Friday, April 22, 2011

Shop Handmade: Tangled Yarns

Tangled Yarns is a beautiful little yarn shop in the thriving Newstead area, in Brisbane. We were lucky enough to catch up with Kelly Kingston, the owner of Tangled Yarns, to find out all about her shop and her plans for the future.

Tell us a little about your background and what path led you to open Tangled Yarns?
My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 6 or 7 years old. I dabbled here and there over the years, knitting, sewing, always tinkering with something crafty but the 'bug' truly bit when I was pregnant with my first child.  The nesting instinct kicked in with a vengeance; there is something very special about creating something handmade to wrap your tiny newborn in.

Prior to opening Tangled Yarns I was working in the corporate IT world and as much as I enjoyed my job I felt my creativity was being stifled.  I found that I was squeezing my creative desires in at night when the rest of my family was sleeping. After the birth of my second daughter I had a decision to make, my maternity leave was coming to an end and I was no longer looking forward to returning to my job.

By this stage I had been running a small online store selling my hand dyed yarns and knitting accessories for around a year and it was obvious that that was where my real passion was. After much soul searching I decided to take the leap of faith and turn my online store into a bricks and mortar store.  I had visions of a light, open, peaceful space, filled with colour and plenty of space for like-minded people to meet, socialise, share, learn and create.

Tell us what Tangled Yarns is all about?
If I had to describe Tangled Yarns in one sentence it would be 'An inspiring space where people can purchase high quality yarn and spend time with like-minded yarnies'.

We supply high quality knitting and crochet yarns along with accessories, books, magazines, patterns, needles, hooks and dyes.  I would also like to think that we are a great source of inspiration. We pride ourselves on being more than just a retail store.  We have a very vibrant social community both in store and online.  Our regular social groups of a weekend add an extra element to the store and we are constantly welcoming new crafters to the mix.

As a long time online consumer (going to a large shopping centre with two small children isn't my idea of fun) I understand the importance of speedy turn around times and excellent communication.  We strive to process and ship our online orders the day they are placed and have often shocked customers  when they order online at 4.30pm in the afternoon only for them to wake up with a lovely express parcel on their doorstep the following morning.

Where did the name 'Tangled Yarns' come from?
When I was in the planning stages for Tangled Yarns I knew that I wanted a business name that meant more than just describing what we sell.

For me, knitting is not just creating the end garment.  It is about the entire process from selecting the pattern and the yarn, the excitement of casting on and the thrill of finishing. There is nothing like giving something that you created yourself! And of course when a group of crafters get together the conversation just flows!

So the name Tangled Yarns encompasses the journey of creating something with thought, love and time plus the many stories that are told as the stitches are created. If you ask most knitters about a project they are likely to remember where they were and what they were doing when they were knitting it!

How does Tangled Yarns support independent artists and crafters and/or the handmade community?
Where possible I will choose independent over mainstream.  Although we do stock a small selection of the traditional knitting books and patterns our main resource are small independent designers.  We stock knitting patterns designed by many popular indie designers from the online knitting community and feature many more in our weekly newsletter.

One of our favourite yarns would have to be the Brisbane based Biggan Design yarns with their amazing colour range.  We stock both the 8ply and 4ply range and have designed a blanket to showcase the colours. We also stock handmade knitting bags by an independent designer which are so popular that we can't keep up to the demand.

How can local designers and crafters get involved with Tangled Yarns?
I am always on the lookout for new and interesting products to add to the store.  In the past we have stocked local hand dyed fibre, hand dyed yarns and hand spun yarns.

I also promote any up-coming local craft events that I come across and have had comments from our local customers saying how much they enjoy finding out about craft fairs that they might not have known about otherwise.

Does Tangled Yarns have any exciting upcoming events?
With winter in sight we have many new workshops scheduled to reignite people's love of knitting and crochet.  We have the wonderful Biggan Dups from Biggan Designs holding several workshops over March and April ranging from Continental Knitting to Colourwork.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Every day is a different day at work for me. Because I run my business around my two little girls I tend to multi-task a lot. My day starts early, usually with coffee and responding to emails. Several of my suppliers are in the US so sometimes the only way I can 'hold a conversation' with them is to get up and email them at 4am in the morning.

I try to call past the shop to prepare for the day before heading off to do the school drop offs.  Then it is back to the shop to attend to the online orders and admin/bookkeeping side of the business. Depending on the day and what is scheduled for the store we may have social groups or classes to attend to plus assisting a variety of shoppers in store and via our online store.

At this time of year I spend a reasonable amount of time ordering yarn.  It may sound like a dream job but it can be difficult not to get side-tracked by the pretty colours and remain subjective when selecting what to order!

A lot of planning also goes into my weekly newsletter which over the past two years has become a very large part of Tangled Yarns and our customers.  I have received many wonderful emails on a Friday evening after the newsletter goes out; it seems that it is just not a Friday until the Tangled Yarns newsletter is out. During the week I can take up anywhere from 200-400 photos that I edit and prepare for either the website or the newsletter.

I leave the store mid afternoon to pick up my girls from school and head home. Although I have left the store I am always on the end of my email and remain in contact with my staff.  I am certainly very lucky to have a wonderful team of staff that I can leave in charge while I go home and look after my family.

Once the domestic duties are done and my children are asleep I am back online researching new products, responding to more emails or knitting and crocheting projects for the shop. The days are well and truly full to the brim but I know just how lucky I am to be doing something that I am so passionate about!

How do you promote Tangled Yarns?
Our best form of advertising is word of mouth.  Our high standard of customer service and product knowledge means that our customers leave happy and spread the word. We also advertise on Ravelry with both banner advertising and through our Tangled Yarns group.

By far our best advertising is our weekly newsletter where we update with our latest shipments, launch monthly Knit-A-Longs, classes and workshops.  We receive wonderful feedback from our newsletter subscribers.

What is your favourite item in the shop at the moment?
This can change almost daily with new stock arriving in store often.  However, a long term favourite is our Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece range. I have recently finished a blanket for my 5yr olds bed.....

What's in store for Tangled Yarns in 2011 and beyond?
This month we have celebrated our 2nd birthday!  I hope to continue to offer exceptional customer service, support and inspiration whilst providing an interesting range of products to the crafty community.

If you would like to visit Tangled Yarns you can find the store at:

Studio A / 9 Chester Street
Newstead  QLD  4006

Tel: (07) 3666 0276

Opening Hours:
Monday to Wednesday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Thursday 9.30am - 8.00pm
Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday 9.00am - 4.00pm
Sunday 10.00am - 2.00pm



Eliza said...

That is just such an insirering story! LOVE the beautiful rugs!

Hot Fudge said...

I agree with Eliza - this is a truly inspiring story. I stumbled across this lovely store a couple of months back purely by accident. We were filling in time before a movie session and this shop appeared like a vision out of Brigadoon. I can assure you that it is a stunningly beautiful place to spend the idle hour or so.

Anonymous said...

Now that I have discovered your shop via brisstyle I can't wait to visit. I got back into my knitting when I had to undergo chemo a couple of years ago. To me it us relaxing and calming, a great way to zone out from any difficulties. My bit of therapy! Will see you soon!

littlechrissy said...

Those rugs are incredible. Must sign up for a crochet class.

Bin Hire Melbourne said...

Nice yarn art.