Made in Australia, isn’t something I see as much as I’d like on yarn bands. The gorgeous cotton I used in these dishcloths comes from the mills at Bendigo. It’s soft to work with and unmercerised, making it lovely and absorbent for cloths. Many of the cottons coming into the shop are made in China, even from the big overseas brands.
I’m making more of an effort to carry more yarns from Australian distributors. Even though many of their yarns too come in from overseas it is a better choice for our carbon footprint. The shipping is done in large single amounts rather than lots of small shipments. A little more of the profit stays here in Australia too. It also helps keep our distributors here in Australia. Over recent years the industry has lost many of it’s distributors making it harder and harder for small businesses and customers to buy in Australia. The other problem for me is the GST, as a registered business I need to collect it on sales and offset my purchasing GST. When I buy from overseas I have no GST to offset. Although I’m buying GST free so are the online sellers. Many of whom aren’t registered for GST, so don’t collect it. They don’t pay a lease, many don’t pay insurances. They can afford to sell products at less of a mark up and still make a good profit. I on the other hand get, “I can buy that cheaper from X online.” And yes X online is cheaper. And I also get people who have bought needles else where that are faulty and wanting me to replace them. Then there was the lady who wanted to swap with me the yarn she had bought online from someone else because she didn’t like the colour.
The number of people who come into my shop and tell me how lovely it is to see a real yarn shop and then walk out without buying anything while having told me how they bought X brand crochet hooks online for less than I have them for, would make any retailer cry.
Is retail dead? Our manufacturers and distributors are going too. We’re loosing a supply chain not just retail shops.
The reality is I cannot compete on price in a retail bricks and mortar. I need to offer other things of value too, but they need to be tied to being paid. Free advice and service doesn’t pay my bills, as much as I enjoy helping. Unfortunately there are few customers, in my opinion, who feel they should pay for help, even when they have bought their yarn and needles elsewhere. If I refuse to help, I get negative feedback and angry mutterings of how they will not be returning. One woman stomped out of my shop saying she would never return after she came in asking me how to fix a knitting problem with the yarn and needles she had bought elsewhere, I suggested she return to the business that had sold them to her and ask them to help. And every time I say no, I’m waiting for the negative review on social media. Where is the line between customer service and being a free advice service? I try offering paid crochet classes and then someone starts a free one and wants me to donate yarn to support them, after putting on Facebook not to buy the yarn here but to get it from another shop as it’s cheaper. You have to have a pretty thick skin to stay in retail! And you need to focus on your why you started.
Be assured if you have ever made a purchase from me I will give you advice and help. By supporting me you keep me here and I am very grateful. Even when the yarn may not be from here this time.
So I’m going to start writing more patterns and having ads on the blog to develop an extra income stream. Please if you like my patterns, click on an ad or two. I’m going to work on adding value by kitting some patterns up and working out how to sell online again without having to deal with the problems of double selling and inventory control.
I’m not prepared yet to give up on my little shop. I love coming to work each day and the people I meet and the workshops and classes I teach. Part of being a retail owner these days is to be always innovating and looking for solutions.
I wasn’t expecting to write such a huge post! I sort of got carried away. I’m not always a negative Nancy. Generally I’m a pretty happy person, content with her lot. I don’t want a big house (I hate cleaning) I don’t want fancy overseas holidays (I’m scared of flying) and I don’t need a huge bank account (I’d just spend it on the kids and not teach them the value of working for what you want!) From my little shop I want a sense of belonging, a purpose in life and a way of sharing, connecting and make friends. A little profit would be very welcome and I really should move that higher up the list.
Now the good bit…..
Daisy Crochet dishcloth
Yarn : 8 ply cotton Heirloom
Hook 3.5 mm
Australian/ UK terms.
Puff stitch: Yarn over and insert your hook into stitch. Yarn over again and pull up a long loop. (Yarn over and insert your hook into the same stitch/space. Yarn over again and pull up a long loop) two more times. Yarn over and pull through all 7 loops on your hook. Ch 1 to close the Puff Stitch.
Inc: 2 tr in same space
- Rnd round
- Dc double crochet
- Tr treble
- Ch chain
- St stitch
- Slst slip stitch
- Htr half treble
- Dtr double treble
With Colour A
Begin with a Magic ring
Rnd 1: (puff st, ch1) x 8, pull ring tight and slip stitch to top of first puff. (8 puff sts)
Rnd 2: (puff st, 1ch Puff st, 1 ch) into each 1ch sp, slst to top of 1st puff (16 puff sts)
Break and finish Colour A
Join Colour B to any 1 ch sp
Rnd 3: ch3, 1 tr in same sp , inc into each 1 ch sp. around. Slst to 3rd ch ( 32 trebles)
Rnd 4: ch 3, (inc, 1tr) repeat until last st, inc in last stitch, slst to 3rd ch. (48 trebles)
Rnd 5: ch3, tr, inc ( 2 tr, inc ) repeat to end, slst into 3rd ch (64 trebles)
Rnd 6: ch 3, 2 tr, inc ( 3 tr, inc) repeat to end. Slst to 3rd ch (80 sts)
Rnd 7: ch 3 , 3 tr, inc ( 4tr, inc) repeat to end. Slst to 3rd ch (96 tr)
Rnd 8: (dc, 3 htr, 3 tr, 1 dtr, 3dtr into next st, 1 dtr, 3tr, 3 htr) repeat 5 more times. Slst to first dc (108 sts)
Rnd 9: (2 dc, 2 htr, 3 tr (inc, 1tr) 3 times 2tr, 2htr, 1dc) repeat 5 more times slst to first dc (126 sts)
Rnd 10: dc around
Finish Colour B and sew in ends