Meet the Vendor: Yarnarchy
Who are you and what do you do?
Yarnarchy features handpainted, handspun yarn as well as kits, patterns, fiber, and accessories created by a bona fide fiber addict. A fourth generation spinner and lifelong craftsperson, I ply my trade in a little stone cottage in the middle of a hundred acre wood, playing with color all day long.
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?:
I’ve been working on kits lately. I am the type of person who can spend a LOT of time in the planning stage of most anything, so as a customer…kits are super great for me. I introduced felting kits a couple of years ago, and a bulky art yarn wrap kit last year; in 2014 I’m offering some great shawl kits for popular Ravelry designs like Leftie, Wingspan, and more.
What do you love most about craft show vending?:
I have two favorite things about shows. Since much of my business takes place online, I really relish the opportunity presented by shows for face to face interaction with knitters and crocheters. And, many return customers often stop by with projects which is really rewarding for me.
I bring my wheel and spin during shows. So many people have never seen this process before! I really love to demonstrate my craft in public, which I believe brings a wonderful educational component to an event.
How did you get started in your business?:
I have been making things with fiber and selling them as long as I can remember. I also had a clothing company for quite a long time, with both women and children’s lines which I sold at events, markets, and wholesale. One major issue for me as a clothing designer and manufacturer was the competition from imported goods.
As someone who is always on a budget, making sure that my goods are accessible and affordable to a wide range of customers is important. When I picked up spinning again as an adult, it took me a while to figure out how anyone might make more than $2 an hour as a handspinner. After getting the efficiency worked out, I found that I was still facing some major hurdles with competition from imports and bumping price points to allow for wholesale accounts. I’ve made some tough decisions, like choosing to minimize wholesale accounts, but I feel that it has allowed me to manage my business in a way that works for me ideologically.
Sometimes people ask me why my yarn is radical. This yarn is radical because most knitters won’t ever get to work with US made handspun; my process may be done entirely without electricity or running water; and my business plan is not focused solely on profit, but places a great importance on environmental impact, sustainability, fair wages, reduction of waste, and affordability of product. I get to do what I love for a living. I get to feel good about what I do for a living. What could be better?
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with one of your customers?:
I have some amazing customers, so it would be very difficult to narrow it down! I love that my very first Etsy customer (2008) is still a regular buyer. I adore my yarn club membership customers–from the woman who made a sweater with a skein a month (super fun for me to choose each shipment of yarn!) to the widow who’s family sent her a yarn club membership instead of funeral service flowers to help her work through her grief. I love when children buy yarn for their parent. I love when children buy yarn for themselves!
I have 10 lifetimes worth of things on my must do list, and designing things for other people to use, wear, or craft with is super rewarding. I love that I get to make all different types of yarn which is turned into AMAZING items by knitters, crocheters, and weavers. Amazing items I would or could never create. I feel pretty honored that I get to play a little role in some of those creations.