Sunday, April 29, 2007

I seem to have invested in yarn futures

Destashing has had a few twists I didn't think about. I'm going to start pricing with first class mailing included in the price since it's simpler than folks choosing between first class (which is flat rate across the US) and priority mail (which is more expensive, also flat rate across the US up to 2 pounds, but includes tracking).

Inflation seems to have happened to yarn prices the years since the late 80's that I started buying. I found a plastic box of Tahki Cotton Classic bought in 1998, with the receipt. The prices on the stickers are (slightly) less than $4 per skein, and the receipt is from a 30% off sale. So, if Yarndex has a current MSRP at $5.25, I'm going to make a profit unless I price it at less than $2.75 per skein. So, what's a fair price to ask?

On the other hand, it's hard to tell what the market will bear, particularly in lots of single skeins. The Skacel Merino Lace went handily at $9 per skein plus shipping. The Fa Re Baruffa Cashwool Decatito is not attracting as quick an interest (though the three skeins of gray are sale pending) at $10 per skein. Is it the change of brand? Is it the color? Or does a dollar make a difference?

These are skeins I originally paid $12 - 13 dollars for, so I'm not making any capital gains on the laceweight. On the other hand, since I finally got rid of my credit card debt last year (how much of which was contributed from yarn purchases?), I've been working on establishing a cash reserve, and then retirement savings, which I should have been started on 15 years ago. Money from destashing is earmarked to contribute to that effort. The again, the primary motivation is to have less yarn to move down one and up to flights of stairs and reorganize in the new yarn room this summer.

So far, having the expense of a box of large Tyvek envelopes has kept me from making current money on the first sales (by a few cents), but I'll have cleared the initial expenses with the next sale.

Another issue is taking photos with good color representation. I care somewhat about color on the blog, but I don't go beserk over it. The reds, blues and purples in the collection up on offer have been a bear to get something accurate, while the white, grays and yellows and browns weren't. When it's something for sale I want it reasonably accurate. My camera doesn't seem to have sophisticated white balance control, so this will be something I need to work on.

A third issue is figuring out what I have to offer and how does it compare to what's currently available. Some of the brands (particularly the European ones) don't seem to have websites for reference, and on-line stores aren't carrying them. Some are hand-dyed skeins with no labels. The Blue Faced Leicester 2/28 from the Fleece Artist seems to have changed its put-up from 100 grams in August, 2000 (I remember that trip when I bought it!) to the current 250 gram skein.

After this, I get to move into a different class of yarn. Remember the sock yarn from last fall? On the right are the skeins deemed not suitable for my pink-skinned, strawberry-blonde what's left brother, and on the left are the skeins that were okay for him. All told, it's a lot.

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