Participating in the L.A. County Yarn Crawl for their sixth time with a bright new storefront, Santa Monicas Wildfiber Studio www.wildfiberstudio.com is happy to be open again to in-person customers.
It is challenging competing with online stores. However, as a Los Angeles Yarn Shop we are able to provide customers with our excellent customer service, assistance with knitting and crochet projects, classes, special events and sales. Were also constantly focused on building our community. L.A. County is filled with people who are as passionate about yarn, knitting, crochet and other fiber crafts as we are, shared Seizer and Artinyan.
During the pandemic Seizer and Artinyan, who will be celebrating 8 years in business together in June of 2022, had to funnel the in-store activities into a concentrated online focus in a blink of an eye. With an online shop, classes and private appointments, as well as gift cards available online to purchase, their entrepreneurial thinking and swift changes helped them through the lockdown as they found a way to take care of their own special yarn community.
Now open once again in their retail physical brick and mortar, they are finding the balance of serving their community as both an online and physical retail shop like the other yarn crawl participants, who have also had to change from being in-person shopping only to dual community retailers. Seizer and Artinyan have found that pivoting, adapting and change has been a continuous part of their growing business process as their community keeps on growing ever since taking over The Wildfiber Studio location that has been a staple in Santa Monicas community for two decades.
We in Santa Monica were really restricted to 100% stay at home. We immediately pivoted to shipping and curbside pickup. We also switched to online weekly classes. We also did KALs (knit-alongis a group activity, where hundreds of knitters are working the same pattern at the same time) with our customers, as well as knit nights on Zoom, Seizer explains.
Artinyan adds, Our patrons were 100% behind us and did whatever they could to support our survival during the toughest time of the lockdown. They were all disappointed at not being able to attend in-person events and classes. But they were quick to sign up for virtual events and classes, which is a huge trend. The virtual events helped keep the fiber arts community alive and actually brought people from far away under the same virtual “roof.
While some of L.As yarn shops may have had time to balance their focus and energy during their own quarantine time to create some personal projects, Seizer and Artinyan stayed in the zone with their purposeful focus on their own yarn community as a way of showing their gratitude in taking care of the loyal people who had been patrons of their shop.
We really didn’t have leisure time. We were trying to keep the store going (albeit without customers in the store) and just didn’t have time to create anything new for ourselves. We pivoted to accommodate our community so all our knitters/crocheters/weavers and newbies to the crafts could have inspiration throughout the lockdown. People just wanted something to do with their time, shared Seizer.
While the two Wildfiber Studio owners fulfilled this quarantine need, both are happy to have survived the lockdown. They are looking forward to this years four-day L.A. County Yarn Crawl opportunity to connect to their customers, while keeping their own eyes on the what the event and their participation can mean as they share their hopes and desires for future generations of the Westsides growing yarn family.
All in all, we still prefer and love the in-person events. We continue to tout the benefits of fiber arts with our social media presence and at community events including inviting elementary school classrooms to our shop, as our passion for fiber arts includes the people we see and interact with in our shop. The upcoming annual yarn crawl is really icing on the cake for us. We’re always enthusiastic and passionate about fiber arts, concludes Seizer.
Participating in her eighth L.A. County Yarn Crawl with twenty-two years in business as of 2022, and thirty seven years selling yarn and creating patterns is Brentwoods Jennifer Knits www.jenniferknits.com . Torrance-born Jennifer Wenger-Turchen continuously maintains her lovefest with yarn, by staying committed to her mission of purling with the people, where she finds the most joy. With a clientele from around the globe who know her on a first name basis, for her it is about maintaining relationships within the fiber family shes created and helping to guide them on their own yarn journey. Working tirelessly six days a week to keep up with business doing the pandemic pivot, with only half of the staff, she strived to find the work/life balance for herself and her staff knitting every night as a part of self-care in order to have more to energy to expend to her own yarn community both during and after the shutdown.
Wenger-Turchen explains the reciprocal energy balance, We were closed to the public until June 2021 (only private appointments) and slowed down. I probably would have lost my mind if I didn’t knit and crochet. After opening back up, business for us was booming the last 18 months! We do facetime appointments which increased our local and out-of-state sales. We started do a lot of Instagram stories and people love it! We do a lot of wellness calls (meaning we call clients when we haven’t heard from them in a few months/years) and that is a huge hit! People love to hear from their knit shop – it’s not a sales call! We genuinely care about our clients and their families and the call always leads into “what yarn is new.” We are just starting small in person classes which everyone is super happy about. We are unique in the sense that we do custom patterns and have many of our own exclusive fibers and designs so many new knitters have found us recently both online and in store.
Putting people first is a career-long commitment for Wenger-Turchen who has had loyal clientele for three decades. Priding her store on being one of outreach even before her pandemic wellness calls Jennifer Knits became a safe haven for her customers as a therapeutic kinship for customers recovering from cancer, helping PTSD Veterans and those needing stress-relieving inclusion utilizing fiber arts for healing. She has long-believed that knitting/crocheting is good for ones heart and soul in addition to being an incredible creative outlet that does not discriminate against ones age, looks, weight, talent, ethnicity or gender identity. Being all-inclusive for all people Jennifer Knits welcomes people to celebrate their craft in a safe, kind, and inspiring environment. During COVID, her customers wanted to return the favor in an unexpected way.
We literally have people tell us every day that knitting saved their life these past few months with both new and old clients. We have felt so much love and support during this icky time! Our clients are supportive in ways that words cannot describe – in fact, at the beginning of the shut down some clients just bought huge gift certificates for themselves because they wanted to make sure Jennifer Knits stayed financially healthy. Our clients are the absolute best! exclaims Wenger-Turchen who is overwhelmed with the outpouring of support returning back to her shop.
With the 10th L.A. County Yarn Crawl, Wenger-Turchen is very excited having open doors to try to regain some of that in-person healing community and is excited for the reconnection to her fiber family especially at a time when people need it most.
Our clients are very loyal, we have some that have knit with me for over 30 years. They missed our smiles, our hugs and sitting around our table gossiping and talking about the show 90 Day Fiancé. My team and I think this years crawlers will be so over the moon excited to see all of us and will be so happy for those of us still standing! We think this will be the best crawl to date because people miss the feeling of community that only being in a knit shop can give you.
Both Westside yarn shops are united by this common-thread and it is what loops these three amazing owners of the two women-owned businesses together to join the 15 shops participating https://layarncrawl.org/pages/shops in the L.A. County Yarn Crawl 2022. In addition to the Westside, the 143 mile sprawl also covers the South Bay, Long Beach, Downtown L.A., San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.
The 10th L.A. Yarn Crawl will be bringing a mix of old and new to the event. Returning will be the classic crawl popular passport prize promotion, where each of the fifteen shops will feature a $300 gift basket prize. To enter crawl participants will drop their completed passports with stamps from the Yarn Crawl sprawl of shops visited: https://layarncrawl.org/pages/about-the-la-yarn-crawl Other prize level components will feature general crawl prizes with a certain number of shops visited. In addition to the free patterns given away as a regular feature of the crawl each year, to celebrate the 10th crawl will be a first-time additional Treasure Hunt pattern giveaway in both knit and crochet.
The L.A. County Yarn Crawls group of unique shops are committed toward educating and teaching yarn crafts. The purpose of the event is to create awareness by bringing together the Los Angeles community in the fiber arts all while creating friendships, inspiring creativity, projects, and memories to last a lifetime. For event details, COVID safety protocol and more information on the L.A. County Yarn Crawl 2022 please go to https://layarncrawl.org/ or email layarncrawl ( @ ) gmail dot com For all media interview and photo requests contact event publicist Stacey Kumagai of Media Monster Communications, Inc. at 818.506.8675 mediamonster ( @ ) yahoo dot com