How we started
When I first arrived in the US, I found myself with lots of time on my hands. Hubby was busy working, kids were in school and I was home with nothing to do. In the evenings, when hubby got home, he would take me out and show me around my new hometown. One day he took me to some craft stores. I was really interested in learning to crochet so we bought some yarns and hooks, and with the help of YouTube, I started learning.
It was great. I had found something to do to past the time and was able to meet people online who shared my passion.
Soon, not only was I crocheting but I was writing my own patterns as well.
One of my contacts told me about a yarn from her native Indonesia. She said I should try it, as it was smooth and very easy to work with. So, we ordered some samples.
What arrived in that first box changed our lives. The colors were so vibrant that even hubby was impressed. There were many shades of blue, red, green, yellow, white and even different shades of grey.
What sold me on the yarns was the softness. Wow! I had never felt such a soft yarn. They were far superior to yarns I had been buying from the local crafts stores.
I posted my new yarns on Facebook and soon people were asking where they could buy them. The samples sold out immediately. After a little wrangling with hubby we agreed to import some more and sell them to the people on Facebook.
Now, this was not our first-time importing products for sale. We also had my sister send me a collection of Abaca bags (handbags made from the Abaca plants that are native to the Philippines). By this time, I had discovered craft fairs and was crocheting items to sell along with the Abaca bags now in our basement. If you look at some of our earlier blog post, you can see pictures of our booth with the Abaca bags and my hand crocheted items.
After making a few sales via Facebook and PayPal, hubby decided to create Lyn’s Crafts website and order more yarn.
Rough but promising start.
We got our Federal Employers ID and Retail license, and in March of 2012, Lyn’s Crafts was born. I am very fortunate that my husband is an IT professional with many years of experience building and working on websites. He worked hard setting up the business and website. My job was to create crochet items for the craft fairs and, since I was home all day while he was at work, take pictures of the yarns and bags for the website.
In the early days our business model was very simple, post something in a Facebook group and watch the traffic flow to our website. In fact, we were so successful that our web hosting company complained that we had too much traffic and would slow our website so that we wouldn’t overwhelm their servers.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, we quickly learned why the import business is rough, especially for a small business. In a word, shipping.
Shipping a 50 to 100-kilogram box from Indonesia to the US east coast is expensive. Very expensive. So expensive, that many times we paid more for the shipping than we did for the yarns themselves. That significantly limited the amount of yarn we could purchase.
Nevertheless, we were committed to our business and so we soldiered on.
Fortunately our vendor is very good, so good in fact, that they even print our labels for us.
Facebook Dries Up
All our marketing had been based on me posting in Facebook groups, people getting excited, and then crushing our website with traffic. Well, all good things must come to an end. One by one, the Facebook groups began to restrict advertising, or even posting that we had yarns for sale. I would go to a group and post about my yarns and next thing you know I am blocked and banned from the group. Other groups would only allow post on certain days and times, and even when you followed all the rules I would still be blocked from posting.
Also around this time, FaceBook changed the rules about post on pages with followers. Basically, they restricted the post to about 5% of the people who follow your page, then give you the option of boosting the post, for a fee. And even then, you still don’t reach everyone that follows your page.
By this time, we had a basement full of Balinese Cotton Yarn, but no way of letting people know what we had. It got so bad that we both stopped actively working on the business. With growing kids and mounting expenses, I decided to get a job and go to school so that I could re-certify as a teacher. Soon I was working two jobs and attending night school. Hubby was very busy at work and so Lyn’s Crafts went idle. We would sell a few yarns or threads from time to time, but not enough to really matter.
Lyn’s Crafts Reborn
Late last year hubby was studying for one of his many technical certifications when he happened upon a software package called WordPress. He was so impressed with the software that he decided to move Lyn’s Crafts from its old software, PrestaShop, to WordPress on the Amazon Cloud. He figured it would help with his studies if he had something to play with. Hence, Lyn’s Crafts had been reborn.
Along with the new site we have tried to expand our offerings to include some of the more popular crochet threads on the market. We now have a US based distributor so shipping, in some cases, is free. This is a far cry from what we paid when shipping from overseas.
So, what about the Yarn?
Now wait, the title of this article is about the best yarn you never heard of, but so far, you haven’t told me much about the actual yarn.
Well, Balinese Cotton Yarn is an excellent quality, mixed blend yarn (80% cotton, 20% polyester) imported directly from Indonesia and shipped to you from the USA. Our most popular size is our Sports Size 2, followed by our Light Worsted Size 3. We tried the worsted weight but didn’t like the quality. We also had some Lace and even size 10 Balinese Cotton Crochet Thread, but the quality would vary, and we didn’t want our customers to be disappointed with their orders so we stuck with the size 2 and 3 yarns.
Here are some examples of home decor’ I created using Balinese Cotton Yarn:
As you can see the colors are very vibrant and you can almost feel the softness.
Our current stock of Balinese Cotton Yarn comes in a wide variety of both solid and variegated colors. We have been asking about gradient colors but, so far, they are not manufacturing those.
So why are they on clearance and being discontinued?
Two reasons. First, as previously mentioned, the cost of shipping from overseas. Second, is that even though our Balinese Cotton Yarn is of excellent quality, we found that our Crochet Threads outsold the yarns almost 2 to 1. People really seemed to love the Monaco Crochet Threads. So recently, we added Aunt Lydia’s, Lizbeth, and Omega threads to the mix, and are always looking for new products to offer.
So, does this mean you will never restock the Balinese Cotton Yarn?
No, it means that we will only stock a limited supply, primarily the size 2 sports yarns, as they seem to be the most popular and best quality.
In this post I gave you a brief history of Lyn’s Crafts along with an summary of the best yarn you never heard of. If you curious about our Balinese Cotton Yarn check out our clearance section and give them a try.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article.
Until next time.