So, I'm a very new Rowan Design Consultant now.
And that means that three days a week, I work in a lovely John Lewis store, surrounded by lovely Rowan yarn. I've got a nice little enclosed area, well lit, with a table and some chairs so people can sit down and talk or look at patterns, or organise yarn for a new project. It really is rather good. And there is a wall of yarn. Literally, an entire wall of cubbyholes - to be arranged, by me, exactly as I like. It is a big store, so we have pretty nearly the entire Rowan range, and that is a lot of yarn.
However one thing that I knew but hadn't really thought about, is that yarn shops have a stockroom. Well, of course they do, I hear you say.
But the corollary of that, of course, is that what you see on the shop floor is not all the stock.
Now, I'm one of those people who, almost always, would rather look around a yarn shop on their own. Sometimes I like to chat, and ask what's new in by way of yarns or patterns - but usually I just like to browse by myself. What I actively don't like, is the assistant coming up to me, and standing right there at my elbow, and asking 'Can I help you?' It makes me feel as if they think I ought to buy something or else move on - it makes me feel as if my browsing isn't welcome.
And I haven't tended to ask for things either - especially if the assistant has previously said 'Can I help you?' and I've said 'No thankyou, I'm just looking.' I prefer to just find what I want, and go to the till.
But yarn shops don't work like that, and now I think about it, it is all very obvious.
But, oh dear - when I think of the number of times I've looked along the shelves of a yarn shop, thought I would like to buy enough of something or other for a particular project - counted what was in the little cubbyhole - and then walked away, because 'the shop didn't have enough of that yarn', and I 'didn't want to bother the assistant' ..... oh, the missed opportunities... the stash that could have been ....... oh the horror!
Because most of the stock is in the stockroom - no, more than that - more like nearly all of the stock. I was supposed to ask the assistant - could I have 10 skeins of such-and-such, please? They were expecting me to ask. Who knew? I didn't, that's for certain. And so I didn't ask.
Maybe I'm just a bit slow - or maybe it's sort of a side effect of sometimes just liking to look at yarn quietly by myself.
Anyway, I'm trying to bear this in mind when people come into the yarn area. Because I want people to feel completely comfortable browsing the shelves by themselves - and equally I want people to feel completely comfortable about asking for help - or indeed asking for yarn.
The intention is to be offering help, but not insisting, not being pushy - and I really hope it won't put people off, the way I've stupidly let myself be put off in the past.