Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stitches South, the third

So, while I am swatching madly on the machine I thought more yarn would be a nice distraction. But before that, I am going to take a moment to share a few observations regarding vendors.

This is the first fiber expo I have attended, but it is hardly the first time I have experienced this format. I have been to dealer's rooms at SciFi and anime conventions, and even been through the halls of swag at professional venues. I was surprised at some of what I encountered at Stitches.

The setup of your booth should not be so packed with stuff it blockades the customer from actually entering and continuing to browse. It should be inviting. If all you did was sit hidden and dejected in the rear of a booth like this, it is no surprise you did not do well.

If there are two people working a booth, one of them should excuse themselves from the non buying chatty customer who is only seeking attention to help the new customer who has been seriously trying to catch someone's attention BEFORE she leaves the booth. Following after me as I walk away and asking if there was something I needed help with after I wasted 10 minutes of my time trying to catch someones' eye will always result is me telling you, no, I didn't need help. You have lost a sale. I will find what I need somewhere else, because I can, even if it was your display that sold me on the item. You have lost my business.

I was also surprised at the amount of snarking I overheard from other vendors, loudly telling customers why not to shop at another particular booth. If I am not trying to eavesdrop and still hear you, I might ultimately take your advice, but I add your booth to the list as well. Except for ease of availability, there was nothing there I couldn't find somewhere else. People, this is the 21st century. Thanks to the internet, the world is my LYS.

Lastly (and I'll mention that although I did not patronize the booths I am referring to above I did eventually buy something from these last although they came close) if you are dealing in limited unrepeatable colorways, you might want to be more up front about it. I asked if there was a kit in the color of the model. I was simply told no. Then I asked if there would be anymore in the future. Again, the no. Then I had a question regarding a pattern, which I was told was not available separately outside of a kit that didn't come in any of the colorways I was interested in. Could I get any of what I wanted and they repeatedly did not have later from a website or something? I'm happy to do that. No. Were they trying to run me off?

The disturbing thing about the array of vendors at Stitches was that there were a larger number of negative experiences than I have ever come across before. I don't know if anyone else found this, but I sure did.

Excellent vendors did abound, though and they got my money. Boy did they. Aside from Gryphon, I dropped a bit of cash at Tess Designer Yarns. I did not merely buy yarn there, I bought the night itself...

There is no way I will ever get this color to photograph just right, so I'm not going to try. It just looks like the sky at night where there is no moon, just a few clouds glowing somehow. I love it. I'd better, I bought lots.

Next is the totally fun Zauberball

which is a really long change color shifting yarn. In Germany you can even get Zauberball Crazy, but those are not yet here. I have one Crazy coming from Germany at some point. I like the idea of color changes long enough to still use complicated stitch patterns and not obscure either the pattern or the colors.

There's more, but this will be it for now. Friday I should have a tutorial of sorts on machine knitting for you, right now it's back to swatching for me!


evilsciencechick said...


The knitting community is large, but it is...*snerk*...closeknit. Meaning that if you are overheard badmouthing someone else, it's likely that someone who knows the person you are badmouthing personally. And won't hesitate sharing that info with friends.

I know at least two vendors lost my AND my friends' business that way.

I didn't experience any problems with people not helping me, but then again, I really didn't need a lot of help.

Big round of applause for Webbs, though, and their lovely, nice, and TOTALLY ENABLING booth employees, who got me to cough up more money for yarn there than anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

I think that running a business and selling to the public may require different skill sets. Clearly the people at some of the booths lacked the second set of skills. If a vendor isn't going to make the effort to be personable and helpful, s/he should hire someone who can or stay home.

Janice in GA said...

I am the most oblivious, least needy customer in the world, so no surprise I really didn't notice snark or bad customer service. But I also missed a lot of other stuff, because I was actually pretty focused on what I wanted and not so much on the whole browsing thing. Of course, now I wish I'd browsed MORE. Oh well, next year.

I will agree that the Webs salespeople were totally evil enablers. (Cone of alpaca/silk, I'm looking at YOU.) They were awesome.

Knit Witch said...

OMG! PLEASSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEE let me know if my booth was one of those - I certainly hope not! I always try to keep a positive air at my booth.

The Chickengoddess said...

Silly Witch, you and Wayne are great, and your booth was inviting, your yarn beautiful and the shopkeepers friendly. I hope you did well!

turtlegirl76 said...

And let's not forget that the vendors behavior OUTSIDE of the event is just as important. One vendor has lost my business since she showed her ass on Ravelry in regards to this event and the fun activities planned around it.

Jane said...

You are a lot more observant than I am, but then again, if a booth didn't look inviting, I didn't step in. It does seem, however, that there are more unfriendly shop owners than is reasonable. You got some lovely things. I didn't get anything at Tess, but I sure did like their yarns.

Knits4Bears said...

Okay, explain to me why I shouldn't buy a knitting machine... I don't need one, it's just such a magnet for a tech geek like me. These machines fascinate me.
I too looked at the Tess yarn and wish now that I had bought some of the gray black silk. It was bee-yooo-tee-ful!