The National Needlearts Association offers learning opportunities specifically for retailers of needlearts products. In my four days in Cleveland, I took six workshops for a total of 15 hours of instruction. Among other things, I learned new ways to enrich your shopping experience, to help you choose the right yarn for your project, to teach you new skills, and to improve my bottom line so I can keep the store going for a long, long time. I learned mathy, businessy things I wasn't confident I could learn, and I think I may even enjoy implementing some of them now.
On Friday the TNNA trade show opened. Before going in, I had just walked out of a workshop that started with the instructor saying, "I'll tell you right now: you all have one-third more product in your store than you should." Talk about a downer just before a big buying opportunity! Ha ha! But I hadn't planned to order a ton of new yarn anyway; my goal for the show portion was to see what else is out there that you might want access to through Yarn It! and items that could fill a few gaps in my inventory.
In total, I put in a conservative (in my opinion) seven orders: four from Canadian wholesalers (three for yarns, one for bags), one from a yarn company we already carry in the store (Malabrigo!), one for more buttons, and one for other knitting-themed items that I think will make great Christmas gifts. Not overdone at all! Phew!
I also met a lot of great people, saw many beautiful hand-knitted garments, enjoyed knitting in public with others doing the same all around me (especially in the classes!), got inspired at every turn, and finished my summer silk top. It was a worthwhile trip, exhausting though it was!
I now have a lot of work ahead of me to put some new things in place—most of which will be behind the scenes but some of which you'll see and will, I hope, reap the benefits of.
Happy knitting, friends! Keep it going—there are many new yarns on the horizon!