Saturday, May 23, 2009
When one of our LYS (local yarn shops) offered to host a de-stash sale for anyone who wanted to join in, I knew I had to give it a try. Actually, I had ulterior motives - to buy some different-than-I-already-have yarn inexpensively plus the opportunity to get rid of my extra, unwanted yarn - so this was a great excuse. One woman's yarn trash is another's treasure, right?
Stitching Memories, in Portage, Michigan, is owned by Mary Stillman. She's had a couple previous stash sales in her shop's parking lot. The first one went well, but the second was cancelled due to weather. This time around the weather again was lousy, but we yarnies are a tough bunch, and 30 mph winds plus cold rain didn't slow us down at all. We came ready to deal.
There were 15 tables of de-stashers, and even though the weather scared off buyers, we all sold. Not all were knitters - the Button Lady was there, and there were cross stitchers too. But most of us came for yarn, and there was plenty there - hundreds of skeins of every color and style imaginable.
My own personal game plan was to only buy in the dollar amount of what I actually sold. Great game plan, but it didn't quite happen that way. (What? You're surprised??) Temptations overwhelmed me and I succumbed to the Yarn God, who directed me to several tables of unavoidable wool.
I sorta behaved - I bought wool for a couple of felting projects I've been wanting to try, plus the fun knitting book "One Skein Wonders". I also picked grab bags of novelty yarns to try out - one of the $5 bags has enough yarn to make dozens of baby hats, booties and probably a couple of adult scarves.
Even though the big crowds didn't show, those who came were serious, and many walked out with large bags full of yarn. There were some fantastic bargains - I saw a friend buy four skeins of a buttery yellow mohair for $1 each, and Lopi wool quickly disappeared. There were $1 grab bags that only lasted a few minutes. The Button Lady next to me was selling her colorful handmade polymer clay buttons for just $1 each, any size (okay, so I bought a few, really, just a few . . .).
One of the really lovely things that shop owner Mary Stillman did was to make arrangements for donations from sellers' sales to these three charities: the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, the YWCA Domestic Assault Crisis Program or Portage Community Outreach Center. You could designate the percentage amount of your sales to go to any or all of these charities. I chose the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. The best part is that anyone who donated a portion of their sales received a 20% off coupon to be used in Mary's store.
The local knitting guild sent more than 400 skeins to be sold, and 100% of the proceeds were designated to be split equally among the three charities. At the end of the day they were wheelin' and dealin'. Those ladies didn't want any of that yarn coming back to them, and they offered some super deals. By the end of the day, more than $800 went to charity, courtesy of the de-stashers!
Another nice thing that Mary Stillman did was to make this sale free for sellers. If you needed a table, they were available for only $5. It was an easy sale to participate in - her shop handled all the money and individual sellers didn't have to bother with a cash box or making change. Instead, each buyer was provided with a tab sheet, with purchases filled in by individual sellers. When the buyer was ready to leave, they went to a central check out and paid for all purchases at once.
Before the four hour sale was done, we were all wind-whipped and soaked to the skin, yet I heard no complaints. Sellers made sales under umbrellas, yarn got wet, and great yarn deals were snapped up. As a friend of mine said, "I really needed that sale." She was quite serious. And I felt the same way.