Thursday, August 30, 2007

And August Gets One...

Well, at least there'll be one post for August . . .
OK, the fair did me in. Too many late nights, too many people, too much talking . . . and I came down with that bug. Yes, THAT bug. It knocked me out for a week, and left me coughing hard for another (still coughing, but not so bad now). You'd think that would have given me lots of time to blog. But that would have required the ability to think coherently. So, no blogging until now.

And now, I have a real bone to pick with one of my vendors. Names will not be revealed, but they'll know who they are. Yarn manufacturers hire representatives (reps) to take sample books and new patterns/products to yarn shops to convince the shop owner/buyer to stock their products. These are basically independent contractors who have to cover all their own travel expenses, and hope they make it back in commissions.

Now, in Alaska, we don't see many yarn reps. In fact, until just over two years ago, I hadn't seen one up here. But this really nice yarn rep told her manufacturers that she would love to rep them in Alaska because, basically, she likes Alaska, and this would give her a good reason to fly up twice a year. And except for the fall when she came down with pneumonia (poor dear), that's exactly what she's done - lugging lots of "excess" luggage filled with yarn, button, fiber and fabric samples, as well as copies of all the new patterns and such (only the airlines think the luggage is excessive, btw).

Well, we just got word that, as of Oct. 22, she will no longer rep products for a particular vendor (you know who you are). I'm not sure why they think they don't need her. I just e-mailed them this morning to find out what they have to say for themselves. (I'll let you know what, if any, response I get.)

Perhaps they have forgotten how much their sales depend on us shop owners actually seeing and feeling the yarns, etc. And not just a little cut strand, but a knitted swatch and a full skein of the yarn. Or perhaps they haven't realized just how expensive it is for Alaskan shop owners to travel to trade shows. Sure, I can spend $800 to fly to Long Beach (or Columbus, or San Diego), and fork over the same for a hotel room. But that really cuts into the yarn buying budget.

Now, the good news is that this particular rep, like most others, reps several other companies, so we'll still be seeing her at least this November. And hopefully, she'll still be able to meet expenses and keep coming up twice a year. Who knows? Maybe another company will contract her services, and we'll see some completely new yarns up here. Still, I'm kind of anxious to see what this particular vendor says about dropping this rep. I sure hope it isn't a trend.

**Update: Just heard back from the vendor. This is apparently "part of a periodic review we make of all territories." Let's hope the changes they announce "very soon" will be good ones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for your support. I love Alaska, although, before my first sales trip up to you 3 years ago in Oct., I had never been there. My Dad, who died a year later, and my Mom took a cruise and fell in love with this place, so I had to find a way to go. Now, whenever I come up, I have a hard time coming home - sorry B and my kids, but I do. We hope to move up sometime in the future. Love you all, ERF