Sunday, March 18, 2007

Raving and then Ranting





Buying Freeze Alert. I was checking out Tia and she told me about Ailsa at Knitabulous. They, and possibly others are going to go 3 months without buying anything new - with a couple of exceptions. This sounds like a great idea to me. Beyond the environmental effects there could be great budgetary effects as well. I should be able to few a couple of higher payments on the sucker cards and get them down.

This all begins April 1st and runs through June 30
Here are MY rules:
Fiber (yarn, roving, etc) is included in the deal - for my own personal use. If I'm doing a shop model it's different, but the shop is buying the materials anyway.
If it can be bought from the supermarket I can have it (normal supermarkets, not the right side of Meijer or Walmart).
Basic children's clothing is ok.
A single service-type purchase (eg: haircut) is allowed.
For every 10 pounds lost (total of 32, 42 and 52) I can buy one outfit.
Second hand from thrift stores is ok but no ebay.

Yesterday, Edith left the shop.





Here she is with Tamara - her new best friend.










Here she is in front of the fireplace and also modeling some new threads.
Tamara is a semi - new spinner but as you can see the potential is great. She is also a reenactor so Edith will be a great help in that area too.
I'm very happy for the both of them. In case you are wondering, Edith is an Ashford Traditional double drive with a double treadle upgrade. This girl can spin anything from bulky all the way down to lace weight cashmere. I should know. I've been keeping her in tip top condition in preparation for the right spinner to come along. I predict this will be a long and happy relationship. Especially since Tamara also got the bulky flyer. Now there's nothing she can't do.
Now I have a couple of things to gripe about. First. I got a letter in the mail today from the State of Michigan. Some background information may be helpful. About a month ago I go a speeding ticket. I was going 41 in a 25 zone. Yup, that's me, Speed Racer. In addition, when I got my new insurance card I never put it in my car. I had the expired ones (3 of them) but nothing current.
I went to the Brighton courthouse and paid the fines and showed that I did indeed have insurance coverage. Over 200 dollars in fines thankyouverymuch.
So, to the letter. I got a letter today. I owe a driver responsibility fee to the State of Michigan for not driving with proof of insurance in the car. Yup. Guess how much it is.
Guess.
Guess.
$200.00
What!!!!! I paid the fine. Evidently there's a newish law (2003) that the state can fine you for the same stuff you've already paid for. I'm pissed. Yes, I was speeding. Yes, I didn't have the @#$%%^&* insurance card. I paid the fine within 4 days and showed my insurance card.
This state is ridiculous. Isn't that like going to state prison for a couple of years and then going to federal prison for the same thing. Just cause the fed wants to get its punishment in too?
Anyway, what can I do? I'll pay it. I'll be damned sure I have my card with me from now on.
Funny thing is, that same day i was driving on the freeway 10 miles under the speed limit and thinking to myself how I better speed up a little so people behind me weren't getting mad.
Next is not so much a gripe as a questioning complaint.
I'm not even really sure about whether I'm doing the right thing talking about this because I know that there are a few people who come to my shop who also read this little blog. Lately though I'm feeling a little crabby.
I've been a lesson taking girl all my adult life. I love taking classes. In all of the shops I've taken classes in I have purchased the materials for said classes from the shop in which I'm learning. This goes for quilting, knitting, cross stitch, painting... While I was taking spinning classes at the very same shop i own right now I purchased spinning fibers which were used during the lessons from Betty. Now don;t get me wrong. I picked up fibers at other places. Alegan, Spinner's Flock and on traveling vacations. I just tried not to bring them into her store.
Other people don't seem to be as concerned about this.
Yes, fiber suppliers abound. Ebay, Etsy, local growers. But, I have an abundant supply and I've been doing my best to have a fantastic variety of colors, fiber types, even down to having more than 20 types of fleeces available.
And here come the students with their wheels ( not bought from me) and their wool (not bought from me) and when I advise a book or type of fiber they go off and find it from another place.
What do I do? That $15 isn't really going to help me stay in business unless I get class sizes of over 10 in a group. But then how can I give the attention to my students that they deserve? Do I raise the class prices? Do I make a policy of no outside fiber allowed?
I don't want to be immodest but I am a good teacher. The Ebay and Etsy paople aren't going to help you with your spinning technique and helping you to improve but I can only do that if I can maintain my rent, phone, insurance and all of the things that everybody loves to see when they come in.
Anybody, please help me with what to do. Maybe I should just ignore it an hope that things will change or that I'll keep those people as customers. You guys shop so what can I do?

9 comments:

Katy said...

The big LYS near me offers several free weekly drop-in knitting groups where support/informal instruction is available. In the flyer for the groups they note that materials used during those groups should be purchased at the store. Now, do they patrol the room and kick people out? No. If I dropped in, just to be social, and was working on something else, they probably wouldn't say anything. But--I also wouldn't call attention to my yarn, e.g. "look what I found online!";--nor would I ask for free help with the project.
As far as classes go--to me it goes w/o saying that materials must be purchased at the store. If this would be a changeover to a new policy, and if people will grumble, then I think I would write up a nice little blurb to include with the class list noting why such a change has been made.

jae said...

Every store I know has this policy. I agree with the advice Katy has given. If it still continues, I would politely and quietly say something to the person who repeatedly ignores the policy. Good Luck!

Tamara said...

1. Oy. I knew I should have broken your camera.

2. Leadfoot -- lay off the gas. ;) But, I will agree -- the State does suck. (turn on rant) Where is all this money going that they are collecting? It sure isn't going to our lovely roads.(off rant)

3. I also agree that most LYS have this policy for classes. If it's just a drop-in social type of sit n' spin, I think anything goes. But, for specific classes, I think you make it clear that this is the policy. I think that most people who do this may not realize what it takes to stay in business -- especially in this eBay world. Hang in there!

Alpaca Granny said...

In order to emphasize that yarn should be purchased at your shop, maybe you could offer a token 5 or 10% off. That's what our local shop, SipNKnit, does in Ithaca. I think most of us try to buy in the shop. Even though I raise and spin my own alpaca, I try to spend some money weekly in the shop.
Maple

hesira said...

Maybe when you announce the class you should say included in the fee is $xx for the fiber? Then you just supply the fiber for the projects.

Redford Phyl said...

Bummer about the fine. Guess the Gov needs it to pay for her husband's staff. And they wonder why people and businesses leave this state.

As to the classes, I agree that materials should be bought from you. I don't know of a shop that doesn't have this policy. And yes, a 5 or 10% discount for materials bought for class might help. I like a bargain as much as the next person, BUT if people don't support the local shops, we won't have them.

Tracey, in MI said...

Seems to me- the class materials bought onsite policy is pretty standard- usually written into the class info.

I agree- that "free or social spins" could be another issue. More leniency there- I think.

However-- they are opportunities to get people into the store- and most people - when surrounded by fiber- buy.

I like the idea of upping the price and including some fiber- seems like a good work around.

I know one thing for sure- you gotta drive slower- regardless;)

historicstitcher said...

I know when I take a class, I fully expect to purchase my materials for it at the host shop. The only exception would be when I am given a materials list in advance, and am supposed to find things on my own. Most classes, however, either include the materials in the fee (thus a higher fee) or have a "shopping moment" to buy what you need.

At least in the classes I've taken.

But, gosh! You're making me feel guilty about bringing my wheel up there and spinning (and shopping and shopping and shopping...) all afternoon!

I'm still petting the silks, by the way...can't get enough of them, and am being VERY disciplined in finishing the Shetland laceweight before starting something new...

Nora's Lu-lu said...

SEEEE!!! Isn't that what I told you on that very night? Yes, hike up the price of the class and... include an amount of material. Beth: I know I tell you what to do all the time. Maybe you are getting too used to it... that you don't believe me? Well, I'm glad to be counted among all the other blog readers. xox