What made you decide to go into the yarn business and why luxury yarns in particular? Were you scared that you wouldn’t make it and end up starving on the street like a Dickensian heroine? Are you uncertain of the future of luxury yarns in the present economic climate?
When I first started, you couldn’t really get luxury hand dyed yarns in Britain. I was very inspired by Axelle de Sauveterre, I wanted to be her! No, I’ve never been scared that the business wouldn’t support us. I built it up very gradually, and it feels pretty solid. And in the present economic climate, hobby based businesses tend to flourish, as people stay home more than going out, and little luxuries don’t cost much, but make you feel better. Plus, I have the theory that if you have good business ethics, and treat your customers really well, you’ll alays be ok.
Why aren’t there more pictures and stories about your cats on your blog?
Have you thought about expanding your business into a commercial enterprise? I’m not talking Cariad here, I’m talking about the actual Posh Yarns, you could make so many more skeins and not get as many angry emails about everything being sold out. Or is the exclusivity and tooth-and-nail sales updates something you rely on, always leaving them wanting more?
I don’t know, I suppose that I want to keep the cosy feel of Posh Yarn. We have expanded a tiny bit, taking on staff to help with certain jobs, but there is so much of the business that I want to continue doing myself. And I like the fact that I know lots of our customers really well. I think that any bigger than this, and we would start to lose the friendly feel of Posh Yarn. I’m quite happy with things the way they are.
Do you do other needlework? You very rarely post about your knitting projects.
I know, I’m very lax in that regard. I am knitting, I promise! But I’m such a slow knitter that there rarely seems to be anything to show you. And no, I don’t do any other kind of needlework. Just because I haven’t the time.
What kind of literature do you enjoy? What’s your opinion on knitting chick lit?
I like older fiction, from the 1920s-50s. Preferably frothy, witty, lightweight stuff. Or a good whodunnit. I don’t really enjoy modern writers, and I’m not keen on chick lit of any description. It always seems so predictable.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve done (related to knitting and yarn, this is a family show :P)? Have you ever filled a bath with Posh and just rolled around in it? A cashmere jaccuzzi?
Lol. I’m not a very wild person! I did rip into a sack of cashmere yarn once with a pair of scissors, and accidentally cut through about ten skeins, which had to be thrown out. But that was more an occasion that made me wild, rather than me being wild!
Do you like to cook/bake and if so what’s your favorite recipe? If not, what’s your favorite thing to munch?
I do, when I have the time for it. I like to make a big pot of soup, and leave it simmering all day. Split pea soup. Mmmm.
How environmentally conscious is your yarn-dying? Does it matter at all to you? Is your business energy- and water-efficient?
We do make efforts to be environmentally conscious, but I wouldn’t claim to be especially green, when I know that there are a lot of businesses out there that do better in this respect than we do. Our dye process results in very little residual chemicals, but what is left is disposed of responsibly. We do all our yarn cooking in a wood fired oven, which also heats the room that dried the yarn (so if your yarn ever smells of woodsmoke, this is why!). And because of the way we dye and set the yarn, we don’t use a lot of water, since the yarn only needs minimal rinsing.
Are you happy with where your business is at the moment? What other plans do you have for Posh?
Yes, very. Or at least, as happy as someone as perfectionist as I am can be. I am on a constant quest to make things better, the yarn, the photos, the service, the speed, the shopping cart system. But then I think that’s the root of any good business, looking for ways to improve. We do have some small plans, the Posh Wash, kits, etc, but basically I aim to keep things the way they are, but always striving to improve what we do.
How are you getting along with your lovely new spinning wheel? Also are you still baking as much as you were a while back?
My spinning has lapsed. Not because I’m not enjoying it, but because the little spare time that I do have is devoted to knitting at the moment. I hope to get back to it though. And baking? Not so much.
I will confess that I do get very very enthusiastic about new things, spend lots and lots of money on expensive equipment and supplies, and then lose interest a little bit. I know some of you will be the same, which is why I’m brave enough to confess this!
Has your favourite colour changed from when you were a child? Do colours come into favour and then go out? Do you have colour phases – and if so do they link to seasons and/or mood?
No, my favourite colour was, and still is, red. You know the shiny red pencils we used to have at school? That glorious blood red. Mmmmm. And I am very partial to greens, lovely mossy greens. As far as the business goes, we try to give as wide a variety of colours and shades as possible, to suit everyone. But you will notice that there will be some that are more seasonal, such as the warm oranges and browns in autumn.
You recently asked about tv shows as you hadn’t had a tv for a while and were thinking about watching stuff again. What gems did you uncover?
Masterchef, Scrubs, America’s Next Top Model, Grand Designs, lots of nature programmes, Big Bang Theory, Samantha Who, House.
Thank you everyone for your questions. And, when I get the chance, I’m going to do some Spring/Summer fashion picks.