Setting Out on Woolly Wobbly Legs – part two

Last week I shared my experiences of approaching retailers when I first launched The Dartmoor Yarn Company and told you about the two wonderful  shops that first took me on. This week I’m going to finish that story and tell you about the other retailers who’ve had faith in me, those who haven’t.

After my initial success with retailers that I’d shared my ideas with prior to launch, I moved on. Making a cold  approach certainly added to the fear factor, but that was eased as my kits were already selling in Okehampton and my confidence was growing.

The Dartmoor Yarn Company

My first cold approached was to Yarns of Tavistock. I knew Yarns were interested in local yarns and local crafters, so I was on reasonably firm grown. But this didn’t make me any less delighted when they took my wool and kits on.


Now having established stockists in west and north west Dartmoor, I headed east.  From here, things got trickier. Rejection came in different forms. There were straights Nos. There were Nos accompanied by reasons why not, advice on where else to try, and/or what they would be interested in, if I  were to create it in the future. There was also one who loved my kits, said she’d speak to her senior about them being in other branches, then she did a complete U-turn a week later and told me she’d never be able to sell them.

The straight Nos were disappointing. The U-turn woman made me cross -although, of course I didn’t show it – she clearly wasn’t telling me the truth and her blatant self-contradictions were an insult to my intelligence.

The people who took time to talk to me were amazing. They helped me learn so much through how they saw their shops. Although this was different in each case, I could translate it into understanding why some of my straight Nos were straight Nos and which shops not to waste time approaching in the future.

Having failed to find a vendor in East/North East Dartmoor, I was preparing to visit the South and South East of the moor, when an email popped into my inbox. It was from  Cosy Corner Crafts in South Brent asking if they could see my products. Of course I agreed and was rewarded by not just finding another retailer, but discovering a lovely craft shop run by a really lovely lady.


Of course life takes up a lot of time too. It was the end of June by now and I didn’t even attempt to connect to any other retailers before I visited Wool on the Exe at the end of July – which brings me back full circle and just leaves to tell you a bit about Yarns and Cosy Corner Crafts.


Yarns is a lovely shop that has quickly built a happy community of people enjoying their varied workshops, as well as buying  yarn (both local wool and not-so-local) and locally hand made gifts. Sadly for Tavistock, Yarns is on the move. They are in the process of relocating Victoria Square in Holsworthy and will be open there full time from 1st September.

Holsworthy’s gain is definitely Tavistock’s loss! 😦


Cosy Corner Crafts

South Brent is a lovely village with a  real community feel. This wonderful village atmosphere is definitely present in Cosy Corner Crafts, where I experience a warm and friendly welcome, and witnessed not just excellent friendly customer service, but neighbours popping in to borrow tools for DIY!

Cosy Corner Crafts is a real ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of textile  and yarn supplies, plus kits and gifts relating to other creative pursuits. It’s one of those shops where you just keep finding more and more the longer you look.


Today my woolly legs are definitely less wobbly than they were three months ago. I’m so lucky to have my kits and yarn stocked in all the wonderful shops that have taken them on. And, as I said last week, whatever happens from here on in, I’ll always be grateful for the support and encouragement my fledging business received when it set out on it’s woolly wobbly legs.

Thank you to all the lovely retailers and their customers who’ve supported me so far!








31 thoughts on “Setting Out on Woolly Wobbly Legs – part two

  1. This has been great to read Bekki, thanks so much for sharing -well done on your efforts. I can see that the straight no’s would be disappointing but you have certainly persevered. We have connections with Holsworthy so I’ll definetly visit the new shop next time we’re down there (may not be till next year). It will be great to see your kits in the flesh 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. That would be lovely. For me it’s a shame she’s moved as the other two yarn shops in Tavi are pants unless you want squeaky acrylic – or nice fabric. Unfortunately rents are really high in Tavi, so having a shop in a spot with with good footfall is very expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lovely. Hope you find some. Around here there seem to be more good yarn shops appearing and those that weren’t stocking such good yarns are stocking more, because the demand is growing. So hopefully you’ll have something better soon near you too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your hard work, creativity and determination is certainly paying off Bekki ~ throw a pinch of salt over the ‘No’s’, as well as learning why??!….and keep on moving forward! A terrific result so far which I’m sure will get better and better ;-D


  3. I used to work in a wool shop many moons ago. Quick question, were you offering sale or return? The shop will probably double the price you charge and add vat. Would that make them unaffordable? Do they primarily sell inexpensive acrylic yarns? Just some thoughts. And I agree with others, when can we buy your sheep kit? PLEASE. Good luck with your venture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. As I said above I’m now seeing mid September as realistic. Delighted you like the sheep. Yes, I am open to sale or return – providing it’s realistic for me to get it back for a stall without spending 2/3 hours driving to get it – which unfortunately is the time it takes to go to the other side of the moor. One of the things I’ve learned is that some shops just have too high overheads for me to give it to them for them to sell it at a realistic price and me make anything to. And no, I definitely don’t approach shops that primarily sell acrylic – you’re right, they’re definitely not the right place.


  4. It’s exciting to watch your business blooming and I love reading all the encouraging comments too. Hope you manage to be able to sell online too, looks like there’s a demand for it. 🐏🐑🐏🐑🐏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. The on line is on my list, but I keep getting overwhelmed by other stuff 😦 If I could afford to pay someone, I’d definitely just get someone else to sort it. Although I’m feeling like a real slack Alice over the web sales, I’m heartened and delight people are nagging for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great idea, but I’d really like to get the website set up. I have thought about ebay and etsy, but they’ll only slow me setting up a website. It shouldn’t take to long, I’m just having to prioritise dyeing and designing Christmas kits at the moment and domestic stuff just keeps jumping in – like hovering more now Hicks is off his meds – as he’s dust allergic!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this insight into your developing business Bekki, I have read it with much interest. It is so disheartening to feel rejection especially when, as you said, people insult your intelligence with a U-turn, but I’m pleased to hear you have had positive experiences too. Continued good luck with your endeavour. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You have my admiration with your cold calling – the very thought of it fills me with utter fear! Silly, really, as the worst that can happen is that they say ‘No’. Some did, and you’re still here to tell the tale. Sounds like online sales are another avenue to explore, judging by the enthusiastic response on here:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You’re so lovely though, I’m sure people take really easily to you in real life, so it shouldn’t scare you. It’s just the stepping over the threshold of the shop I find scary. I’m not as forceful as I probably should be, but I could talk forever, so at least I don’t dry up. There’s a couple of people I haven’t chased though – and probably should have, because I don’t like to push.

      Yes, I was extremely heartened by the comments asking for web sales. What a lovely lot you all are 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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