swift and based upon horrific past experiences trying to untangle hanks of expensive yarn, I was about to put the yarn back on the rack. But then the shop owner came over to me and kindly asked, “would you like for me to ball that up for you?” I was amazed. Something so simple was a win-win situation. I got a beautiful yarn and the shop owner made a profit off of a hank of yarn I otherwise wouldn’t have purchased out of fear of fudging it up during the unwinding process.

If a patron came in confounded by a particular stitch or was having problems with a certain part of a pattern, I wouldn’t withhold my knowledge simply to try and sell a $200 class that they may not need. While I realize it isn’t prudent for a yarn shop owner to take time from other patrons to go through their entire wealth of information with someone, I don’t think it’s fair that many yarn shop owners deliberately evade their patrons’ questions simply to sell a class.

I would hope to offer all types of yarn from affordable to luxurious so that no one would have to feel they weren’t welcome in my shop. I would also encourage knitters of all ages, races and genders to take up a yarn craft. I think oftentimes people assume that all elderly know how to knit already and that children are too young to learn.

That’s all I can think of for now.

This is a subject very nera nad dear to my heart! I would love to open a yarn shop someday. It on my list of things to do when I win the lottery :teehee:

I drive 30 min to get to a yarn shop when there is one less than 10 minutes away from my house. The one close to my house is run by a bossy crazy lady. It is crowded. I feel like the yarn is goign to topple down over me. You have to be very careful rounding corners and there isn’t enough room for two people to stand and look at the same yarn. She always has her kids there which would be fine but she is always screaming at them for running around the store etc. I have gone twice. THat was more thatn enough fo rm e. It is unfortunate since she does have a great selection and competive prices.
The store 30 min away is great. They are more expensive but I really don’t mind paying more since everytime I have walked in I have been treated like an old friend. The staff is extremely knowldegeable but also willing to listen and learn. The store is not that large but is open and comfy. The have tables and big comfy chairs.

I think both of you made good points when you said you would offer yarn in all price rangs. I have spoken on the phone with my LYS but I have never went because of their prices. I am going to go one day but I do also feel that sometimes those who don’t have as much $$ to spend kind of feel out of place or embarassed. :pout:

I agree with you about having CHOICES in yarn qualitys and prices.

A yarn shop that I frequented in the past (now out of business)…carried more affordable quality yarns when they first opened. These affordable yarns were in addition to the delicious, gorgeous, spendier yarns. (fyi: I am very grateful that they invested in those more expensive yarns…thereby exposing me to the better yarns…and giving me the ability to use these better yarns for certain projects!) The ‘more affordable yarns’ were Encore, Soft-As-Silk, and such…yarns that I would buy to make a garment for a grandchild. Then, all of a sudden…they quit carrying those yarns! I never did know why. Maybe they didn’t sell well? I dunno.

I don’t want to spend $80-$120 for a toddler’s or baby’s sweater! If it were MY OWN baby or child maybe…but…when my own 5 kids were babies…I didn’t have that kind of money anyways!

Well, that is my 2 cents. I don’t expect my local quality yarn shop to carry Red Heart or Lion Brand…Wally World has that covered but good…but, there are other quality, affordable yarns out there besides the yarns that are minimally $8-$11 per 92 yd skein! (Some say whereas Red Heart is undeniably affordableit is not quality…but let’s face it…people still use it and love it). I personally hate to knit with Red Heart…but have used it to make a child’s colorful afghan! My daughter washes the tar out of it…and it keeps on ticking! She puts extra fabric softener in the final rinse…and voila! it is good to go!

Well, now that’s my 4 cents. I will sign off… before I get up to a dime’s worth!!

I doubt my opinion is worth 4 cents, but here it is anyway. I think that the yarn should be of the best quality possible but I agree that it is important to stock the more affordable yet high quality yarns like Encore and Casscade220. I’ve never seen Soft-As-Silk. Even Malabrigo is a good buy for what you’re getting. The most important thing with any business is not just having affordable products, you have to truly care about your customers and their needs. I mean Walmart has cheap yarns but do you want to hangout there? Do you feel like they care about you? Quality customer service is as important as quality of product and cost. That’s why I :heart: :heart: KP. I know that if I have a problem it’ll be taken care of promptly and politely. I’ve never been in a Walmart (being a labor organizer) but from what I’ve heard it’s not the best when it comes to customer service. So you may rest assured my yarn shop (when I open it) will concentrate on quality and cost of product and quality of service equally.

:muah: :hug:

Nadja xxx

If I could open a yarn store, I would deffinitly carry both the ‘high’ class yarn and ‘low’ class yarn. That’s the major reason I don’t visit my local yarn store: they only carry the expensive yarns. No cheap yarn, or synthetic. And, to be honest, as a college student, I live on a very low budget. I’m not going to spend $12+ on a single skein of yarn. Especially not when the exact same yarn is cheaper on amazon.com.

Nice comfy chairs, and a WARM store. I HATE walking into a cold store. It always annoys me. Tea and coffee, and fruit would be available. Bread and cookies always get crumbs everywhere, and are very annoying. Blech, I still have nightmares about a crouton mix that attacked a scarf I was knitting! :pout:

I would DEFFINITLY have free classes for beginners all times of the year. Beginners already hve it hard enough needing to buy the supplies, they don’t need class costs too. Intemediate classes would be cheap, $5 a head or so, everyone under 12 would be free, and $10 for the Expert and Advanced classes.

And every kind of size and style of knitting needle available. My local yarn shop only has a half dozen wood needles, all very expensive. And, to be honest, I’m lways afraid of wood needles getting sat on and breaking. My metal needles get sat on a ton, but I just need to straighten them out, and they’re fine.

Mmmm. Patterns. A TON of cheap patterns. Penny patterns. They’re just the cost of the ink and paper, basically. I hate having to write own patterns, especially long complicated ones. Penny Patterns would be AWESOME!

I would also like natural dyes classes.

One problem that I have with the stores in my area is that it’s impossible to tell who works there and who is visiting/shopping. Yarn stores are the kind of place where the lady that works there is wandering around the store too so I just wish I could identify who to talk to in order to ask questions.