Monday, June 11, 2018

Sad News - Classic Elite Yarns is Closing

Last week, I got some sad news. Classic Elite Yarns is closing its doors. I do not know all the details - just that they are ceasing doing business. I thought I should take some time on the blog to discuss some of the difficulties that are now inherent in the yarn biz world. 

I worked for Classic Elite Yarns for 16 years - from 1984 until 2000. I was the Vice President and Creative Director. Back then, Classic Elite was known as Elite Specialty Yarns. I was hired to grow the yarn into a player in the handknitting world which in the 80's was experiencing lots of growth. Elite was owned by a husband and wife - Pat and Bill Chew. I worked for Pat mostly. I went into it with eyes wide open - I was 25 and just married. This was my dream job as far as I could tell looking from the outside in. To say I was naive would be an understatement. When I look back on those 16 years, I really can't believe I stuck with it as long as I did. BUT - I loved my job, the creative yarn industry, the people I met at trade shows, the textile mills I got to visit all over the world. I loved the folks I worked with - what a great group of people they were. I am still friends with many of my co-workers and we all count each other as family. 

Looking from the outside in, Elite looked to be a hugely successful company. They advertised on the back cover of Yarn Market News with a full color ad. That was impressive to me. But once I got in there, I realized it was a different story. The offices were in a rundown mill building with moss green dirty carpeting and 4 desks that faced each other. I had my own "office" just off everyone else's shared space. It had no windows and was piled with junk. In the middle of it, I had a gray steel desk under some awful fluorescent lighting where I was supposed to be creative. There were big bank loans, husband and wife owners who fought all the time, machinery breakdowns constantly, and creditors always calling. It was nothing like I thought it would be. It was much more raw and tough and totally not like the image that was portrayed by the glossy ads. 

Pat and Bill (Pat called Bill The Tycoon) eventually divorced. Elite went through a foreclosure, an auction where Pat bought the business from the bank, a divorce, a massive fire when we lost most of our inventory, and on and on. I learned so much from those years at CEY - about business, about people, about yarn and color, about marketing, about graphic design and advertising.  Eventually I convinced Pat to purchase an Apple computer and I taught myself desktop publishing, Adobe Illustrator, Pagemaker, QuarkXpress, and then Indesign (with the help of David, Elaine, and Alexis Xenakis at XRX). I learned about photo shoots, trade shows, and somehow, Classic Elite Yarns grew to be a larger business. Pat was a brilliant if ruthless businesswoman. She and I travelled all over the world together. It was quite a ride. There are so many unbelievable stories I could tell -- but I won't. 

After Julia was born in 1998, I realized that I just couldn't do my job anymore. I wasn't as interested as I had been. I had done so many Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter yarn and handknitting lines. I was pretty exhausted and tired of being creative for someone else. I worked for a couple years making enough money to do over our kitchen, then gave my notice. I then started my freelance career writing books and doing whatever else it has been that I have been doing since 2000. But what I learned from that job has steered me all along the way. I took all the things I learned - about business, people, marketing, debt, yarn, color, fibers, fashion and more - and have continued to learn myself along the way. I am not sad I quit but I do miss the money but that is okay. It was a great experience - if not always good - and I am thankful Pat and Bill took the chance on me.

Pat continued running CEY after I left, hiring different Creative Directors over the years. She passed away in 2008 leaving the company to her daughter Tamara. Betsy Perry who was the Sales Manager of the company purchased the company from Tamara. Betsy has been running it until now. 

Last week, when I heard CEY was closing, I wasn't surprised. I know what goes into running a yarn company - all things I learned over the 16 years I worked for the yarn company. Payroll, rent and leases, bank loans, printing costs, inventory purchasing and control, computer purchases, sales reps, yarn store customers, collecting money from those yarn stores, inventory liquidation (hello Webs), dealing with overseas mills as there really are no textile mills remaining in the US that can supply the handknitting yarn business at prices that can then be marked up, sold through the rep system, then sold at yarn stores to the end user. 

Last night I read through a post on Facebook about the closing of CEY. Knitters were spreading blame all over the place - but the truth is, the reason CEY went out of business is many fold. There is no one reason and it is the result of a changing marketplace. It has always been difficult to be a "yarn company" but now it is tougher than ever. I do not know the reason Betsy chose to close CEY and I will never know. I do know that she took great care of her employees and that they loved their work. It is sad for all of them to have to find new jobs and move on. It is sad for the knitters who won't be able to purchase the quality yarns in beautiful colors that CEY was known for. It is sad that the designers who worked with the yarn to design sweaters will no longer have CEY to sell their work too. It is just sad all around.

Business has gotten tougher and tougher over the last few years. The business model is changing and it is not going to stop changing. Retailing is never going to go back to what it once was. I often wonder how the mainline retailers are hanging on. I look at stores like Saks and Macy's and The Gap and think about how they are going to survive. More and more and more, business is being done on the internet. I do not think that will go away and I only see it growing larger and larger as time goes by. Sure there are those consumers who say they won't purchase anything on-line but I would guess that that number will be fewer and fewer. As the younger generation has more money to spend they will most likely look more and more to the internet instead of direct purchases at a retail location. 

I think the following factors all contributed to the closing of CEY in no particular order: (I am not calling anyone out here - just saying what I think).
• Loss of yarn stores (CEY's customers) to sell to

• Growth of the independent dyeing trend. (The funny thing is that if CEY ever sold a splotchy yarn back when I was there, we would get returns of it up the ying yang. Now it is okay if a yarn is streaky, splotchy, speckled and the like. Go figure. Trends change.) 

• Failure of the consumer to realize that most yarn companies are really only small companies that look big. I have heard knitters say - "Oh I won't buy from any big company - I only buy independent." Little do those knitters realize that most of the "big yarn companies" really aren't big at all but Mom and Pop businesses who have bank loans and employ folks in their local towns to help them spread the yarn love through the world. 

• The rise of Ravelry. With all the opportunity it has given small independent designers, it has also led to a micro-trend of knitters not wanting to support "big yarn companies." 

• The rise of the internet and buying yarn on-line

• The rise of the farm-raised wool trend. I wonder how many of them are employing lots of people in their towns and churning hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of pounds of raw fiber in their businesses? 

• People always looking to get stuff cheaper via any way possible 

• People not wanting to pay for yarns that cost a lot to produce and that are sold through the retail yarn shop model (Knitpicks, JoAnn's, Michaels wins there.)

I'm sure that many of you will not agree with what I have written but I do know that Classic Elite had a good run for many, many years. The business supported many families over the years and kept many a spinning mill and dyehouse spinning and dyeing, printing companies printing, freight companies delivering - thus giving all their employees work. Many of the CEY employees have gone on to work for other businesses and brought the knowledge they learned with them to help those businesses grow. 

So it is sad -- so sad -- but life goes on. Business changes and it is fascinating to follow the changes and see how small business copes with the changes or not. Best of luck to Betsy, Jim, Pattie, Andi, Susan, Kim, Tracey and all the other folks I don't know who are going to be looking for work. XO Kristin

34 comments:

Robin said...

Sad, sad, sad is right. I grew up as a knitter using Classic Elite yarns. I am sorry to see them vanish.

Robin

Kristin Nicholas said...

Yes Robin - I know you did and CEY really appreciated your support over the years - and that of the yarn store that you purchased from.

Becca said...

I grew up with CEY, particularly your designs Kristin, as a backdrop. This IS sad! For the latter part of the 80s into the early 90s, CEY patterns and designs were a huge part of my mom’s knitting and her style. 😢 It’s an end of an era, that’s for sure.

Patricia said...

I was 30years old when I began to knit again which was in the 1980s. I remember those backpage ads! I also LOVED Classic Elite yarns. Now back in the 1980s I believe I was around making around 20K a year and slowly inching my way up the income level. I had bought my first home and money was tight. While I often could not afford the yarn, the ads, directions, stories that the yarn company put out fueled my imagination. What was it like to work with yarn, color, and go on these trips around the world! I figured out that I would never be able to take these trips but the yarn stores,photography, and the beauty to me was stunning.

I remember asking for Classic Elite Tapestry and was told there was other yarn less expensive and greater yardage. I remember the phrase “emperor new clothes.” The other yarn it did not have the depth, clarity, and certain something that made that yarn beautiful. It really stood out on the shelves. in Fact all the yards stood out and they were right next to the Rowan yarns! I completely understand the strains that that company must have had. The textile business is not for the faint of heart.I have noticed dramatic price increases, couture like following of some yarn vendors, and a bit of snobbiness as well. I also see some vendors charging a about $40 per skein under 200 yards, This is something I can not afford when I had a job, and now retired but looking to go back to work I still can’t afford it. I look to Plymouth Galway, valley yarns, berroco, brownsheep and other vendors who provide workhorse yarns. I also see Kristin as one of the forerunners of this business. A person with such a wealth of knowledge that it is unsurpassed. She found some of the designers that are noted names today. Thank you. I always envied your job to be very honest. It sounded great, but as with everything there is what we present to the public and what is hidden behind the curtain. Kristin, the creative Gods smiled on you. You have made a path for yourself and may it take you to where ever you want to go. Rest In Peace Classic Elite you did so well for such a long time.

Susan Druding said...

You hit lots of excellent points, Kristin. Many were also the reasons we closed down Crystal Palace Yarns last year. We, too, were thought of as a “big company” by some customers, made us laugh. We were very much a family company: me, Andy, son Loring and a few great employees.
When business slowed and since we were selling our own designed yarns for which I did the colors we had to order in quantities that were large in spinning lot size and dye lot size. We whittled down to our most popular yarns, Mochi, Panda Silk, etc. but finally realized it was time to close after 45 years.
I remember when Pat first arrived at a TNNA show in Chicago as a first time exhibitor. I think it was our 2nd year, exciting times as the yarn market exploded in the mid-80s.
Thanks for all you have contributed to the yarn and fiber world. This coming week is TNNA in Cleveland, I will miss going to the shows.
Cathy Campbell, our former employee, is continuing our Crystal Palace Bamboo Needle business so we will still have a small part to play.

Warm regards, Susan Druding

nhadepso.com said...

I'm a big fan of this. And it's so terrible for me. Hope for a miracle for the return

Andi said...

Thank you Kristin. You’ve said it well. Too little, too late. Betsy thinks this will be a wake up call for the industry, I hope she’s right.
All my best to you, the Farmer and Julia

Andi

Keely Northup said...

Well said! Such a sad day for the yarn industry. I think your points are spot on. After my son was born in 2007, I was unable to get away to market until this past summer. We were shocked by how much it had changed, and not for the better. So many Indie dyers, they all started to look alike after the first few booths. Many companies we visited didn't even bring materials to take orders and told us to just go online. The lack of professionalism was alarming. Yarn shops can not stay in business if they have to rely on flaky, fly-by-night companies to stock their shelves. And when you delve into the indie world, this type of disorganization is what you often encounter.

We both can remember a time when yarn shops were few and far between, and the selection/availability of quality yarns was very limited. Spotting someone knitting in the media was a rarity, other than to make fun of us with an elderly wisecrack. If we continue on this path, led by indies, YouTube, and e-retailers I fear our industry will be back there again.

Keely
Sealed with a Kiss

birch7 said...

Hi Kristin thank you for this honest to the bones blog. I worked for a LYS for four years and we really struggled once the smart phone came in and we used to catch "customers" taking photos of knitting patterns. They would then pop over to Beverly in the same shopping centre pick up their acrylic yarn and cheap needles. And then have the nerve to visit us when they got stuck with the patterns for "free" help! I also at that time got introduced to Classic Elite yarns and patterns - never seen here in Australia - and when I moved back to Australia all my treasures moved back with me. Even here it gets under my finger nails like chalk on a chalk board when I hear people whine about the cost of patterns, notions and needles. They just don't realise that not only do top quality products last forever but that they are also supporting USA or Australian companies when they then spend money on quality yarn keeping our local people in jobs instead of sending our hard earned money to no face businesses in China and the like. This news is so sad and I feel sorry for everyone affected by this closure. We really need to get behind these yarn companies, fabric companies etc or sadly in my lifetime we shall lose them all. I don't think it is just the internet it is the stores like Walmart, Jo-annes and Beverley's selling massed produced stuff and here in Australia Spotlight and Lincraft do the same thing. I have been knitting since I was 5 and am now 65 and am still in love with the knitting process and while I have an enormous stash of quality yarn I can still be wooed by a magazine ad! Thanks again Kristin such honesty

Kristi Johnson said...

Well Kristen you hit the nail on the hrad...the industry certainly is changing. But not for the better. I foresee many yarn shops closing over the next few years as their customers drown in speckled hand dyed yarn and get tired of making yet another shawl. As retailers spin in circles to find the newest Etsy dyer, they are not securing their future by nurturing sweater knitters. Sad.

Lornaknits@yahoo.com said...

Hi Sally (I miss you)--even Beverly's is a family run business. I worked for Beverly and her 2 sons in the late 70's in San Jose CA. Yes, they have several stores but I wouldn't put them in the same category as JoAnn or Walmart. ;)

Lornaknits@yahoo.com said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful history and memories Kristin. I have lovely memories of the CEY booth, or aisle really at TNNA's over the years ever since I started showing in the early 90's. <3

barbaraabb said...

So sad they didn't try and sell the business rather than just close it.

Anonymous said...

Tough to comment barbaraabb, when you don't know what went on behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

I always had the impression that Classic Elite was one of the most affluent and put together of yarn vendors. I think this is a loss. But I live in a small community and I have to go 100 miles to purchase yarn from a store other than a chain. So I don't care for the theme of these comments that I am at fault for the failure of Classic Elites when I really don't have the opportunity to shop at LYSs.

DianeTH said...

This news makes me really sad, and also makes me think about what I can do to ensure that the companies that I like continue to stay in business. I do buy nearly all my yarn online since one LYS closed a few years back and the other refuses to take credit cards. Most of the CEY yarns I have bought have been purchased online, so I don't think that online shopping is all bad. Liberty wool paints and Fresco are two of my favorites, and I am really sad to see them go. Like others, I thought it was a larger company that would be around forever.

Thank you for this honest blog, and I also appreciate all the comments from others in the business.

Anonymous said...

Kristin....everything you have said is on point. I come from the other end...a yarn store that struggled to survive. Resorting to classes, long days and nights, creating knitwear for patrons, trade shows, etc. We had to do it all in order to survive. And, then we would hear: "I can't believe the prices of your yarns....I can go to Joann Fabrics or Walmart and get it much cheaper". Well, you could but you couldn't match the quality or fiber content of the yarn. Yes, good yarn is expensive, it takes time to knit a finished product and yup...for those out there that say you can buy a sweater in the store for half the price? Right again. But it will be run of the mill, one of hundreds on the market. The problem is that the craft itself is beginning to slump again...people don't have the time, the money or the wherewithal to CREATE!!! An art form that may have met its demise. I love Classic Elite's yarns and their patterns and you and those that came to the shop selling and showing the yarn to us. I'm saddened and I loathe the changes. To all of you at Classic Elite...I thank you and wish you all a bright future.

Anonymous said...

While I think a lot of what you say definitely makes sense, I'd have to argue the "the younger generation isn't supporting this business" line that has come up here as it has many places. The Millenial generation has less money to spend and that's why we have to be careful where we can be on spending. As soon as I have some extra money, I DO try to spend it on smaller companies with their nice quality yarns or in other ways for local businesses. Most people in that age bracket that I know do, but we're not going to give up our hobbies because we can't afford to do that all the time.

Anonymous said...

I love CEY. Loved- rather. I have quite a few of their yarns in my stash- even an unused kit, from 2007 still in it's original packaging.

Now, no offense to the writer - but isn't it a bit.. er.. in bad taste to mention to potentially millions of readers the fights the owners had behind closed doors? or the dinginess/dirtiness of the offices? Seems kind of questionable to me. Shouldn't we be keeping things like that to ourselves? I don't know... I don't even know the CEY people, but I was shocked to read this on a public blog.

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences with CEY--very interesting. I know that there is so much I don't know, and this gave me a lot to ponder.

I found your assessment of some of the factors you believe contributed to CEY closing its doors. Knowing your experience with the company and beyond adds to the weight of your assessment for sure, but even if that were not the case, you presented an even, honest look at why things like this happen. It just felt informative to me, and I thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see CEY go but times do change and I have to admit that I have changed, as well. I purchase almost all my yarn online and do so because I've not been able to find a local yarn shop that I feel comfortable visiting. Our local yarn shop isn't a place to create, learn, and talk about our stashes. It has become a place where the women sit around and b*tch about politics and how much they hate feminists and I stopped going when I just couldn't take it anymore. If anyone else is dealing with that sort of situation in their area, it's no wonder that yarn companies which are have products sold primarily through LYS, are having trouble.

Heide said...

I have lived in many places over the last 45 years and some towns were so small that there was only one yarn shop for miles. But Classic Elite was always a constant. I loved looking at their ads in the knitting magazines, as I loved their patterns and yarns. Yes, Kristin, most "big yarn companies" aren't really that big. I am glad that you pointed that out. I will miss Classic Elite and their quality products. I will continue to support small yarn shops to the best of my ability. Even though I will be retiring in a couple of years and will not have as much disposable income, I will be in my local yarn shop from time to time. I will spend what I can afford on quality yarns. I will also have gift cars for those shops on my Christmas list.I have bought online when I couldn't find something in the store for a specific project. But I will always prefer my local yarn shop over big box stores and buying online. My daughter thought that I was kidding when I said that I spent so much money on yarn because that was my "retirement". I wasn't kidding at all. I knew all along that one day, my spending power would be more limited. There are Classic Elite yarns and patterns in my stash, and I will remember the company fondly. I am so sorry and sad to see them go, but I wish the owner and staff much happiness going forward. Classic Elite, I "grew up" knitting with you, and you will be sorely missed.

Cathy said...

It is very disappointing to see reliable large companies like CEY close down because of the mistaken beliefs by buyers that they are 'doing the right thing' by supporting a girl with a bag of hand-dyed instead.

And I agree with the person who commented on the yarn festivals with one small hand dyer after another, all with in effect identical products. At my last venture to one of these, after seeing 20 or 30 of them I ended up buying nothing and wishing I could see some honest to goodness properly dyed in one colour yarn! I've always been disappointed with over-priced hand dyed that offers nothing I want in a yarn on the odd occasion I have some to hand.

The issue goes further than yarn, of course. For example, in Australia it has its impact on the wine industry. Huge numbers of non-serious cottage 'wineries' have the same effect on the serious long term professionals (if that's an acceptable divider of types). No doubt other industries and businesses are affected too.

It's all a great pity, but it's the age of the social media bully, an idea gets hold and before you know it....

Kim Salazar said...

I will miss CE, the carefully curated selection of yarns, and your designs. I've seen local yarn shops killed by on-line nasty rumors, and had my own wiseNeedle independent yarn review website done in by competition from Ravelry. The business is changing, to be sure - consolidating and racing for bottom dollar. There is less room for deep community and one-on-one help, although more room for superficial connection.

That being said, I know the craft will survive, somehow. I do wish you and the rest of the CE family all the best, and hope all of you will land softly and comfortably in the next phase of your careers.

With gratitude and respect - Kim Salazar

Anonymous said...

This is very sad. I will miss the CEY quality yarns, especially Liberty Wool, a favorite. I want to offer a couple of observations I haven't yet seen in this discussion. Someone said 'the craft is starting to slump again.' I have only been knitting five or six years so I don't know when it slumped before. I started when I was widowed and needed something therapeutic to do and a way to make new friends, and it has been all that and more. But even in that short time I've seen prices trending up and several fine local yarn stores go under. I don't like the yarns available at the chain stores but I do shop on line for discontinued yarns and other ways to save.

Also, I note the tendency for overbuying. There is nothing like browsing in a lovely local yarn store, and you feel you must buy something. Or you see a sale and think "I could do something with that and it's such a good price." And it gets stashed. Eventually everyone who hand-knits will have so many beautiful yarns stashed away that they will stop buying and start knitting from stash -- I know I have done this. I have so much more than I need that I have to stop shopping. Now before I buy I say, "Do I have stashed yarn I can use for that?" (Maybe there's a business opportunity there....buying up stashes and reselling them online on a specialty site, rather than ebay...)

Anyway, I think there will always be people who knit and who like to use good quality materials; I don't think the internet is to be feared; but the economy will continue to be challenging (for us all). I am sorry to hear about CEY and I wish the staff the best of luck in the future.

Anonymous said...

things are cyclical. at one time, people sewed and knitted and crocheted because they had to - among other reasons because that was all they could afford. my mom has talked about her flour sack dress. i’ve often said we have been enjoying a period of relative luxury since the 80s in that some of us sew, knit, crochet because we want to not because we have to. sorry but i do not have the funds to spend $100+ plus on yarn to make a sweater or afghan. and block it. and hand wash it and so on. also,although many of us knit and crochet and/or spin and/or dye and/or sew and/or...there’s been a certain snobbery for lack of a better word between those who knit or those who spin or whatever to those that don’t whatever and do one of the other crafts. some people think it’s blasphemy when i say i embrace those conventions that encompass multiple yarn and fabric crafts. that, i think, is the only way conventions will keep happening. no body has yet mentioned Stitches and how long that will go on. don’t look down on us that shop at joann’s or michaels or whatever unless you would like to purchase and send gift cards to enable some of us to buy yarns st $40+ a hank.

CEY “collector and admirer” said...

So, so, so very sorry to see this demise taking place. I was shocked to read their farewell message I found in my mailbox yesterday. CEY no more?! “Such a big company?” However... I was wondering about all the beautiful CEY yarns being so frequently offered at huge discounts online at Webs for quite awhile now... i guess this trend was the expression of a downhill ride and has just culminated in actual end of this cherished company. I will miss the new CEY yarns never to see the light of day with their fab texture as well as colour combinations, a lot - even if I already have a substantial stash of the old ones! The speckled and splotchy yarn taking the market over? Yes, I am seeing this at my LYS, yearly trade show I attend as well as on Raverly every day, but no, this is not for me. The tastes are a-changing and they started to quite a few years back with “grunge fashion” style, where only the most shock value for your buck counts...
I have my CEY stash and will probably add to it soon as more of their yarns are being disposed off.
Thank you and good luck to the people behind CEY!

Anonymous said...

Ironic that there has been such a shift in marketplace/consumer perception of value: in the preceding decades apparently presenting a company as large, established and polished gave its brand added value and it was deemed worthwhile placing an outsized share of company resources into creating that image.
Now if I understand correctly it would seem that the opposite may be more true with an emerging(emerged) greater appreciation for microscale. Perhaps the time has come for "large" yarn companies to present themselves with backstory stressing their surprisingly small size and so on. More than 10 years ago, and "it" designer in New York created a tongue-in-cheek back story in which he sold everything and moved to South America to learn to be a potter In order to ground his high-end design-y manufactured pottery/ceramic home furnishings with an "artisanal" provenance.

Perhaps this too will turn out to be cyclical?

Less is more for now until more is more once again.

Anonymous said...

and lest’s not forget charity knitting: while some charities desire and/or gladly accept items made from wool for its better retention of body heat, others charities specifically say they want acrylic for its durability and being able to be machine washed and dried with no need for hand washing in an expensive made for animal fibers soap, blocking, and so on. and who has acrylic in abundance at a low price point to be able to purchase large quantities: joann’s, michaels, etc. i don’t work for them, btw, and get no reimbursement for mentioning them. at one time i had the discretionary income to purchase every knitting and crochet magazine published here and in the UK, and to support designers bought entire books even though i only wanted one pattern in the entire book. bought the more expensive animal/plant based fibers to make small projects but if yarn stores, etc. are going out of business in part because i no longer have the $ (like many baby boomers may not - just like there is a stereotype about all millennials having $, there seems to be an assumption that all baby-boomers own homes, are enjoying wonderful 40K payouts, etc. we’re not) which also brings up another point: maybe some of you can afford to teach a knitter with expensive yarn to start with or go to a rest home and do the same, others of us can’t don’t get me wrong: nothing can match the feel of good alpaca or wool or silk and supporting small families here and in South America to make a decent living. think also about those in Peru, etc., we buy yarn from, the animals grown, the people that transport the goods, etc. but also, acrylic provides truckers $ to feed their families, and so on down that money chain. . i agrée that acrylic is harmful to the environment. but should those of us that can’t afford anything else cease knitting, crochet, etc. because we can’t afford anything else?

Anonymous said...

who participated in WWKIP Day? to further promote our crafts? with the closure of stores and one blogger no longer advertising one at a posh shopping center here, my nearest one was not within travelling distance. but i did bring my crochet to a cultural function and while no one approached me about what i was doing, i was able to approach a charity both that sells blankets/shawls of all sizes...

Julie-Ann said...

This is indeed sad. I'm sorry to see them go. Been reading all your comments, I agree with some and disagree with others as it is with all opinions. I'm 36 and live on an island in the West Indies where our economy and my salary don't allow for me to stash buy nor buy yarn over a certain amount per skein ($40 per skein is a luxury I will never be able to afford). Also, we have no LYS's so I have to buy all my yarns online, so please don't paint all online buyers with such a large brush some of us have no other choice. I too dislike the trend in speckled yarns; they make no sense to me. They just look pretty - I used some once but they drowned out the pattern (did this when I was still learning).

Thanks for the insight into what goes into running a yarn company. I never pay attention to popular opinion or gossip as most of the time bad reviews are the product of mean-spiritedness. So whatever caused the shutdown I'm so sorry for it and wish them all the best.

LannieK said...

Oh my. A world without CEY... ?

First, best wishes and thank you to the the CEY family - current and previous! I can imagine how hard this whole thing is. And sad.
I always thought of CEY as "special" yarn - ya know when you want to make that special something for someone special or for yourself ~ Like my first sweater top. I will miss everything about CEY. The ads, patterns, colors and yarns. Dang.

Then to hear the closing of Crystal Palace - say what! Yes, I live in the middle of nowhere, but dang it. I need to get out more. Or maybe not.... Thank goodness for my stash!

Kristin, thank you for sharing your insight to the market and changes. There are so many people out there that don't have a clue what it takes to open and run a business - let alone make a profit. I wish they did, then they might understand. It's hard, very hard for small businesses. I had one, was relieved when we sold it. But I do miss our regulars.
Support your local yarn stores! They are important, because if it wasn't for a LYS, I and many others wouldn't have learned to knit.

Anonymous said...

I learned to knit with Knitty Gritty and the advent of Ravelry. Knitting was such a passion and I have a full library and a very large stash. I finally decided I have enough. When I buy something it has to be really different.

The second reason I’m not buying yarn is that I don’t agree with the knitting community counter-culture. I don’t have colored hair, tattoos or any piercings. I wear makeup and love my husband and clean my own house. I have nothing in common with my LYS’s knitting group. The last straw for me was seeing the pink p*ssy hats that yarn shops had displayed everywhere. If a business caters to one political point of view it’s going to lose a lot of customers.

a.k.a. The Big Yarn said...

Kristin - I can’t believe that Julia is 20. We had some good times. My favorite yarn rep Cameron (mother of another Julia) Brown one of your stars. Working with CEY & Melanie F. An Era is passing...... best denyse