Knerd Shop: A locally-minded online store.
From the ashes...
Knerd was born in 2009, shortly after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had left my life in the corporate world, acting most recently as Interim CEO and Managing Director in the mortgage industry, to work at my husband's screen printing shop so I could focus on my health and spend more time with my family.
Having been a knitter for 10 years, I decided to expand my craft to help with my ailing dexterity and memory, and to give me the much needed social outlet that I missed from cubicle life. I started frequenting my LYS, and soon all of my needs were fulfilled! My knitting progressed, almost literally through the inspiration of my peers, and I developed some of the most wonderful friendships a gal could ask for!
Soon, my newfound art form (screen printing) melded with my love for yarny things, and I began to create designs that I would print on some cute bags that I'd found. I opened an Etsy store and started selling the bags at my LYS, Stash, but the screen printing shop had now grown from 700-sqft to a full fledged 7,500-sqft production plant and I rarely had the time to devote to Knerd.
In early 2014, we were forced to close our print shop due to an irreparable mechanical failure. I now had this choice: Get another corporate job or see if Knerd could become a full time venture.
I get by with a little help from my friends...
I quickly put together a crowd-funding campaign to get Knerd to TNNA (The National Needlearts Association), which had their biannual buyers market in only two months.
My hustle paid off and I made it, showing up to my booth in the last row of the exhibit hall. I'd made it this far, with little expectations, and was thrilled with the reception I received! By the end of the show, I had more than 25 stores who placed orders!
Without the LYS, where would we sniff yarn, learn new techniques, or make our best friends?
Soon after, I realized that my suppliers could not keep up with my demand, and I started having difficulties maintaining my inventory. I was just one person, relying on distributors who were relying on manufacturers, who didn't know a thing about me or the needs of my customers.
I started compiling feedback from my customers on things they wanted to see in a knitting bag... more men entering the market meant a more unisex style... more experienced knitters needed more room for larger projects... and those of us in the cooler regions need longer handles for carrying our bags over our sweatered shoulders.
Soon, a new Knerd bag was born.
About the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
I entered this grant contest with one goal that would result in many achievements: Get the funding to have my newly designed bags manufactured.
- Manufactured totes means pallets of totes, not the 1-4 boxes that I am currently able to order. This means that I could outsource the screen printing (unfortunately, a favorite part of my job).
- Though I would miss it, outsourcing screen printing means I would have a ready-to-ship inventory. That would allow me to hire regional sales reps so more locally-owned yarn shops could share Knerd with their customers.
- Having Knerd available in more LYSs means more sales for those shops so they can continue to thrive and be the amazing resources that we knitters, crocheters, yarn dyers, designers, and many other artisans rely on for our craft.
I thank you so much for supporting Knerd in it's effort to keep the LYS a fun and welcoming place for us to gather, learn, and share our craft.