The business of knitting.

This week I've had a couple of meetings with 3 terrific and knowledgeable students from the RMC Business Admin. program who are doing a year-end project based on a local business, in this case they are studying WOOL-TYME Kingston. Hi Guys! (I know that they read this blog).

It's been a very interesting week for them and me as we have been going through what amounts to an inventory of details that are part of the "business" of knitting. As it happened, I had just bought a book called Microtrends by Mark Penn, where he identifies 70 minigroups in Western society that are having a big influence on how markets are driven. One of those groups that is identified is young knitters: teens and women from ages 25-34 who knit and/or crochet, whose numbers have way more than doubled since 2002. I was pleased but not at all surprised to read of this phenomenon. Every day we see more women under 35 in the store than we would have seen in a week when we opened 11 1/2 years ago.

But what struck me about how these young crafters have changed the face of knitting was when one of the guys asked me, just for interest's sake, what would be considered the most difficult type of knitting project, and what would be considered an easy one.

I didn't even have to think about either of these as they could easily be the same answer: a scarf.
However this beautiful picture at right represents a project that I would never have thought would be sold from my store just a few years ago, yet it is exactly these young committed knitters who have recognized the beauty of fine yarn and intricate patterns in a nice smallish project like a glorious blended wool and/or silk scarf. I call this EXTREME Knitting. (At last fall's SHOW & SHARE I think that about 1/4 of all the projects were beautiful lace and all were from the "younger" knitters.)

On the other hand, At the store we have come up with all kinds of easy patterns for beginner knitters who want to make a scarf RIGHT NOW, but don't want it to be too hard and don't want it to look too tacky. Young consumers in any area know what they want and are willing to learn, do and spend a lot to customize what they are acquiring.

I'm so glad that WOOL-TYME Kingston opened when we did - at the bottom of the last cycle of popularity for knitting and crocheting. It gave us time to grow into this new world where technology helps us be more informed consumers and business owners. At the store and through the internet, I can really see what our customers are wanting and needing, and where they are finding it. We can then make wise decisions about what we can realistically offer to make our stores more suitable for our customers.
It's a fascinating world out there, and when you look at the 2 new additions to the store this week: the laptop/internet combo, and the Wool winder/skein holder combo, you can really see how all of our lives are so connected to the simplest and yet most complex technologies.
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