Story and photo by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
“We’re not the center of your universe yet, but we will be,” quips Virginia Bowen, owner of Seattle Yarn (5633 California SW). This global takeover has begun with the launch of Seattle Yarn’s new online store, which offers many of the yarns, needles, hooks and books featured in the store.
Employee Marguerite Lynch (at right in the top photo with Virginia), who created the online venture, says: “We did this because people were requesting it. Our customers would bring their friends and family who were visiting from out of town and who still wanted to be able to shop our store when they went back home.”
Even without advertising, the online shop has been getting orders since its launch three weeks ago.
Virginia maintains that Seattle Yarn has the largest in-store selection of yarn in the city. Though they don’t have their entire stock online yet, they’re working on it, and they have the inventory to supply it. Virginia says for anyone looking for “that last ball of yarn — we have it!” Marguerite adds that their focus is on “being better than the average online yarn shop.” They’re adding items carefully, and listing them clearly and in multiple categories, in order to maintain the ease of navigation and efficiency of the experience. Currently, shipping is free on all online orders.
Asked about the online yarn-shopping experience versus the visual and tactile experience of shopping in the store, Virginia and Marguerite both note that the online store serves people who already know the pattern they’re working with and the type of yarn they’ll need. Or, they’re people who already have favorite types of yarn they keep returning to. However, for those less familiar with various yarns, Marguerite says they may start sending yarn samples out if requested.
To further enhance the selection of yarn in the online store, Marguerite is working with independent local yarn dyers and spinners who typically sell on Etsy, to offer their yarn on Seattle Yarn’s site. “We want to bring in some unusual things” she says: “It will be fun to have yarn from small, cottage-industry designers.”
At the end of the month, Seattle Yarn will be holding a “Knit Night Celebration” with a barbecue to promote the launch of the online store, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their business neighbors, Artistic Framers, and to hold multiple benefits: Gathering school supplies for Tree House for Kids, screening people for the Be The Match Registry with the National Marrow Donor Program, and holding a blood drive for Puget Sound Blood Center. The tents will be set up in the parking lot at 5 pm, Sunday, August 29.
Like the online store, Virginia says this event is for them to “reach out to our customers, friends and relatives” – and in spirit, to those who are now just a click away.
Does your West Seattle store sell online too? (We know, for example, that longtime WSB sponsor Click! Design That Fits does.) Post a comment with the info!