Monday, October 01, 2007

Our Mission

This site was created for the knitting and crochet communities (at their request) so that knitters and crocheters can be informed consumers regarding which yarn manufacturers require retail keystone pricing and which don't. Due to the recent exposure in the media and on the internet regarding the issue of keystone pricing within the yarn industry (specifically with the Tilli Tomas/Sarah's Yarns issue), knitters and crocheters have expressed their opinions regarding the practice of keystone pricing and many have chosen to buy only consumer-friendly yarns (those yarn manufacturers who do NOT require a specific mark-up of their yarns, whether it be 100%, 90% or any percentage of keystone) and have requested a list of "friendly" and "unfriendly" yarn manufacturers.

Our mission on this site is to accurately report the keystone pricing policies of all yarn manufacturers (large and small) and to be a reliable resource for the knitting and crochet communities to refer to before they make yarn purchases.


At 5:28 PM, Blogger Ana said...

Hey, you rock! For some reason the e-mail wasn't working on my blog. I'm going to put a link to yours on by blog, since it's way better than mine.

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you, Nuts? It is absolutely none of your business how mark up is decided not only in this industry but in any industry.

Are you going to pursue pricing practices in the music industry, the book sellers, how about grocery stores?

If you want to drive wholesale distributors out of business or to smirch the practices of the the country's LYS, go right ahead. The goddess of yarn will surely take note.

Shame on you!

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally can you tell me why you think Yarn Shop owners are not supposed to make at living at what they do? Do you know that Jewelry is marked up 900%, furniture 600%, let's not talk about groceries or gas. What makes you think Yarn Shop Owners are not supposed to make a living?

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I own a yarn store in a small city. I have seen a decline in business due to price shopping on the internet. Customers come in, look and tocuh the yarn and then seek the best price.
Why are the prices in the store higher? This is the breakdown perskein of yarn:
10 % for shipping the yarn to the store
45-60% for the cost of the yarn
15-60%(seasonally) for rent
18% for insurance, security, cost of POS
30% for salaries to employees.

Do the math- if you want LYS to survive, you need to support them. I put my money where my mouth is. My father, who owned a small children's clothing store, taught me 30 years ago that if you don't support the small stores, they will cease to exist. This summer I bought a grill at my local hardware store. As we walked thru Sears my son pointed out that they were selling the same grill for $50 less. I said "I know" he asked if I was crazy. I told him what my father told me. The competition now is not just the big stores who can sell things for less than I can buy them and the internet, who has no cover costs- no rent, no staff, no security or insurance.
I believe local yarn stores provide a unique service to the community, but they cannot exists by competing with prices on the internet or each other. Each store has its own overhead that must be covered. Some can keep overhead lower by being in in a less expensive area or by mimimally staffing or by carrying a small selection of yarn(it is expensive to maintain a large selection of yarns). My costs are high because 1) I provide parking and close access to the metro)
2)I always have 2-3 people on the floor to provide help, and I only higher qualified help that has knitting expertise.
3) I try to provide the customer with as many options as I can, pouring any money the store makes back into the store's inventory.

So.. by all means, price shop your yarn, but be aware that there is always an opportunity costs- in this case, losing the local yarn stores.

At 5:32 AM, Blogger Vintageme said...

Thanks for setting up this site.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger luv2knit46 said...

I have run both a brick & mortar yarn shop as well as a web-only yarn shop and I can say that the business expenses are extremely comparable. For our online yarn shop, we pay rent for office space, electricity, phone, internet, etc. We have 4 employees who must be knowledgeable not only about yarn, but about computers as well. We field all sorts of customer service questions via phone and email. Since we’re not visible “on the street” like a brick & mortar yarn shop, we pay thousands of dollars every month in search engine advertising to drive traffic to our site. We have office equipment, computers (5 of them!), computer programs, and programming services to pay for as well. You get the point. The costs are more comparable than you might realize.

Another thing to keep in mind is the “convenience” of getting to take the product home with you immediately (by shopping at your LYS) as opposed to having to wait for it to be delivered (when ordering online). Not to mention shipping charges. If you REALLY want to level the playing field here, then let’s also make all customers who shop at LYS’s pay shipping charges and wait a week for their yarn! It’s apples and oranges here — LYS’s and online yarn shops offer different things and BOTH should be “assessed” by the quality of what they offer, NOT by what a yarn manufacturer deems is necessary to stay in business.

I also would like to address the quote from Carol’s original post stating, “When a great many retailers can’t sell their Yummy Yarn inventory, or their costs are such that they just can’t charge only $6 and still make a profit, they won’t order it anymore. Yummy Yarns is going to lose business. Yummy Yarns might even go out of business. No more Yummy Yarns.” This statement is (in my opinion) incorrect. If retailer X sells Yummy Yarns for $6.00 per skein and retailer Z can’t compete, how does Yummy Yarns go out of business? They’re still selling Yummy Yarns (and plenty of it) via retailer X aren’t they? Not only that, but Yummy Yarns just may be selling MORE of their yarns via retailer X (because the customers can actually afford it at $6.00 per skein) than if retailer Z tries to sell it at $10.00 per skein. Chances are that skein will sit on the shelf a lot longer at $10.00 per skein than it would at $6.00 per skein, don’t you think?

Once a wholesaler sells a product to a retailer, it no longer belongs to the wholesaler and the retailer should be free to do with the product as they wish. They should be able to give the product away as a gift if they so choose. If a wholesaler requires a certain retail price for their product, then they should retail it themselves (as Knitpicks does) and not wholesale it. If we allow wholesalers the ability to dictate what retailers do with their products after they sell it to them, what’s next? Will wholesalers then start putting restrictions on WHO is worthy of knitting with their products? Sounds ridiculous but if they’re so concerned about protecting their image then it makes sense. Heaven forbid an inexperienced knitter should knit with Milli’s yarns and make Milli’s yarns look bad!

It doesn’t make sense for wholesalers to dictate retail price unless their product is shoddy to begin with. If a manufacturer produces quality products, people will pay for it. America was founded on a free market economy, and competition in the market-place is as American as apple pie. If you brick & mortar yarn shops can’t compete price-wise with the online yarn shops then you need to do a little introspection to see how you CAN compete. You have MANY advantages that online-only yarn shops do not have. Use them! But don’t cheat the system (and your customers) by calling the manufacturer’s and “tattling” on your competitor for being able to sell their products for less, and keeping yarn prices artificially inflated. As Sarah said, once businesses no longer need to compete with eachother, quality will go down while the retail prices remain high, and the ONLY ones who benefit from this type of business practice are the greedy retailers who believe that price-fixing and keystone pricing keeps them in business.

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Consumer Friendly Yarns said...

Anonymous, your view is extremely popular amongst the yarn manufacturers and many retailers, however if you ask the general yarn consumer, they feel quite differently.

We at Consumer Friendly Yarns are not opposed to retailers charging more for the services they provide, and in fact completely support and agree with this practice. What we oppose is retailers being FORCED or required to charge a certain price by the manufacturers. We believe that what a retailer chooses to charge for their product (once they've purchased it from the manufacturer) should be up to the retailer, and that if a manufacturer wants to charge a particular retail price for their product, they should retail it themselves and not wholesale it. We believe in fair market economy, healthy competition, and capitalism, which is what the United States is founded on.


Consumer Friendly Yarns

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the retailer's decision what to carry and if there is a contract that requires 100% mark up, and if you don't like it...don't carry the yarn. This website may be intended to help consumers, but it is destroying the reputations of many fine yarn wholesalers and retailers. Much of the unique yarns today require time and labor to make...time is money and to assure the public does not get these types of artistic products for next to nothing, contracts need to be in place. Consumer friendly yarns, your wasting your time, if you want cheap yarn shop at Wal-Mart.


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