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Darn Good Yarn Business Growth Secrets on Shopify Masters Podcast!

January 13, 2015

Nicole recently shared her business growth secrets of Darn Good Yarn during her interview with Felix Thea of Shopify Masters.  In the podcast, you’ll find out Nicole’s tips for anyone wanting to turn their hobby into a business and way of life on a bootstrap budget.  Find out about how Nicole started Darn Good Yarn, a triple bottom line business, the tips and tricks she uses to attracted and retain customers, grow her social media audiences, and increase conversion rates!    Enjoy!

Listen on the Shopify Masters site HERE.

Listen on iTunes HERE.

Darn Good Yarn featured in Artists & Makers Magazine!

January 12, 2015

Darn Good Yarn is honored to be featured in the premier issue of Artists & Makers Magazine! You can find Nicole’s thoughts and the Darn Good Yarn story in the “Giving Back” section, along with other features on artists who are giving back to the people and communities around them. Artists and Makers is a new magazine focused on sharing essential information for any artist looking to turn their hobby into a way of life. It’s full of tips on how artists can navigate the business world, advice on how hone their craft, and profiles that highlight of the successes and struggles of living a creative life. You can order a copy here. Thank you Artists & Makers for featuring Darn Good Yarn and Nicole Snow!

Nicole Snow interviewed on SCENE TV

January 8, 2015

Nicole Snow, Darn Good Yarn Founder and President, was interviewed on SCENE TV, a local Schenectady show by host Maya McNulty.  Nicole and Maya chat about the founding, the mission, and the future of Darn Good Yarn.  From the story of the founding of Darn Good Yarn to business advice and how to grow your social following, it’s all there!  Take a look!

2014 – A Darn Good Year for Darn Good Yarn!

December 31, 2014

Wow!  2014 has been a monumental year for Darn Good Yarn!  So many big changes and new products.  We packed in a move, a trip to India, new employees, and the opening of a retail storefront, plus all of the day-to-day tasks of running a small business!  It’s hard to believe it all fit in one year!

Let’s start with a few of our new products.  First, our Suede Ribbon with it’s supple softness makes it perfect for jewelry and embellishments.  Our three new ribbon yarns each have their own unique style. Tie Dyed Gems is full of vibrant, perfect for a new hat or scarf. Zig Zag Ribbon is bold and beautiful and is just begging to be made into something dramatic. Istanbul Sparkle has just the right amount of glitter and is perfect for our new Easy Peasy Chain Scarf.  And we can’t forget our most fun new yarns of the year…the whimsical and amusing Thick and Thin Wool Felt Ball Yarns with and without mirrors!  And don’t be fooled.  A little goes a long way here, and you can make a cowl from one skein or a great shawl from three.  Those round-up our highlights and we can’t wait to bring you more new delights in 2015!

 

With all those yarns, it was getting hard to figure out where to put all of them.  At the beginning of the year, yarn was everywhere in Nicole’s house and it became clear that it was time to move it out.   So, the hunt for a new space began and after months of looking, Nicole finally chose a great space in the Historic Stockade District in Schenectady, NY!  It was close to Mike’s new job and had room for housing all of the yarn for the online business and room for a retail space…more on that later.

With all of that growth, we took on two new employees this year too!  Jessica is our new Community Manager.  You’ll see her in all of our social media outlets, answering your customer inquiries, and writing the blog (oh, hi!  It’s me here!).  She works virtually from her home in northern Virginia.  Amanda is our new Operations Manager.  She works right at DGY headquarters and makes sure your yarn gets to you right when it should, keeps everything in order with the inventory, and is Nicole’s go-to girl for all of the things that you just don’t even think about!  She’s a recent public relations graduate from SUNY Plattsburgh and we’re so glad she’s a part of the team.


After things had settled down with the move, we moved right onto another big event.  Darn Good Yarn went to Stitches East in Hartford, CT!  Nicole, Maggie, Jessica, and Mama Sue (Nicole’s mother-in-law) had a fantastic time interacting with the yarn community, introducing our yarn to so many who had never heard of it, and standing out as the most colorful booth by far!    And now seems like the perfect time to announce that we will be at Stitches West!  That’s right!  February 19-22 in Santa Clara, CA at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  We can’t wait to do it again!

 

After our return from Stitches, it was right on to the next big project…getting the retail store ready to open!  Nicole and Amanda spent days preparing and getting everything in just the right place for the December 4th Grand Opening!  It was a great day for Darn Good Yarn!  In fact, the Mayor of Schenectady declared December 4th to be DARN GOOD YARN DAY!  We were honored, and so happy to celebrate the grand opening with so many local officials!  You can read more about it here.

 

Just a week after the Grand Opening, Nicole headed to India!  It was her first trip to meet in person with the suppliers and producers of our yarns.  It was life-changing, amazing, emotional, and stunning.   Nicole was able to meet up with women that Darn Good Yarn has been able to help with education, and it was so gratifying.  The jobs that Darn Good Yarn provides for these women protect their dignity, are safe, and pay a fair wage that allows them to provide for their family.  We are so proud to be able to bring these yarns to you!  Thank you for sharing in a fantastic year with us!  We’ve said it before and it is so true – we couldn’t do it without you!!!

 

Darn Good Yarn Grand Opening in Schenectady, NY!!!

December 17, 2014

After months of preparation, the Darn Good Yarn Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in Schenectady, NY arrived!!!  It was always part of the plan, once Nicole decided that she had to get the yarn out of her house, that she would make opening a retail store part of that move.  So, when she found a space in Schenectady, NY that had enough room to store the yarn for the online site and have a retail store, it was just the icing on the cake that it was tucked away in Schenectady’s Historic Stockade District.

So, in June, Mike and Nicole packed up their house and all the yarn and moved it to New York!  All that Darn Good Yarn goodness got stashed in a U-Haul and traveled the road between Sebec, ME and Schenectady, NY.  Maggie flew to meet them in NY and lend a hand with the set-up of the yarn storage.  The first order of business – tear down the cubicles that were in the former small office building!  No one could believe how long it took!  Then set up the shelves that would house the boxes that would house the yarn and other delicious DGY goodies.  It had already been a week since the moving had begun and shipping had stopped…it was time for things to get going again!  Maggie left NY and Nicole with shipping ready to start, but the space for the retail site was still full of boxes.

Late in the summer, Darn Good Yarn got an invitation to come to Stitches East, and this turned out to be the perfect prelude to opening the retail site.  Nicole purchased shelving, baskets, and other items that she needed to set up the display at Stitches East.  She then knew she would turn around and use them all to set up the retail site.  The timing was spot on and the chance to multi-task was right up Nicole’s alley!

In mid-October, when we got back from Stitches, Amanda and Nicole started the task of setting up, putting every shelf in exactly the right place and carefully arranging baskets and bowls and filling them with delicious Darn Good Yarn products!  Yarns, ribbons, threads, bags, scarves, purses, and skirts…everything needed just the right place.  Time flew by and before they knew it, it was time to open the doors at 22 N. College Street for the first retail customers!

Last minute tasks and re-arranging happened right up until that 11 am cut-off on December 4, 2014.  Amanda says that everything got rearranged four or five times right before they finally settled.  Scott Oswald, the Chamber Leader, showed up the afternoon before opening to check in on things.  He was a little nervous as he saw Nicole and Amanda still busily rearranging, but everything was in place for the excitement of the ribbon cutting!!!  Schenectady City Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo, Assemblyman Jim Tedesco and Chamber Ambassadors James Dick and Maya McNulty were all in attendance for the celebration.  Assemblyman Tedesco had a good laugh with Nicole over being fired at his first job, just like Nicole was.  Apparently, it is no indicator of success!  After the ceremony, there were more laughs, food and drink, and oohing and awing over all the gorgeous yarn and ready-made items.

Now that the ceremony is over and the store is open for business, please come by and see us if you are in the area!  Hours are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12-5 pm and also by appointment.  Just call the shop at 518-377-1177 or e-mail nicole@darngoodyarn.com to set up a time that will work for you!

 

 

 

 

Fragrance in the Desert by Debbie Fowler

November 18, 2014

Darn Good Yarn is pleased to announce that we will be partnering with author Debbie Fowler to sell her book, Fragrance in the Desert, that raises awareness of human trafficking issues.  Debbie shared a bit about herself, her book, and how she came to find Darn Good Yarn.  Enjoy!

 

Hi!  I’m Debbie Fowler.

Because I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, I am writing here today to share what has profoundly changed my life.    And you may very well wonder what this has to do with fiber, felting, and knitting.

I like all things artsy, crafty, and messy.  My bookshelves will tell you that I want to try it all.  I paint with water color and acrylics and finger paint when the grandkids come.  I know how to crochet, but knitting is still frightening.  There are books on how to write books and make books.  The drawers in my desk are full of pencils and markers, stencils and stickers. Art journaling is fun with crazy collage stuff found in the back yard and using magic markers, colored pencils,  gel pens etc.  I sew.  There are shelves of fabric (the stash) and baskets of yarn and embroidery projects.  My oldest daughter told me several years ago upon surveying the conglomerate of stuff in my craft room that I should focus.  My comment to her was that wouldn’t be any fun and besides, “You kids are out on your own. I can do what I want now!”  I had the best laugh just the other day when she told me her craft room looks like it has ADHD.  Now she gets it!

I live in the country, Galway, NY, on a little over an acre about a 20 minute drive to something going in any direction.  We like it. My husband is an artist of sorts too….his canvas is the yard. It is wonderful!  We have gardens in the front yard and in the back, he is building a pond and there is a fire pit and lots of room for our dog, Milo, to run.  This is where I live, this is where I retreat and feel my home is a refuge to the outside world. It would be so easy to get lost in that world and stay there; however, the passion that accompanied that profound event has a life of its own.

At the end of 2009 I joined my husband for a two year work assignment in the Middle East.  We moved to Kuwait.  Wondering what I was going to do while he worked, I, thankfully, learned of the KTAA.  The Kuwait Textile Arts Association is a non-profit multinational organization which aims to bring together individuals interested in textiles and the fiber arts including appliqué, embroidery, knotting carpets, quilting, silk painting and weaving.  Members include a number of talented decorative artists who hold classes throughout the year.  To me this was the jackpot.  They like and do things I like and there are new things I can learn.  I was invited to the quilt group meeting.  Although I sew, I wasn’t a quilter.  I am proud to say that I am now.

Through this group I learned of a shelter that provided food, housing and protection for abused runaway maids. At that time there were 24 women of all ages from Nepal and 2 from Ghana. I spent two days a week with these women.

This was my culture shock.  Having been awakened to the truths of human trafficking and personally touched by the dear ones who have suffered from this crime, I was profoundly changed.   I made a vow to “my girls” that I will not only do something for their sake, but for their sisters, friends, and children to continue to combat the fight of human trafficking. Thus, I wrote “Fragrance in the Desert”.

My first introduction to Darn Good Yarn came from one of their customers while I was visiting family in Rochester, NY.  Sue stopped in at my sister’s home.  In sharing her love for fiber arts, she revealed this new product regarding recycled saris. The mention of saris had my attention. Very quickly we found that many of our interests overlap and we soon found a common thread.  When she explained they came from Nepal and India, I was beside myself.  I shared the topic of my book and of the women from Nepal. She excitedly told me of DGY and their mission.  And when I found out they were so close in Schenectady, I knew there must be a reason this had come to my attention.

Usually when a connection is made like this, I get chills…I wasn’t disappointed! (something is unfolding)  I read through the web site and blog posts of DGY and was delighted to learn of the business resolve to not only provide quality product, but give dignity to the women of Nepal and India the opportunity to become autonomous and self reliant.  The next chills producing discovery was when reading the bio of Jessica, one of the staff members. She shares of when reading Half the Sky by Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WaDunn in 2011 that her worldview changed and she wants to do something more.  Another “coincidence” ?  I read that book in 2011 as I was flying back to the US after living in Kuwait for two years.

There may be many reasons for this unfolding to have occurred.  I believe, today, it’s to stand together, women helping women, supporting one another and passionately together we will make a difference.

“One person cannot save the world

and solve all its problems.  But many people living in service

to their highest calling will collectively lift the world and create light where it is most needed.

–Christine Mason Miller

In the midst of the horrors I discovered the sweetness of innocents who provided fragrance in the desert.  My eyes have been opened and I am changed forever.

Proceeds in the sales will be donated to Maiti Nepal, an organization that is providing education, prevention, protection, healing to the women in Nepal who have suffered of this exploitation, and other like organizations working together to end modern day slavery!

I am thrilled to learn of others like Darn Good Yarn that share the same passion!

You can contact Debbie via

e-mail:    debbie.fowler@outlook.com

blog:    http://debbiefowlerblog.wordpress.com/

 

VOTE for Nicole on Dream Big America!!

October 17, 2014

Hey Everyone!  This morning Nicole was a contestant on Dream Big America!  It’s a radio show contest highlighting entrepreneurs in the US that have big ideas.  Nicole gave a fabulous two minute pitch about the concept behind Darn Good Yarn and shared our story.  You can listen to the whole show or just Nicole’s pitch HERE.

And now, we need your vote!  Voting started this morning at 9 am ET with the start of the show and will go until next Thursday, October 23 at 5 pm.  If Darn Good Yarn wins this weeks contest, we will advance to the monthly finals where we will compete with the weekly winners from this month.  You can vote right HERE on the main page of Dream Big America.

To read more about this week’s contestants and the Dream Big America program, check out this article in Virtual Strategy Magazine about this week’s show HERE.

Darn Good Yarn at Stitches East!

September 4, 2014

We’ve told you already that Darn Good Yarn is going to be at Stitches East, but maybe you’re thinking, “What is Stitches East?”  Or, maybe you know what it is but you’re wondering what there is to do there.  Well, we’re so excited that we’re going, especially because it will be Darn Good Yarn’s first public vending event, but also because it’s going to be so much fun!  And it will make it even more fun to have our fans there so we hope you can make plans to join us!  We hope you can make it to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut from October 9-12, 2014.

So what is Stitches East all about?  It’s an expo event, meaning the public is invited (this is not a trade show), and it has a few components.  First is the Stitches Market, where there will be several yarn vendors selling, ongoing free demonstrations, daily door prizes, and free knitting and crocheting lessons!  And this is where you can find all of the Darn Good Yarn girls and all of the fabulous Darn Good Yarns…we can’t wait to meet as many of you in person as possible!

Second are the classes.  From seams to cables, weaving to spinning, if you’ve been wanting to learn a certain fiber technique, this is the place to do it!  Take a look here for the full list…there are so many to choose from, but some are already sold out, so hurry and make a selection!

Along with the Stitches Market and classes, there will also be special events including luncheons, fashion shows, dinners, and special presentations and talks!

And if the regular event isn’t enough, stay an extra day for Stitches ETC where there will be more classes and workshops!

Want to find out more or connect with others that are headed to Stitches East?  You can find them at these social media outlets:

Twitter

Ravelry

Facebook

Google Plus


 

 

Darn Good Yarn’s Odd Ball Mystery Clearance and STITCHES East!!!

August 30, 2014

Hey Everyone!

About twice a year Darn Good Yarn clears out all of the odd ball yarn to make room for incoming collections!!!   What this means is HUGE savings for you, from 60% to 75% off!!!  This will be a mystery pack, so for $20, you get 4 skeins of Darn Good Yarn.  That’s crazy right???!!!!  For these discounted price, we are offering true Mystery Packs and you get what you get!!!!   Four delightfully surprising skeins mailed right to you…everyone likes crafty surprises right?!!

Click right HERE to link to DGY’s Odd Ball Mystery Clearance!

In other Darn Good Yarn News, the DGY team is going to be at STITCHES East October 9-12th in Hartford, CT!!!  As you know, DGY is a virtual store and this will be our first big public vending event!!!  So, if you have been wanting to meet the Darn Good Yarn team or see all of our amazing yarns in person, now is your chance!!!!  And we can’t wait to meet you too!!!

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Nicole & Mike’s Top 5 Favorites in Schenectady

August 29, 2014

Nicole and Mike have had a great time exploring the new official Darn Good Yarn city of Schenectady, New York and have found lots of things to love about it….restaurants with scrumptious food, service businesses that are top notch, and areas of the city that a just beautiful to be in and walk around.  If you’re in the area or can come for a visit, here they are in no particular order.

5) Persian Bite

Delicious Iranian Food at great prices!  Everything here is amazing, from the sizzling kebobs to the flavorful wraps to the chewy and warm Persian flatbread.  You can get a wrap that comes with salad and bread for under $5!  Love it!  When Nicole needs a break from sourcing your favorite yarns and great place for some lunch with Mike, she heads over to the Persian Bite.

4) Paul Mitchell School

A girl’s got to look good, but a girl’s also got to stay on a budget.  How does Nicole do both at the same time?  The Paul Mitchell School in Schenectady!  Great prices on all the services you need to keep up your look…haircuts and great styling to go with it, color and highlights, manis and pedis, waxing…you name it, they do it and they do it well.  Even with Nicole’s hard to cut curly hair, she doesn’t come out looking like Rachel from Friends (Remember that hair cut?  It was a good one, but not anymore!), she comes out looking fresh and fabulous!

3) Home Depot

Moving into a new place always comes with a few unexpected home repairs.  So, then move into two places (the store too) and add a few more repairs.  And add onto that a store opening (still working on it…slow, but steady) and you’re going to need the best hardware and home repair store around with a top of the line staff that knows the store in and out and can help you find what you need so you don’t waste your time walking down every aisle.  Enter Home Depot of Schenectady, NY!!!  They are the best with the friendliest and most helpful staff around!   No matter how obscure the item, they can find it for you and they do it with a smile!

2) Mike’s Hot Dogs

Mike’s Hot Dogs takes you back to the good old days with its counter seating where you can enjoy your hot dog while you watch the grill sizzle with more.  It’s been around for over 50 years and these are definitely the best dogs in Schenectady and possibly the best hot dogs in New York!  And Mike’s Hot Dogs doesn’t just do dogs.  They are up at 5 am ready to serve you a breakfast of french toast, omelets, and bacon.  And for lunch can have that delicious dog, a juicy hamburger, or a cup of the soup of the day.  And it’s all melt in your mouth, mmmm, mmmm, good!

1) Darn Good Yarn

Of course it was going to make the list!  How could we not mention it?  Full of the best yarn around and good vibes to go along with it.  Our warehouse is stocked up with all of our goodies…Silk Sari Ribbon Yarn, Nicole is loving the new space in the Stockade Historic District, is proud to be a member of the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce, and can’t wait to connect with more of you!