Tag Archives: business

Pattern Preview and Weekend Update

Thank you to everyone who participated in our online auction a couple weeks ago, it was a big success and raised $920 for our trip to Ohio for the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair!

Don’t forget, we’re closed tomorrow, Saturday, May 30, in order to travel to Columbus, Ohio for the TNNA summer show. Networking, visiting friends, looking at yarn to stock in the shop and potential new yarn bases for dyeing in the future. Please wish me safe travels!

That means no Stitch and Bitch tonight, but we’ll be hosting it next weekend as a part of Bay View’s Gallery Night from 6pm – 9pm as usual. Our featured artist this time is Allison Anderson who makes wonderful therapeutic jewelry (like our littlest shop helper’s teething necklace, which has helped him tremendously as he is popping in new teeth left and right). Join us for a relaxing evening!

And now, a couple of sneak peeks at a couple of the patterns coming out soon for OMG this summer…

Water Shawl 1

For our knitters…and this is the project that I have been jokingly calling the black hole for yarn.

Puff Star 3

And for our crocheters…

And if I can manage to stay awake on the flight home from TNNA tomorrow (yup, I’m flying down and flying back on the same day, ‘cos I got it like that…), I’ll type up my recap of the day.

Have a good weekend and we’ll see you next week!

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2014: A Year in Review

What did 2014 bring us?

  • New Yarn:
    – OMG yarn expanded the line of hand dyed yarn to include 5 new yarn bases and 14 different semi-solid colors.
    – The shop got in a lot of new great yarns like Donegal Tweed by Tahki Stacy Charles, Kraemer Perfection Worsted, Mesa by Tahki Stacy Charles, and more
  • New Patterns Published
  • New Friends and New Customers, plus showed us how many loyal customers we have
    My health suffered this year and for the first 7 months of the year we had very very very limited hours open (and even some spotty attendance for those few hours). The great news is that my health is stable and I’m slowly adding more time that I’m able to dedicate to the shop and yarn line. In fact, check out our “Visit Midwest Yarn” page, I just announced additional hours!
  • A New Baby
    We call the new addition to our family, Sharky. He’s growing by leaps and bounds, and even showing signs that he’ll be walking soon (meaning, he’ll be ready to pull yarn off the shelves in no time, just like our other shop helper did when we first opened).

In spite of the personal struggles, what helped me through everything were the amazing number of loyal customers I had that encouraged me and tons of great new yarn and projects that I love.

2015 will prove to be a challenge as well, but I can only hope (and pray) that this new year will bring more personal growth, a continued passion for the fiber arts, and the accomplishment of a number of goals I’ve had for a long time. We’ll be entering the 4th year in business, and this is the year that will determine whether or not my lovely little endeavor of a yarn shop/studio makes it for the long haul. So here’s a look at what my goals are for 2015:

  • Attend the TNNA Summer Show with a booth or table to begin wholesaling OMG yarn to other yarn shops
  • I had a dream of designing a series of shawls and that dream will become a reality this year. Several lace shawls are in the works and I couldn’t be happier about how they are turning out. The series will be released the weekend of the TNNA Summer Show!
  • Grow the yarn shop to fully sustain both itself and make enough of an income for our family, because working for myself for almost 3 years has proven to be the best option for us and the boys, why wouldn’t we want to continue it?
  • Get new yarn, of course
  • Attend a few of the larger fiber arts shows like Stitches Midwest, Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, and more…I don’t know if I’ll be able to do them all, but it’s worth the shot. With me being able to take off every other Wednesday now, I should be able to plan far enough in advance and dye yarn for these bigger shows where I’ll need to take 500 to 1,000 or more skeins of yarn with me.

…and more. Hey, I can’t share all the fun things I have in store, where’s the fun in that?

In order to make all of this happen, I need you! Continue to stop in and support our little yarn shop. Each skein of yarn you buy, helps us get to some of the bigger shows to really get out there. Keep an eye out for our Project of the Month posts and continue to be the awesome knitters and crocheters you are. Without you, none of this would be possible.

Plotting the Next Round of Yarn

Don’t forget, OMG yarn is now available to stash on Ravelry (click here)!

From a business standpoint, they teach you to assume that your business will always be in operation, so planning designs, colors, and yarns in advance is not a stretch, it’s the “how am I going to pay for this?” part that we worry about as the time comes. Part of the fiber arts industry – and the fashion industry too – is planning projects over a year in advance.

Vegas_Phoenix_3

OMG Vegas – Merino, Silk, Nylon, Poly Glitz blend – Color #Phoenix

So far, I have plans and rough ideas for Spring/Summer 2015 designs and colors AND Fall 2015 designs and colors. The hard part is wrapping my head around the budget – mainly because I don’t normally spend the kind of money that yarn shop operations require.

As long as we don’t run into any snags, here’s the general timeline and a little of what to expect coming in the next several months:

  • Spring/Summer 2015: New colors and designs coming by the end of May 2015 just in time for the National Needlearts Convention in Columbus, OH. I plan to feature OMG Calatrava, fingering weight, 100% Superwash Merino Wool. A theme has been chosen, and color testing is set to begin around the first of the new year. Expect lacy shawls…
  • TNNA Columbus: The BIG needle arts Summer show…Dates are 05/30/15 through 06/01/15 in Columbus, OH. I plan on hosting a table or booth to begin being available for wholesale at select shops. This is where the Spring/Summer 2015 patterns and colors will debut (and I’m already excited about it).
  • Fall 2015: Even more new colors and designs coming sometime in October 2015. I plan to feature OMG Midwest (worsted weight Domestic Alpaca/Domestic Merino blend that is one of my favorite yarn bases, so it’s named Midwest to make it one of our signature luxury yarns).

I’m looking into which big shows to attend as well. My wish list includes:

  • Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair
  • Stitches Midwest
  • Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival
  • Midwest Fiber Fair (happens around the same time as Stitches Midwest)
  • YarnCon

And I’m working on starting a Project of the Month club for OMG as well. This means that I’ll be curating a number of projects, both knit and crochet, that would work well for OMG yarns. I, unfortunately, won’t be able to design everything for those, so I am in the process of looking at some fun patterns online that I think will look great in our semi-solid colors that will call for one, two, or three skeins of hand dyed yarn, because I think keeping things affordable for many while supporting indie designers is important for OMG yarns.

And then when I have major pattern launches, I will feature my favorite designs for those months.

But we’ll see if we can do all of this and still have time to breathe afterwards. I’m looking forward to preparing for all these big things to come and hoping that we can continue the momentum that the shop has picked up. Make sure you continue to support our local yarn shop so that we can continue to fund these efforts.

Opening Weekend for OMG’s Newest Yarns a HUGE Success

There are not enough words of thanks that I could share that would even begin to describe the appreciation I have for everyone who stopped by this past Small Business Saturday to check out our new yarns and even just the shop in general. Small Business Saturday was not only a big success, but we did better than the previous two years combined…times two! In fact, sales of OMG’s yarns and patterns alone were higher than last year’s entire day of sales for Small Business Saturday, so that’s what I’d call a successful launch of the newest endeavor for our shop.

What’s next?Fiesta Hat Kit_1
My work is never done, and this is just the beginning. So here’s what I have planned for the next several months:

  • Experimenting with Ombre/Gradient yarns, doing something unique with this ever growing trend of hand dyed yarn that has this effect.
  • More designs in the early planning stages for Spring/Summer 2015 release and some for this time next year as well.
  • Adding new colors for the Spring season and patterns to go along with them. With the popularity of the crochet patterns, it seems that we may just have to commission my friend, Barb, to do a few more patterns for us.
  • Brainstorming projects for the summer trade show in Columbus, OH. That includes what will be the designs that will debut there. I attended in 2013, and it seems overwhelming to finally do a table or booth there, but I think that I’m up to the challenge.
  • Another secret project or two, you’ll just have to stay tuned…

Indiegogo Campaign Yarn
If you missed the update that I posted yesterday, I am working on getting the last few balls of yarn shipped this week. It’s the writing of the thank you notes that go with them that’s taking the longest, but everything else is finished and waiting to be shipped. 🙂

Other updates
I have the flu so we’re closing up shop early today, but don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow. Lessons are being rescheduled for Thursday at 5:30pm. My cough is a little better, but you guys really don’t want what I have.

5 Reasons Why Owning a Yarn Shop/Studio Is the Coolest Thing You’ll Ever Do

If you couldn’t tell, my yarn shop is a bit different than most yarn shops and the biggest reason: it is a studio. Although I usually refer to it as “the shop”, it is my space to “make yarns” as my oldest calls it. What I actually do is design, spin, knit, crochet, relax, teach, and just about everything in between. And because I am who I am, I have to have a little bit of chaos in the midst of all the order – so you will see my organized chaos in the form of piles of books and/or papers (organized, because I know exactly what sheet of paper is where in all that chaos…as long as no one moves anything).

IMG_0004.JPG

A pattern sneak peek. This pattern, the shawl shown above and a couple others, will be available for purchase beginning November 24, 2014. Kits will be available for purchase for the patterns beginning Saturday, November 29, 2014.

I do this because I love it, but also because it is probably the awesomest (it’s not a word, I know) thing I’ve ever done besides being a mom. Here’s why:

1. No pressure.
When you own a business, there’s always pressure to compete and focus on the actions of your competition. With this being my place for creativity, I don’t feel like I need to focus on what my competitors do, but what I do. That way, the only competition is myself and my ambition. Only I can get in my way if that’s all I focus on. If I focused on outdoing my competitors, I lose focus on what is important to me running my shop…my creativity. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that other businesses exist, and I even shop at other yarn shops. Not to see what they do, to buy yarn to make things. I’ll do (and carry) what I want, no questions asked, because it’s my creative space. 😉

2. I answer to myself.
My shop/studio hours are based around what works best for me and my family. I have the most energy and focus at certain times of the day, but I also like to be there for my son’s activities and have time to do things other than designing, dyeing, knitting/crocheting, and paperwork. I get to set those hours as a guideline. If I’m late, I have to make up that time. If I’m sick, I still have to work in some way, shape, or form…usually answering emails, returning messages, or just keeping an eye on Pinterest or other creative outlets to stay inspired. I work a lot, but I’m responsible for balancing work and life. Usually life wins, but that’s because I can knit while life happens and turn that knitting into making some cool things in life happen (like new designs or artistic projects involving yarn and fiber). In the end, it’s very empowering.

3. Yarn.
Yea, you knew I was going to say it. I’m a very visual and tactile person, so yarn speaks to me in so many ways. I’m not always a “yarn snob” and will occasionally find my way to JoAnn’s for Patons Classic Wool or Red Heart Boutique yarn because I need something different than what I carry. Yarn comes in all shapes, sizes, and textures and you may find me or other yarn shop owners fondling and smelling the yarn we carry. Why? Because it’s yarn.

4. I often feel like a mad scientist.
Dyeing yarn brings out the science background in me and reminds me of the days where I would stress out about Chem lab in college. All the calculations we did back then to make sure the right concentration of a compound got me mixed up half the time, but I always understood once we got to the mixing and making when we got to the lab. And in the real world, I have to use it in order for repeatable colorways. So, I don my mask, gloves, and protective gear to mix up dye solutions based on how much yarn I need to dye and the concentration of dye per ounce of yarn in the pot. While I do loathe math, I actually enjoy it when it comes to mixing dye.

5. Meeting people who are just as fiber-obsessed as I am.
There are people who knit (and crochet) and then there are people who KNIT (CROCHET). When I meet the people who KNIT, it turns into a fiber artsy geek-fest that only true die hards (or dye hards) can appreciate. We talk about the 5,000 stitches that have to be bound off at the end of our crazy lace pattern. We fair isle to our hearts’ content. We knit at the movie theater, in the dark, without ever looking down at our hands and can feel the mistakes as they slide off the needles. I like helping people get that far into knitting and crochet. Doing projects I could only dream about, because I don’t always have the time to dedicate. And although not everyone shares my enthusiasm for yarn, the way people light up when they walk into the shop is what drives me to continue doing what I do.

Maybe I can get one or both of my kids to be this enthralled with the fiber arts industry, it has so much to offer. Until then, I just continue to knit the hats and sweaters they ask for.

 

 

Vision

Our little shop is just that: little. And I love it! It’s a studio from which I can work, design, spin, and sell yarn. The best part, my kids love it there and it has quickly become a family business that is a home away from home for all of us.

The addition to the family, whom we lovingly call “Shark”, has already made his appearance a few times, happily napping in his play area each time.

But we need space to continue to keep the yarn dyeing out of reach of the kids and the cats. Our tiny kitchen can only fit one person at a time, so it is a big undertaking when I break out the dye pots. The cats are isolated from the yarn, but that will be difficult once the amount of yarn we need to grow gets ordered.

This is why I am working so hard to raise money to grow my shop. I love the dyeing, what I am able to do flies off the shelves before I can get it listed on Etsy. Sometimes even before it is re-skeined and packaged for sale.

The retail space will stay where it is, and will go back to being open five days a week. And if that seems like an impossible feat for one person, I will have help.

I will design patterns for the first dye runs and am working with a crochet designer so we don’t leave out our crocheters.

This last week, I got in a lot of the dye for the sample colors to begin taking pre-orders as part of the process, and am planning the rewards for our crowd funding campaign.

And yes, all of this work is making me a little nutty and aloof, but that’s what gives me joy. Shockingly enough, my almost 5 year old sees the joy and asks everyday after school and summer camp, “How was business?”

Gosh, I love this life and wouldn’t have it any other way. Let’s do this for many more years to come!

OMG, is this really happening?! Somebody pinch me. 😉