Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are you intimidated by yarn shops (part III)?

You know that yarn shop that you often walk by?  The one with all the gorgeous colors and textures in the window, teasing you, beckoning to you?  The one you've avoided entering, because you feel just a wee bit intimidated?  That one?

I'm giving you the tools to overcome any phobias you have about yarn shops!  I love love love a shop full o' yarn and I want to share that joy with you.

And guess what?  Yarn shops have egos.  Well, not the shop.  But the owner.  The manager.  The staff.  They are there to provide you a service:  sell you yarn, patterns, notions, tools, classes.  They are proud of their offerings and their service!  If you come in and ask where the red heart acrylic yarn is, that's more than a bit of a shock to most yarn shops.

(Not that there's anything wrong necessarily with red heart acrylic yarn ... if you like acrylic ... but most shops don't carry red heart.)

Being a retail business, most shops are going to try to sell you their higher end and more special yarns and fibers.  They want you to see their indie dyed and spun yarns, because they want to support those artisans.  They want you to buy addi turbo needles because (a) they're rather expensive, and (b) they believe they are the best needles.

In the end, most shops want you to introduce you to the best quality at a price you can afford.  I've been in many a shop with customers commenting on how expensive things are.  Audibly commenting.  True, some shops are REALLY expensive, but most are reasonable, given the goods they are carrying.  Their yarns are likely more expensive than craft store yarns, but they are likely higher quality yarns.

Have you ever railed against the prices in a shop?  Or made a disparaging or dismissive comment about their stock?  That may actually hurt the feelings of the workers in the shop!  Which created defensiveness and even anger.  The staff are people with feelings, who may take things very personally.

I just had to play devil's advocate for a minute, remembering what it's like when I'm vending at Stitches West or Renegade or other shows/fairs, trying to not let comments like those bother me.  Being human and all, it's hard.

If you're genuinely baffled about price differences between your yarn shop and the Hobby Lobby ... ask the staff about it!  I don't recommend a "why the heck are you so expensive compared to Michael's."  :)  But a genuine question showing authentic curiosity, such as, "I'm really curious about how the prices and quality between yarn shops and craft stores are so different - can you help me understand?"  In a nice, friendly, curious tone, not an aggressive tone!

Most yarn shop employees genuinely want to help you.  They love knitting as much or even more than you do (hard to believe anyone could love it more than you, right?).  They may not be extremely skilled in customer service, communication, human interaction, but they do want to be helpful!

So help them help you!

(And now you get why the youtube clip - be sure to watch it!)

Be nice, open, friendly, and you're more likely to get the same in return.  Go in on the defense, ready for a fight, already not happy about prices or selection, and you'll get defensiveness in return.

And yeah, I know it's not that simple all of the time, but this has worked for me 99.999% of the time!  When I feel that defensive crunchiness starting in a yarn shop, I remind myself that I can change the vibe, and set about to do so right away.  Even just a "hello, how are you" and smile from me can reverse what's starting to be a negative yarn shop experience!

But what do you think?  Have you had similar experiences?  Or very different experiences

Are you intimidated by yarn shops (part I)
Are you intimidated by yarn shops (part II)


Orion Designs said...

My local yarn shop is fabulous and the owner and her few part-time staffers are always ready to answer whatever questions I have.

The bigger yarn shops (in Anchorage) can be a bit intimidating. When I have a question, I gently approach one of the employees and ask my silly question. She is usually very anxious to share all of her knowledge with me!

Brenda said...

I'm glad to hear you had a great LYS - keep chipping away at the ones in Anchorage! :D

Kekumukula said...

I love my LYS. I get such fabulous suggestions for yarn that range in price and texture. I agree w/you. Dish out snobbiness, you'll get it back at you. I seen rude customers come into yarn stores and they expect to be kowtowed to? Pish; don't think so.