Last week, I went to the Westminster Sales Meeting to do what I always refer to as a "dog and pony" show but in this case it was "yarn and book" show. I was invited by the Marketing Department headed by Linda Pratt. The attendees were several staff members from Westminster and the entire sales rep force for the United States. There were yarn company representatives from Germany, Australia, and Great Britain all presenting their products. I only saw the Nashua Handknits presentation done by Susan Mills. The mohair sweater shown at the right as seen in the dark in the hotel setting is one I did for their new Mohair Collection.
I stayed up extremely late one night putting together a lifestyle presentation. I have been out of the "yarn loop" for so long that I didn't know half the sales reps and they didn't know me. This is rather frightening because I used to be well-known and an industry design leader when I was at Classic Elite. It's amazing how fast you can become an unknown. I've been watching a lot of old movies lately (not exactly Audrey Hepburn old but not current) and have been thinking about the actors that were featured then (back in the early 90's) and remarking to myself - "Gee, I wonder where they are now... they were so talented... and now they are gone.... kind of like my career now that I am freelance and choosing to do other things and living my life differently outside the corporate/tradeshow/marketing world...."
Back to the sales meeting. I put together about 50 photos from our life and farm here. Some were personal about my family and Julia - there was a tie-in there because my yarn is named after her. Some were about the sheep - it was a wool talk after all. Some were about my garden where I get color ideas. Some were just plain fluff. Last year when I went to the meeting, I didn't know you could project a computer screen onto the wall and so I was ill-prepared (I brought little snapshots and the room was a mini-ballroom). This year, because I don't have PowerPoint, I did the next best thing. I built pages in a book in Adobe InDesign and then turned it into a PDF file. It worked like a charm and I learned a little InDesign which I have been shying away from. I'm a whiz at Quark but don't have a current program on my computer. I bought Adobe CS2 and it has everything I need if I could just sit down and learn it all.
Next I did a slide show on my book Kristin Knits which the Westminster reps will be selling. It was nice to look at all the photos of the projects and hear the response from the reps. It was positive and I hope that they place the Julia Yarn and Kristin Knits into a lot of stores. My professional life is in their hands right now. To say I'm worried about the outcome is an understatement. These reps are now booking appointments at your local yarn store. They will sit down with a shopowner within the next 2 to 3 months and try to sell them lots of yarn. Julia is just one of the yarns they are presenting - in fact, the yarn presentation they make will probably include in excess of 150 yarns. They are representing not only the recented formed Nashua Handknits but also Rowan, Jaeger, Gedifra, Regia, Schachenmayr, Anchor, Glorafilia, and Susan Bates. That's a lot of yarn to look at for a shopowner and decide upon.
So dear blog readers, here's your job, if you will..... If you want Julia in your LYS, now is the time to talk it up to the owner. Ask them to carry it in a nice color range. And then buy it from them next fall when it comes in. You'll love the yarn - it knits beautifully and the color range is fabulous. The new book Kristin Knits has got 27 wonderful projects of varying skill levels, nice photography and clear illustrations. My family and I will thank you for this.
Please excuse the sales bit here. I try to keep it out of my blog but sometimes I just think all the back story in the yarn business is just too interesting to leave out and that someone will be interested.