We thought it might be fun to feature some of the shops across Canada who stock yarns from Estelle. Local yarn shops are the lifeblood of the knitting and crocheting world, and without them, us ‘yarn lovers’ would be in a pretty sorry state. Lots of people whom we have spoken with over the years have dreams of one day owning their own shop, which makes it even more fun to hear about what goes on behind the scenes.
We have compiled some questions for shop owners to answer about all things ‘yarn and retail’. Do you have a question that you would like us to ask? Leave it in the comments below! Have a shop that you would love to see featured? Let us know!
So, without further ado, I present to you Diane Jenner of “Diane’s Creative Elements”, which is based out of Sturgeon Falls, Ontario.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am a mom of 3 adult children, one girl and two boys. I am married, and we moved to Sturgeon Falls from Timmins seventeen years ago. I love small communities, cats, gardening, cooking and knitting.
How long have you been knitting?
I have been knitting on and off since I was approximately 20 years old.
When did you decide to open the shop?
I worked for various provincial government offices all my life- health, housing, natural resources, etc. I got tired of office politics and walked out one day, never looking back. My husband kept suggesting that I open a business. So, with the support of my husband and family, and with the encouragement of our local knitting community, I opened my doors 2 months later – that was September 2009!
What made you decide to open a Shop?
The main reason was because my mother in law and I could never find any good quality yarn, or any other knitting accessories, like needles, stitch markers, buttons, or zippers, etc. We were tired of big box store products and the lack of quality in the yarns.
The second reason is that I always wanted to own my own business. I found that customer service was really declining, and that product knowledge was lacking at big box stores. I also really love working with people.
What is your ‘go-to’ knitting project?
No special projects- I mostly knit with yarns I carry so that customers can see what the yarn looks like made up (hats, cowls, scarves, sweaters etc.) I also find myself working on some special customer requests.
What makes your shop unique?
The friendly environment and knowledgeable service – at my store, you’re treated like family. Also, the extensive variety of yarns, as well as other products such as beads, paints, brushes, canvas, fabric, patterns, sewing and quilting accessories, knitting/crochet needles, patterns and accessories.
What is the breakdown of sales? Yarn versus Fabric versus other materials?
I would say that about 60% of our sales are yarn, 25% fabric, and 15% everything else.
Do you offer classes? Which ones are your most popular?
We offer knitting and crochet classes – both are as popular and in high demand. We also offer more technique specific workshops, such as the Magic Loop; How to sew a garment properly, etc.
We are presently doing a Sampler Afghan to help the students learn various knitting stitches and techniques.
We will soon be offering other classes, such as cross stitching, quilting, sewing and beading.
What is your favourite Estelle Yarn? (Including any yarn that Estelle stocks)
That’s a tough choice – We love them ALL. I wish I could carry all Estelle products! Customers especially like:
i. King Cole Products – Splash, Flash, Cherish, Smooth, Big Value Chunky, Big Value DK, Baby Glitz is also very popular!
ii. Cascade products.
iii. We are slowly introducing more Estelle specific yarns….such as Borgo de Pazzi “Grosso”, Drake.
What do you want people to know about running a Shop?
a. Good quality customer service is imperative!
b. Variety is the “spice” of yarn!
c. Being knowledgeable about the products you carry is SO important!
Anything else you think we should know about you or your shop?
We started with a 600 square foot store, and we have since moved into a 1300 sq foot building which we purchased in February of 2013. We have just finished renovating the basement for storage, as well as classrooms. My husband tries to come in and help regularly, and his yarn knowledge has increased significantly! He is a good helper and the customers really like him – especially the “older” ladies!
Samples!!! We have a few, however, we have a difficult time hanging on to them. As soon as we knit something up, it’s gone! People were disappointed when we told them the samples are not for sale, so we thought “why not?”. We do try to keep the samples as long as possible. However, if someone really wants it, we will sell it to them. We try to make a deal with the customer. We offer them a better price for the sample – in return we keep the sample on display for an additional 2-3 weeks – they are usually very accommodating! This way it gives us more time to make up another one when possible!
Or, if you prefer to contact her the ‘old fashioned’ way, she can be found at:
Diane’s Creative Elements
196 Front Street
Sturgeon Falls, Ontario
(705) 753- 4545
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us Diane!