Yarn Store of the Month continues visiting many of our favourite yarn stores across the world with the beautiful Yarn Glorious Yarn in Taringa, Australia. We spoke to Susan Wheeler and discussed the inspiration behind the business, as well as the future of knitting in Australia.
What was the inspiration to opening Yarn Glorious Yarn?
I have always knitted and crocheted since I was a very young girl; handcrafts have always been a part of my life. When I was travelling many years ago, I worked in London as a children’s nanny for a few months. The lady that I worked for found out that I could knit and asked me to make her something. She took me to a few stores and I couldn’t believe the variety of yarns. We had nothing like this in Australia. It was the late 70s and early 80s and I thought this is what I wanted to do when I go home – import yarns and open a shop. Of course I came home and got married and had children and it all went on the back burner for many years. I finally realised my dream eight years ago at the age of 54!
How popular is knitting/crochet in the Australia?
It is extremely popular. It’s a myth that people in warm climates don’t knit or crochet. We don’t get the cold snowy winters that some countries do but we do knit all year round, we just do it in air conditioning. There are a number of sheep and wool festivals that have popped up here over the past few years and we also have a number of very talented designers who are recognised worldwide. People here just love to craft for all sorts of reasons.
Since opening, how far has the business developed?
Since opening we have grown in leaps and bounds. I began online only and then after two years opened a bricks and mortar store. When I started it was just me and probably two brands of yarn. Now I have a huge amount of products. I am still a sole operator but have one casual employee.
What is the secret to your success?
I try to be as welcoming as possible in the shop and say hello to everyone who walks in the door. I hope that people regard my shop as a friendly and welcoming place to shop and they want to come back again and again. It’s also important to keep up with trends and what the designers are working with. what is the latest popular yarn, and designer etc.
How has HiyaHiya helped your business to flourish?
HiyaHiya has been great! I can order here in Australia on Monday and I will have the goods by Friday – that is faster than interstate orders here sometimes. The products are wonderful and very affordable to the consumer. Customers love the Sharps and the needle sets. Also the little panda stoppers are very cute and popular.
What do you love most about your line of work?
I do love dealing with the independent yarn companies and seeing what they are coming up with next. I also love it when new stock arrives. Probably the most rewarding thing though has been some of the wonderful lifelong friendships that I have made. Recently it was Support Your Local Yarn Store day and the support truly was amazing!
What trends do you see happening in the craft industry in the future?
Really it could be anything. I have noticed that customers still love the hand dyed yarns but trends have swung back to using solid colours for more colour work. Some of the crochet designs coming out of Europe are amazing and again crochet is becoming more and more popular.
What are your plans for Yarn Glorious Yarn in the future?
This year I have booked several stands to sell our products at interstate craft shows. The first one is this June in Sydney. I had a break last year and I really do miss seeing some of my regular interstate online customers who visit these shows. Also many people from the country visit these shows and they often don’t have a local store anymore. It’s a great way for them to touch and feel yarns and see things like HiyaHiya needles first hand.
You can visit Yarn Glorious Yarn by clicking here.