It’s back with a bang! We’re excited to reignite ‘Yarn Store of the Month’ with the wonderful YAK in Brighton. We’ve put our questions to owner Kate, alongside Eugenie and Charlee, to discover the inspiration behind YAK as well as discuss the knitting landscape in Brighton.
· What was the inspiration for opening YAK?
When I moved to Brighton 9 years ago there were 2 yarn shops but they both closed in quick succession not long after I arrived. So the idea for YAK came about in the classic manner of wanting to fill the void. Before opening I went and talked to as many Brighton knitters and crocheters as I could find and I felt like I had a really good idea of the kind of yarn shop that Brighton needed.
· How popular is knitting/crochet in the Brighton area?
There’s a lot of creative people who live in Brighton ranging from musicians and artists to knitters, crocheters and sewers. The making community is very big and we're lucky enough to be part of the scene.
· Since opening, how far has the business developed?
6 years (7 years online) certainly feels like a long time and looking back at photos of the shop opening it's amazing to see how much has changed. Our range of products has expanded and we have built a community of local makers. Also through our online shop, newsletter and blog we reach people all over the world as far as Japan, Russia and Chile. The most important thing is we still love what we do!
· What is the secret to your success?
Our customers know that we take our knitting and crochet very seriously. We are passionate and really try to provide people with the best of what both crafts have to offer. A lot of research goes into sourcing new products and no decision is taken lightly. We only stock items that we genuinely enjoy knitting/crocheting with so people know they can trust our selection.
· How has HiyaHiya helped your business to flourish?
Good quality needles and hooks are essential to an enjoyable knitting experience. There’s nothing more frustrating than needles that aren’t sharp enough or that catch the yarn at the join between the cable and the tips. Hiya Hiya’s sharp tips allow for more accuracy and speed. Especially when working with finer yarn. They quickly became favourites amongst our customers and helped us raise our profile when we first opened.
· What do you love most about your line of work?
It has to be two things! Learning about fibres and our fabulous customers. The way yarns are made as well as where and how raw materials are produced is endlessly fascinating. This is such a vast topic it feels like there’s always something new to learn. And then of course our customers are so special to us. There is nothing more rewarding than being part of someone's creative process whether that is advising on a project or helping out with a new technique.
· What trends do you see happening in the craft industry in the future?
A lot of knitters and crocheters are environmentally conscious and are now expecting transparency from yarn brands. This is something we observe online but also talking to our customers on a daily basis. We’re seeing brands offering more and more information on how they source their fibres and what steps they take to improve sustainability in their production process. It certainly is a deciding factor when adding a new yarn to our selection. It’s a positive step forward and we’re hoping to see a lot more of that happening in the near future.
· What are your plans for YAK in the future?
More, more, more! This past year has been very challenging but our amazing community has kept us going. We have some exciting stuff in the pipeline including bringing back classes later this year!
Kate, you and YAK are amazing. Keep up the fantastic work.
To check out YAK online, you can Click Here for their website or take a look at their Instagram, or make sure you go and see them in Brighton if you’re local!