Business thoughts

Sometimes, I like to read Sheri’s blog at The Loopy Ewe. I have never ordered anything from this online store, so I cannot speak for their customer service. That being said, I think Sheri’s blog is pretty good and certainly a smart promotional tool for her business. She writes three times a week, gives updates about the online store, provides free patterns, encourages community among her customers, and gives a sense of the woman behind the business. This is a corporate (or in her case, small business) blog grand slam. So many businesses have trouble getting a great blog off the ground, and hers is not only interesting but she also creates demand in her customers. So far, so good.

I don’t generally read comments on her blog, but recently, I read the comments on this post, and I was shocked. People either have no idea how business works or they have become deranged by their desire for yarn and have forgotten basic capitalist principles. Namely, you give someone money. They give you a product. That is it.

[Random, but related aside: For example, at EVERY magazine that I have ever worked at, readers would send mail asking why we had so many ads, and could we reduce the number of ads or, as one letter said, “If you must have ads, could you put them in the back so we don’t have to see them?” C’mon, do the math. Look at the current rates for Glamour: a 1/6th page ad, in black and white, costs $22,010 PER ISSUE. You pay $15/year for a subscription. Glamour is not going to “put all the ads in the back.” If you read the comments on this knitspot post, people are complaining about the same thing in Vogue Knitting–that there are too many ads. Almost ALL magazines–with some exceptions, like Consumer Reports–are advertising supported.]

Anyway. People were outraged, because some fab new German yarn, Wollmeise, quickly sold out within minutes of it being posted. Customers suggested, nay, demanded a limit on the yarn. If people were reselling the yarn, like with those “I am not a plastic bag” bags, then perhaps that would make sense. But if people are just buying it to horde it and stroke it and run around naked with it, then hello! This poor woman runs a business. Her goal is to sell yarn and to turn a profit. Not to make sure everybody gets what they want. People have some kind of weird consumer entitlement, where they feel businesses should be run to make them happy*, not to make a profit.

*Businesses, not, say, health care. Health care is a different issue. But you do not need yarn to live. That is not a right you are entitled to.

Okay, I’m curious about your opinions, and I would love it if you would respond. Obviously, I am biased, but I am open to hearing other opinions.

(1) What is your feeling about advertising in print and online? Do you feel it distracts from the editorial content? Or are you interested in the stuff they offer?

(2) Are there situations where you think items should be limited? Like Hermes Kelly bags, or more to the point of this blog, yarn?

Posted in the Business, Uncategorized at July 29th, 2007. Trackback URI: trackback

4 Responses to “Business thoughts”

  1. July 29th, 2007 at 2:33 pm #ivete

    Great post!

    I actually *LOVE* the ads in the big fashion magazines. Oftentimes the ads are better than the content! (If I see one more article on how to “minimize your wrinkles” or “disguise a tummy” I might puke). I also like the ads in VK and IK, although their general quality is pretty poor so they are definitely less appealing than the content.

    As for limiting how much a person buys, I think that’s ridiculous. I can see why they did it for the “I’m not a plastic bag” bags, but yarn? Why *shouldn’t* I buy 30 balls if I’m willing to pay for them? Until they start handing out ration cards for yarn, I say buy as much as you want!

    Plus, it’s much easier for the business to process fewer big orders than many more small orders . . . I see *no* incentive for the business to limit quantity. The fact that the yarn sold out means it’ll have an even bigger demand next time, so other than dealing with people’s complaining this is a win/win situation for them!

    (full disclosure: I bought none of the yarn you’re talking about and I have no associating with the Loopy Ewe)

  2. July 30th, 2007 at 3:24 pm #Adam

    I agree with you, NYMin. It’s like any in-demand scarce item. From Cabbage Patch Kids to Beanie Babies to Tickle Me Elmos to Nintendo Wiis. Those things are hard to get. Would it be nice if it were easy to get? Sure. But with something as limited-run as hand-dyed self-striping yarn, what are you going to do? Just keep hitting “refresh” throughout the day, people.

    As far as the notion of ads in publications goes—yeah, I’d love it if the New York Times didn’t put big-ass full-page ads in the Friday arts section. I hate having to flip through page after page of crappy movies to find my crossword puzzle. At the same time, I understand that those very ads make it possible that the Times can, oh, I don’t know, print a newspaper that includes a crossword puzzle!

  3. July 31st, 2007 at 7:26 am #Marti

    Wow. I just read those comments and was kind of shocked. There really is an awfully weird consumer-entitlement attitude floating around out there. On the issue of ads, I subscribe to magazines with ads and a magazine with no ads, and I much prefer the ads to the high subscription rates of the ad-free publications. Plus, I kind of like browsing the magazine ads.

  4. August 5th, 2007 at 7:00 am #moknits

    I agree with you. Also, I have to wonder if the limited quantity makes the yarn more coveted. In other words, if there was always an “unlimited” supply on etsy, would all of these people act so quickly to buy? Or would they put it on their wishlist, think it over for a while…

    Good for her, that she makes a yarn that people want so much. And I’m sure that, eventually, everyone who wants some will get them.