1.12.2011

Very gingerly, let me say a few words...

I suppose I could explain my absence from this bandwidth for the past couple of weeks as being a byproduct of my holiday revelry and the madness of retail at that time of the year but it would only be partly true.

Last week I got an email linking to Mags Kandis' website announcing the end of the licensing agreement for Mission Falls Yarn, meaning that it will not longer be produced, and therefore when the stock is sold out, will no longer be available. Like all other fans of this beautiful product I was sorely disappointed, especially as I had just brought in the line of their sport weight wool just last spring. What an unfortunate loss - a wonderful product which was conceived, designed and actually spun here in Canada. But alas the world, knitting and otherwise, will keep on turning no doubt.

I don't mean to say that I was so prostrate with grief at the thought of losing a yarn line that I couldn't bring myself to write a blog post. I was however quite shocked by fall out and assumptions that this announcement brought with it and had to think about what I wanted to say. These assumptions originated with the following lines from Mags's original post:

Sad news:
As of today, the Mission Falls brand is no longer.
Happy news:
As of today, the licensee has begun liquidation of Mission Falls products. Yippppppeeeeeee for all you yarnie makers!

I have to commend Mags on her post that day. After 15 years of her life being invested in building such a great brand it must have been a difficult one to write and to word properly. Unfortunately the yipppeeee has perhaps given a wrong impression.

As a yarn store owner I had a very different reaction to losing a yarn that is of such great quality. My first thought was: "I sure hope that they have lots in stock so that the transition to other options can be made more smoothly." It never occurred to me that it would be sold off at fire sale prices.

Mission Falls wool and cotton is still a very valuable commodity, made all the more valuable in the eyes of fans and those who have partly finished projects of Mission Falls yarns by the fact that there will be no more of it coming off the spinners. Why would I devalue it for that exact reason?

On a chat in Ravelry where they were discussing this very topic, one member said that she couldn't understand yarn stores that sell discontinued yarns at full price. Let me say that from this side of the counter, a product is worth exactly what a customer is willing to pay for it. And a beautiful yarn will not lose its quality or value just because no more will be available in the future.

Now don't get me wrong. Full disclosure here...I am a major bargain hunter. I have never seen a Clearance sign that I haven't investigated. And as a yarn store owner, many of you will know that we seldom have an empty section in our Bargain area of the store. But these are yarns that make it to my clearance table by virtue of their overproduction, or outdated colour, or their "orphanhood" being the last few balls of a dye lot. In my store, it all comes down to real estate: does a specific yarn deserve its place in the full price section or should it move on at a discounted price to find a better home under some deserving customer's roof.

Another thing that I want to say is that I really have appreciated CNS yarns' work in continuing and expanding the Mission Falls brand over the past few years. Yes, we all know that it isn't EXACTLY the same, but it was darn close to the original product that Mags offered us for so many years - and it remained a fully Canadian product. I for one think they did a really good job.

As for the cotton, in case you don't know of it, we started stocking Cascade Yarn's LUNA a few years back to complement the colour range of Mission Falls cotton. It is as close to the real thing as you can get in terms of texture and has been a very popular addition to our midweight cotton lines.

To sum up with my best wishes:
-Good on ya, Mags. Enjoy the next phase of your life.
-Thanks CNS - for continuing to bring us these great yarns for the past 5 years.
-And customers, a bargain is a great find, but good quality yarns are a bargain even at full price.

1 comment:

Nymfadora said...

Ack! Thats so sad!! I don't know what else to say! Well, I will add that I'm glad I got a large gift cert for Christmas! I guess I better come in soon!!!