As it may be apparent, I have a slight yarn and fiber addiction. In addition to buying yarn and fiber on a sporadic basis, I have also joined these things called clubs where every month the dyer sends you basically a surprise. I’m in two yarn clubs and three fiber clubs. And a tea club! And these last two months I’ve felt like the mailing and club gods are not smiling on me.
The February shipment for one of the clubs just shipped Thursday. For those of you thinking, “Wait, isn’t that almost April?” yes, yes it is. It is now April and we still haven’t received our yarn. One of the fiber clubs is looking the same – our club shipment came in March, and my order was wrong. The dyer offered to send me a replacement and asked me to send the incorrect braid to someone else, but I never received an address. A week ago she started responding to me again and said my replacement braid would be in the mail after that weekend and she’d let me know who to send the other braid to, but nothing.
More and more I see indie dyers struggling to keep up. They become the next hot thing and there’s a frenzy to buy their yarn or join their club and suddenly they’re in over their heads. Life gets in the way, as it often does, and they start to fall behind. And the mob gathers up their pitchforks and fans divide into two camps.
There are two things that bother me about this. First, the mentality that yarn and fiber are things to collect and hoard and use as currency. I will freely admit that my stash is far larger than I can ever tackle and that I joined these two clubs in part because they are popular indie dyers, and I liked their work. But that leads me to the second thing that bothers me – communication. Though both dyers indicated clubs would be late, communication after that was slow. Which is probably due to the same reasons clubs are late in the first place, but leaves me as a customer with a bad taste in my mouth. If I have to keep scouring Ravelry for posts or emailing for updates I start to lose trust and worry that at some point the dyer is going to get overwhelmed and drop it all and no one will get their yarn or fiber. Yes, it would suck to keep posting week after week that the shipment is still delayed, but I trust those business owners more. I’m willing to support them if I feel like they’ll keep me in the loop.
I think about this a lot in regards to my own business. Yes, my updates are small, but I work 40+ hours a week and still want to have time for me. And it’s been a struggle to find a way to process the yarn that doesn’t put me in physical therapy every week for my shoulder (we are not meant to work at computers all day, and definitely not to come home and warp yarn after). While it may sound like excuses, I feel like all I can do is communicate and be realistic about my limitations – how the customers see it is up to them. It’s hard when you want to please everyone though.
I’m on the fence about these two clubs. I like their work, but I’m disappointed in the club aspect – part of the fun is getting a surprise every month. I know I’d be walking away from two clubs I wouldn’t be able to get into again for a long time if ever and that my departure would change nothing because there are many willing to take my place. But then again, Mark might prefer less influx of yarn and fiber. Maybe I should knit him more socks to distract him….