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I have always thought of myself as a yarnaholic, and infact think I have said so many times in this blog and on the site. Long before I started Luxury Yarns, even in my teens and 20’s I would walk into a yarn store or haberdashery and get an overwhelming feeling of need… needing to make something, needing to knit/crochet, need to buy lots and lots of yarn…  Little did I know at time but I was not alone. There are yarn addicts everywhere. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the invention of the internet and then Facebook and Ravelry we have formed communities and meet-ups, knit-alongs, etc. and now, more than 20 years later that feeling is stronger than ever. In fact it was actually one of the reasons I started Luxury Yarns 5 years ago – I mean what could be better than to try and make a living out of something you truly love…

Having recently returned from maternity leave and deciding to keep Luxury Yarns rather than sell it (I mean what was I thinking!!) I have been looking for ways to take it to the next level.  Part of the problem is that the business is just me … I have no employees and I have 2 children, and 2 dogs so my life is busy. I do however have an incredibly supportive husband who is my inspiration. I also have a wonderful part time nanny but even so, she only does about 10 hours per week. Anyone who has experience of running an online business will know that there is more to it than just sitting back and waiting for the orders to come in. In my experience, you get out of it what you put in – and in this day and age social media plays a huge part in whether a business is successful. I have always been able to track the number of sales by the amount of time I spend I spend on marketing. This involves writing posts, taking photographs, writing blog posts, tweeting etc etc – not to mention actually knitting and creating beautiful things, managing the site, listing the products, searching for new ones etc…

The thing that drives me is that I genuinely LOVE my business. I love everything about it from my silks, cashmere, lace, the industry and the customers. I pride myself in being able to recall many of my regular customers  by their first name and can remember which products they have bought and what they have made with them. I even know some of their children’s names and have a few who have recently become grandparents too. I take pride in every stage, choosing the products, photographing them, building the website, gift-wrapping all my orders, choosing which “gift” to send with it etc, knowing that my customers probably feel the same way I do about their purchases.  Crafting is a sociable business, and as such social media is the perfect forum –  Facebook, Instagram and Ravelry are all proof of this. However, there are simply not enough hours in the day for me to be able to make a living out of it – that’s to say make enough to be able to fund my own yarn addiction as well as pay for my childcare, dog walker, bills etc.  So, in addition to my retail business, I have decided to take my gorgeous and exclusive cashmere yarns to a wider audience and I am making a break into the wholesale market…

This is nerve-wracking stuff because cashmere is not cheap, and I am about to commit to buying around 200kg! It is also taking my addiction to a new level… However, I am so passionate about my yarns that I believe that everyone else will feel the same way once they see them. I have only ever received glowing reports from my customers over the years – most of whom come back again and again, so I am optimistic that it will sell – I just have the challenge of getting it “out there”.

It’s a bit chicken and egg though – I can’t really start selling it until I have it… yet I have been nervous about buying it until I had at least a few shops showing an interest… Anyway, after weeks of procrastinating, I have bitten the bullet and placed my order,  my shipment is due to arrive in the first week of January and the storage facility is booked. Phew!

One of the most exciting prospects about taking my cashmere knitting yarns wholesale is that I get to commission patterns. In addition to the many patterns I have already created, I get to trawl through Ravelry,  find some of the most delicious patterns around and then ask the designers if they would like to work with me to create a new pattern.  This is ‘yarnaholic’ behaviour at it’s very best and fills me with a happy feeling of excitement and anticipation much like considering some serious yarn retail therapy! I have always known that I have an addictive personality and this confirms it, but at least this addiction is an acceptable one, although I’m not sure my husband would agree with me…

Image courtesy of http://intheloopknitting.com/knitting-humor/

 

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