You love needlepoint. You stitch many projects. But you don’t live anywhere near a needlepoint shop. That makes you dependent on the Internet to learn about and to buy threads and canvases.
Shops, mostly brick & mortar ones, have created websites to make this easier. But how often do they neglect to include critical information you need to buy from them?
Earlier this week I realized the unhappy answer to this is — all too often.
The stuff you need to know to buy as canvas isn’t much: mesh, design size, type of canvas, and, ideally, designer. The stuff you need to know to buy thread is more, but still not much: manufacturer, thread name, fiber content, color, and skein size.
So why is it too much to ask a shop to put this on their site? I encountered this problem earlier this week when I needed to know the skein amount in a thread. I don’t have this thread on hand at the moment so I couldn’t check my stash. It’s a thread my go to shop (Needle in a Haystack) doesn’t carry so I couldn’t check there (they do include this information and I use it often).
I looked at the manufacturer’s site — not there. I looked at two different shops that are selling this thread on-line — not there. I looked in the book Threads: A Needle Necessity and the thread wasn’t even listed, although it was out at the time. At least they had other threads by the manufacturer there, so I could at least guess at the skein size.
I finally found the information I needed here on this blog.
Why should I have needed to look at four sites and a book to find this stuff?
If I had been buying the thread for my own project I would have picked a different thread. Those shops and the manufacturer would have lost a sale.
This lack of information comes back and bites us as stitchers because we buy the wrong amount of thread.
If the skein size is smaller than you expect, say 8 yards instead of 10, you’ll need to buy 20% more. If you run out and the dye lot changes — tough luck. You end up madly calling every retailer across the country hoping to find those skeins.
If you guess wrong and the skein size is too big, say 28 meters instead of 10, you have just bought 3 times what you needed. That may not be enough to do another project. It may not be a color you use often. You’re stick with extra thread you bought and don’t need.
In both cases the chances are good that you won’t use that thread or that shop again.
This business isn’t so rich with customers that shops and thread manufacturers can afford this. Especially when it takes so little to add this information.
Remember you want people to be happy to buy from you again, to get what they need. Is it too much to ask that you make this easy for them?