Knitting your way out of a crisis

Knitting your way out of a crisis

One of the things I love about being a QuickBooks ProAdvisor® is the amazing business owners I meet. The recent changes to our world have made heroes out of many of them. I’ve loved seeing so many people (not all of them my clients) find ways to skirt the crisis and remain in business.

All day long, accounting fills my brain with numbers. After dwelling on the issues that I’m trying to solve for my clients, I need something to help me empty my head at the end of the day. Some people drink. Some people run. I knit.

I love all the different colors. I love the textures and softness. I love watching something grow in my lap – from a ball of yarn to a wearable scarf, hat, or shawl. I also love buying yarn almost more than I love making things with it.

Before the universal lockdown, I won a raffle basket from Bella Filati Luxury Yarns in Southern Pines, N.C. This was the prize of a yarn crawl – a knitter’s most wonderful event. We had no idea what was about to happen to all of us. Holly Floyd, the owner of this local yarn shop, had no idea either. But the way she dealt with it impressed me and inspired many others.

Holly purchased the shop already in existence about 15 years ago. She had been through some life changes and felt the creative side of her needed a refresh. For all of its existence, this shop had been successful. 100 percent of her sales were in the shop. Her customers drove to the shop, touched the yarn, admired the colors, and made their purchases. It worked extremely well. Holly is outgoing and charming. She loved talking to her customers in person and making each one feel special and appreciated.

Then came COVID-19.

How do you sell yarn when your customers can’t touch it, can’t see the colors, and can’t ask about projects and uses for different types of yarn?

knitting hollySome people might have given up. They might have closed the doors and gone home. Instead, Holly kicked it into high gear. She started a daily video. Her customers could no longer come into her yarn shop, but she could. Every single day, she got up, got dressed, put on her makeup, accessorized herself, and started her camera.  She talked about projects, different types of yarn, knitalongs, and specials. Standing in front of a gorgeous wall of yarn, she talked every day and posted her video on Facebook.

The phone started ringing and her inbox was full. People needed the comfort of their favorite hobby, and Holly found ways to give it to them.

She started offering curbside pickup, home delivery, and mail order. One of her staff updated their website. They started online sales. In-shop knitting socials became Zoom knitting socials. She went through her customer rewards and started calling people who had filled their cards.

Another huge help was a group of peers she belongs to – all boutique-type shops. They bounced ideas off each other and shared experiences to pull through the strange times.

It worked. Now, with mask mandates removed for those vaccinated, things are back to normal. The shop is open. In-house classes have started back up. Overall, the shop was down only about 10 percent during the entire pandemic.

You can’t help but admire the gutsy attitude this lady adopted to get through this pandemic. But, honestly, I think she’s probably pretty gutsy anyway. Thanks, Miss Holly. Thanks for being strong and setting an example for small businesses to follow.

Disclaimer: This business is not a client of mine, but if she were, I’d do her books for yarn!