There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that this is a growing group, and any store that fails to embrace a new market will come (in general) to regret it. The second, in the case of this particular market, is the morbid but true fact that if Michael's focusses on only the elderly knitter, then the store's demographic will relatively soon simply disappear through attrition. Finally, while small, individually owned stores can rarely challenge large chain stores in out current economic moment, there are exceptions.
Small knitting stores are an example of a success story in terms of being able to challenge large chain stores -- and this has been true precisely because they offer the kinds of yarns, needles, knitting patterns, stitch markers, and knitting groups that appeal to younger knitters and the reasons that they have taken up this centuries-old craft form, transforming both knitting and their own lives in the process.
Implementation and Results
We at ABS Consultants have a number of suggestions for the executives at Michael's that -- we believe -- will allow the company to capitalize on the trend of younger people taking up knitting in a way that will not inly increase the sale of yarns and other knitting supplies but will have positive ripple effects for other product lines. This will occur in two ways: First, bringing young knitters into a store that they might not otherwise frequent will expose them to the store's other products and so are likely to purchase additional products when they visit the store.
The second way in which including products for younger knitters will benefit the store overall can come about through the fact that the company can offer knitting groups for charity projects, supplying both the time and space -- and support from staff -- as well as some free products. Such a practice will no doubt cast a favorable light on the company, which will have a number of general beneficial effects.
The key elements in implementing this trend is -- as suggested above -- to stock the kinds of products that young knitters want. Primary among these products are the kinds of yarn that younger knitters will buy, given that yarn is the first line of products...
It is the yarn -- the weight of the yarn especially -- that determines all of the other products that knitters will buy, including knitting needles and knitting pattern books.
Younger knitters are often interested in organic yarns and other types of yarns that are environmentally sound. This latter type of yarn includes such fibers as bamboo yarn. Not only is bamboo yarn aesthetically pleasing -- it is extremely soft and is easy to work with -- but bamboo is generally a much more environmentally sound fiber than cotton since bamboo requires substantially less water to produce than does cotton. Given that in our ever-more crowded and ever warming world water is an increasingly precious resource, younger, environmentally conscious knitter will be attracted to bamboo yarn.
Other new types of yarn are also likely to appeal to younger knitters. For example, artificial silk yarn (which is made of soy and not of silk at all) is attractive to vegetarian and vegan knitters who may not want to use silk, given that the silk worms are killed in the production of silk. Again, there are also aesthetic attractions to soy silk: It is beautiful and highly lustrous.
Each store must play up the environmental benefits of such yarns (along with other socially conscious benefits of organic wool yarns, for example, and natural dyeing techniques). Paralleling this, stores should offer knitting classes and charity knitting groups that are specifically aimed at younger knitters. Knitting for many young people takes place within the context of social responsibility and stores that wish to capture this market must present knitting as a part of the work of social action.
This should not be a difficult task given the fact that knitting does indeed contain the possibility of doing good in the world. The company can make money by helping others to feel good and do good. Definitely…
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