Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Dana The Intern – Week 6 – Whatever happened to Baseball? July 28, 2008

Can I Come Too?

Can I Come Too?

Week 6 at the Knitwhits studio was spent organizing and packing for the Northwest Needle Market in Seattle.  It was difficult deciding what to take, and what not to take.  We only had so much room, and we wanted to make the most of it.  Tina put me in charge of merchandising the room, therefore I had to plan what samples to bring, what props I would need to set the kits up with and what tools I needed in order to display visuals properly.  I was completely stressed out by the time Friday rolled around; I could barely function and pack my personal belongings.  I realized when going through security that my carryon bag contained all of my toiletries.  What an idiot I was thinking I could carry on more than 3 ounces worth of liquid on the plane with me.  Next thing I know I was running through the airport trying to check in my carryon bag, make through security again, in order to catch my flight in 20 minutes.  Needless to say I made it, and I was never so happy to be on that airplane.

Eggs Get Cornered

Eggs Get Cornered

This year the tradeshow was slower than we would have liked it to be. 

(ETA – yes, a lot of the bigger and the regular accounts from that area went to TNNA or are waiting till the season really kicks in to place their orders – we didn’t see the stores from Alaska, Canada and US states further a field such as Utah and Montana that have attended this show in previous years.)
The number of retail shops visiting was just slightly down from the previous year. Customers were definitely there for the cash & carry aspect of the show, so saving themselves some money and were less interested in placing any orders.  I have to wonder if the current price of gas had anything to do with it!  However, we did get some complements on our displays, which leads me to believe I did something right.  One interesting fact regarding this show was that it was all new customers that made the purchases. That speaks volumes for Tina, because interest in her designs continues to generate new accounts.  

Tina and I took some time to do a little exploring while in Seattle, so we journeyed to the Grand Re-opening of the Westfield Mall in Tukwila.  I was amazed to see the number of people shopping, and the line to check out in some of these stores was unreal.  It makes it hard to believe that the recession we are experiencing with our economy is having any negative effect on the consumers in this area.  My favorite discovery was a store called Gilly Hicks.  This is a collection of intimates and loungewear for girls and boys.  It is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch, and I assume they are trying to target males and females in their teens and early 20’s.  As of right now they are 1 of 8 stores to make it into the malls, so they are trying to test the market right now.
(ETA – My favorite was “Buckle” (how cool are these T-shirts?? – I need to get out more.. – and I’m also now in love with Ed Hardy Shirts – but yowza.. pricey…. )

Light the Night Walk

Light the Night Walk

I am extremely excited about our latest promotion we are doing with the Purl Packs.  I am a team captain for the Light the Night Walk in Cleveland in honor of my Mother.  It is a fundraiser that The Leukemia Lymphoma Society puts on for cancer research.  Tina is donating $5 for every Purl Pack that is purchased by retail stores now until the day of the walk on September 27th.  This is a great opportunity to raise money for a great organization, and to reflect on the importance of finding a cure cancer.  I am a huge advocate for promoting this, after seeing what my Mother has gone through being diagnosed with Lymphoma.  If there is one thing I would love to see, it is people not having to suffer from invasive cancer treatments.

My favorite excursion this week in San Francisco was a trip to AT&T Park to watch a Giants game.  Aaron and I spent Thursday at the stadium, and then took a long walk to North Beach.  Of course I was exhausted after the long trudge through the city, when reached a local park we took a much needed nap in the sun.  I have to say was not impressed with the Giant’s stadium.  I felt as if I was at a carnival with all of the commercialized interruptions throughout the game.  It seemed as though the fans were more entertained by the trivia games played between innings, and all of the Giants paraphernalia they could buy.  Whatever happened to going to a baseball game and cheering for your home team, or actually watching the game?!?

PacBell Park

PacBell Park

Advertisements
 

Dana The Intern – Week 5 – Many Hills to Climb.. July 22, 2008

Filed under: Dana The Intern,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 8:05 pm

How do you sell a new idea to your customer, and what actions do you take in order for people to understand what you are promoting?  When I leave here in 3 weeks I want to feel as though I came up with or assisted in creating a marketing strategy that worked.  I think Purl Packs is a great idea for our wholesale customers to restock on their patterns quickly and painlessly. 

“How easy it is to go to the website, click on the pattern pack you want, and instantly you have 18 patterns arriving at your shop in a few days.  The Purl Packs only consist of new patterns or our best sellers, so we know they will sell fast once they are on the shelves.  What a great way to sell yarn as well!  Pair your favorite skeins of yarn with a great Knitwhits pattern, and you will be reordering yarn in no time.”

For the past two weeks I have been tossing ideas around on how to promote Purl Packs.  I have to do more than send monthly newsletters that talk about these pattern packs.  This is just one challenge I am struggling with, where I have to think outside the box. 

Creating a company around a concept, and trying to make a go of it, requires you to think outside the box.  The hardest part I have learned about running your own business is that there is a lot of trial and error.  You have to be mentally prepared to realize some of your best ideas may fail, and you have start all over again with new ones.  You never know what will work until you try to make it work.  Sometimes I think to myself, what keeps Tina going?  You have to have a passion for what you do, and her passion is design and knitting.

Tina and I will be in Seattle this weekend for the Northwest Needle Market.  This is my first “working” trade show, and I am anxious to see the outcome.  We spent time planning out what products we need to take, hoping to have the right mix that will all sell so we don’t have to bring it back.  I asked Tina several times “How do we know it will sell”?  She would say “You don’t, you just have to try an educated guess and hope that it will”. (Yup.. I pretty much operate on a wing and a prayer! 🙂 ) We know we want to bring some of the best sellers, but we also want to showcase the new products too.

The View from the Hill

The View from the Hill

This past week Aaron to me to the Legion of Honor, a fantastic art museum in San Francisco.  They had several pieces by August Rodin, and some other highlights were seeing paintings by Monet and Picasso.  After the museum, Aaron needed some stimulation so we went to Buena Vista Park.  We walked to the top of the hill to see a beautiful view of the city.  It took me a while to catch up to him as we hiked up the hill, he had to stop a few times and wait for me. 

Waiting for me at the top of Mt Everest

Waiting for me at the top of Mt Everest

I swear it felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest!  I am so glad he made me do it, because the view of the city was spectacular!  That night I was exhausted, needless to say I hit the couch when I got home.

I also got to experience the great shopping in the city on Sunday.  My friend Allegra took me to Westfield in San Francisco, and we ventured to some great stores around Union Square.  Some of my favorite stores were Barney’s, Bloomingdales, and Zara!  We were gone for 9 hours, and my legs and feet were numb when I got home.  That is one of my most memorable shopping experiences I have had, and I think everyone should endure that once in their lifetime!

I had a great week 5 at the Knitwhits studio and in the Bay Area!  It is sad to realize this will all be coming to an end soon, but my memories will last me a lifetime.

 

A Day without Limping July 19, 2008

Marisa

Marisa

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, having deferred blogging to Dana.

Things are humming along, the new sweater patterns have been a big hit, i’m kicking myself that I didn’t move into doing sweaters earlier, but there is a time and place for everything.. I wear my Raffaela Sweater a lot, and get tons of compliments on it – always nice!

I’ve finished Marisa, actually I finished it on the plane ride back from TNNA, or something close to that, don’t remember exactly. Now that is being test-knitted by some wonderful Ravelers.. and so far so good, I wear that one a fair amount too, even though the colors are a far cry from what I would normally wear, I actually really like this one!

shrug

shrug

Now I’m working on a fourth Noro design, and have a fifth down on paper, with the yarn in a bag ready to go.. I have even a 6th one in mind after that too.. phew! When am I going to get these all done! I’m mentally onto the next while I’m still working two sweaters behind.. but I guess that’s a good thing.. It’s actually really nice having time to knit (sort of) and something on the needles..

In dog land, it’s my patience that is running out about not being able to walk the dog the time and distance we’ve done until  6 weeks ago..  We are down to 2 or 3 short walks a day, basically out to do her business and around the next block and back one time, and then all of around my building the other 2 times. Not much for an active dog and her human. I’ve successfully cut back on her food intake so she’s not really gained much weight, however modifying my own intake is a little harder and my jeans remind me of it.. solution? Buy larger jeans.. got new super cute jeans at Costco yesterday to accomodate my lack of walking.. there is some kind of backward logic to it.. hey, at least the jeans are still cute, if a size larger than I’m used to buying!

Of course, since it was Costco I also felt the need to get a lifetime supply of Basmati Rice, my new favorite, cooked up with Turmeric, chicken stock and a splash of curry, wow, the best rice I’ve ever made.. or at the very least a tie with my parmesan risotto.. At Costco they are also selling Paneer, Indian Cottage Cheese and just about one of my favorites.. who can resist fried cheese? They also have a coconut curry, so I make my own rather odd version of Mutter Paneer, with the cheese, coconut curry, and veggies with my super-duper basmati rice.. guess what’s on the stove right now? 😉

super

super

Freia has been going into the vet once a week for the last month for a shot of Legend and Adequan, one is an anti-inflammatory, the other acts as a supplement. I’ve also been giving her Glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin and I don’t know what else. The supplement dosages are probably on the lower side, but since the Adequan is similar from what I understand to the glucosamine/chondroitin combo, I don’t know.. I don’t want to overdo it.. but I will say, she’s ever so very slowly seeming to improve. If we cross paths with Kona, our neighbor’s dog, she will of course try to play and previously this would send her into a bout of severe limping, but now it has no residual effect on her, though I do still restrict her from getting too excited around Kona – I have to let them at least nuzzle a bit as it’s really the only other doggie contact she’s getting right now. When she walks, the limp is 98% invisible, and I only notice it as my eye is trained to it, to anyone watching her, they’d never guess she had any trouble. The only time I do see it is when she is standing still, then her back leg is not fully weighted, she is ever so slightly favoring it. I’ve read that’s the last thing to come back.

We are at shots every other week for the next six weeks. She no longer looks like a case for surgery, at least visibly, though I’m very much aware that she is still far from healed. I’m fairly sure she won’t be off-leash outside of the house until the new year, it’s just too big of a risk to take to set her back to the start, or worse, have it blow entirely to require the surgery. My vet was fine with going with conservative managment for her, with the caveat that the knee may still require surgery one day.. luckily I do understand him, though it’s a major drag for all of us if that ends up being the case, especially since so many dogs will blow out the second knee within months of operating on the first.. I’m hoping for some dramatic advancements in the surgery, maybe even some sort of stem cell therapy for her in the future as opposed to the current “saw the bone in half, rotate it and screw a metal plate in it”.. too harsh… Anyway, the good news is today is the first day where she has shown absolutely no signs of injury, no limping, even weight bearing, it’s been a banner day.. I know tomorrow probably won’t be as good, but if the good times start, and return, hopefully more frequently then we are on the right path..

Next week Dana and I are off to Seattle for a couple of days for the Northwest NeedleMarket show. It’s always a pleasant laid back show, or has been so far! I don’t really need her help, but I figure it will be a good experience for her, and this way I actually get to leave the hotel room rather than be stuck there the whole time. I’ve actually yet to see Seattle itself, since I have to pay a small fortune for doggie daycare while I’m out of town, I rarely take a moment longer than required when I’m away. Maybe this time we’ll leave the hotel for dinner or something.. One thing I’ve definately fallen in love with there is this – the Seattle Airport – isn’t this stunning? I think it’s way cool..

seattle airport terminal

seattle airport terminal

My new favorite show? “The greatest American Dog” Reality TV for Dogs.. OMG, I stumbled on this show last week, I had Freia do the tricks they had to do to be top dog, she would have kicked their butts.. except on the “heel” not her strong point.. and she probably would have growled at the humans too.. but she has potential! Great show, if you are a dog owner, I recommend it – for god-awful reality tv it was actually entertaining, and it’s all the same crazy people that you see at the dog park.. same “my dog is a great dog and would never pick a fight” attitude..  ..they’re everywhere…. Freia can be a real pain, but at least I don’t deny it – well, not all the time!

 

Trials and Dinners – Dana The Intern – Week 4 July 15, 2008

Filed under: Dana The Intern,House and Home,Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 8:08 pm

I cannot believe my internship excursion is half done, and that I will be leaving the Bay area in a few weeks! Week 4 was a week of sharing dinners with friends, being told I look like “Jessica Simpson” by annoying people in a bar, and having Dell tech support employees tell me I need a new operating system for a notebook that is 3 months old!

Believe it or not last week was the first time I spent Monday through Friday at the Knitwhits studio. Between all the traveling I was able to do the past few weeks I never spent a full week here. I was concerned by the end of the week I would run out of work to do, or that Tina and I would be sick of each other, but neither of those happened. This week I spent a lot of time perfecting the Kit Guide Book I was working on from last week. I began organizing the products into categories, downloading the pictures for each kit, and then inputting the items that belong in each kit. I also continued to work on the Pattern of the Week emails. They seem to be generating business and bumping up her web traffic, which is excellent. The theory is that the more people start browsing her website the more likely they will buy products off of it!

Stats

Stats

My goal before I leave Knitwhits is to boost her web traffic by 10% from last year! Hopefully this will be reflected in an increase in sales too. (Tina here.. hmm .. seeing an increase and lots of jumping around from last month.. something’s going on that’s for sure! 🙂 )

We started talking more about reorganizing the studio and went to several stores to get ideas on how to make the studio more effective. We are trying techniques to reduce time on making kits, and being able to see what yarn needs to be reordered instantly. Overall if we can find a solution this will save time and money in the end. And now Tina is introducing me to power tools. Never did I imagine I would be working with those during a Fiber Arts internship! She came up with this great idea to make peg shelves to hang her yarn for easy accessibility. Being the creative person she is, she decided we are going to build them ourselves. (Err.. we are? Nah, you’re the intern.. that’s what you’re here for!) If it were me I would just go to IKEA, and buy something that would do the trick, however Tina told me “In order to get exactly what you want, you create exactly what you want!” We went to Home Depot bought some 2×3 wood, screws, and a saw – we will soon be on our way.

The end of my week became a disaster when my computer crashed. Unfortunately Tina had to see my impatient side, a side of me I hoped she would not have to experience. My computer decided it was not going to connect to internet explorer, because of a family safety feature malfunction. At first I was calm about the situation, however by the end of the day when Dell told me I needed a new operating system I was outraged. Turns out they were too incompetent to research the problem, and decided not to call me back after we got disconnected. Tina took a lot of time trying to help me find a solution; but ultimately my amazing Father was able to figure out the problem (long distance from home!) and walked me through how to fix it. By that night my hair was sticking straight up from me pulling on it all day, but the computer was fixed and I was happy.  

3 gals at Rudy's

3 gals at Rudy's

Later on that week I met a friend of hers, Mia, and the three of us went to dinner at Rudy’s Cant Fail Café. Mia used to work for Tina at the Knitwhits studio, so we swapped stories all evening about living in the Bay area and working for Tina. The food was excellent of course; I have yet to eat a bad meal here. It is a great place to go if you are looking for a casual place to eat, and food on the menu that will please anyone’s appetite.

I spent my free time this week learning how to research information on Ravelry. I joined the PiPN group, and I am hoping to talk with other students about what they have learned so far on their internship. I want to share my experiences as well, and get some ideas of other things we can do before I leave. I think Ravelry is an awesome site to share your interests with others, and promote your products for your business as well.

Mark, Allegra, Aaron and I at Tamarindo

Mark, Allegra, Aaron and I at Tamarindo

Saturday night was another great night of dining and great company. Aaron and I went to dinner with some friends of his, Mark and Allegra, who are two people I always look forward to seeing when I come to the Bay area. We went to a place called The Trappist before dinner for some drinks, and then we had dinner at Tamarindo. This restaurant serves excellent Mexican food along with great margaritas! Poor Mark happened to eat a habanero pepper by accident, and was in some pain throughout dinner, but he did manage to recover from it. I always tell Aaron it is hard to come across great people, and I am fortunate that I have met Mark and Allegra.

I find it fascinating being able to meet all of the people that I have. The Bay area is a great place to talk to people who have a variety of interests and hobbies. One thing I know is not to judge a book by its cover, you can always find something good in everyone. I hope I can pass that trait on to others.

 

Out and About – Dana the Intern – Week 3 July 7, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 7:37 pm

The third week in the Bay Area has been the most adventurous week for me since I have been here. I have discovered many personalities that people have here, and in general I would say it is difficult to pick a friendly person out of the crowd. Growing up in the south it is always expected that the general public, retailers and even strangers are the nicest people you will ever encounter throughout life. Then I migrated to the Midwest, and trying to find someone friendly is like trying to pull a tree stump out of the ground. Now being out in the Bay area the only people that are nice to you are guys who think you’re hot and are trying to ask you out on a date! And trust me when you turn them down their true colors show.

Tina and I went to Costco and had a another great experience there. We were checking out and she was trying to split the tender in order to keep her business purchases separate from her personal ones. She was trying to add it in her head, and the cashier speaks out rudely “First you add then you subtract and you will get your total” I thought to myself what a jerk. If it were me I would never step foot in there again, but Tina informed me that it is the way people are out here and you get used to it. If it was not for Tina being able to make light of the situation it would have ruined my day. (ETA: if the numbskull cashier had rung the transaction through on my business card and my personal card as I had asked him to and have done a hundred times at Costco this wouldn’t have happened – he insisted it was that the machines don’t do that.. uh huh.. not for him apparently.. whatever!)
With it being the 4th of July weekend and with my sister coming into town, I knew it would be a short workweek. I spent most of the time working on making a new Kit book. The book contains a picture of each kit Knitwhits makes and it tells what type of yarn is used, what colors each kit contains, and how much yarn to include. Since I was only in the studio for three days, the majority of my time was focused on that. I do have to say I played more than I worked this week!

In other studio related stuff.. Tina majored in photography in college, and she showed me important things to look for while taking pictures. I have spent some time learning the Photoshop software. It is a very difficult program to learn and will take some time getting used to. Another skill I have been working on sharpening is writing. I have always known I am not the best writer, and I have noticed a lot of my work here requires me to write. I am struggling with how to put my thoughts into words. When you realize that several people will be reading what you have to say in a blog, or reading what you write about in newsletters it needs to be perfect. If it is not it will reflect on the company you are working for.
The highlight of my week was my sister coming to town. She lives in Phoenix and she decided to come and spend the 4th with me. We took a road trip to Monterey Bay for a few days to see her boyfriend. He is down there playing baseball this summer and suggested we come for a visit. The city was amazing! Beaches on the West Coast are incredible! I did end up getting a horrific sun burn, however the time spent with my sister made up for it.
We got back to Emeryville Saturday which gave me some time to show my sister around the Bay area. That night my sister Christy, my friend Aaron, who lives in Oakland, and I, met up with Tina for dinner. We went to one of her favorite restaurants called Picante. It was excellent, probably the best Mexican food I have had here! When we were done eating we went to Naia for some ice cream. They had the most fantastic flavors! Tina got me to try this one called “Horlicks”, which was a miracle because I have to be the pickiest eater around. It tasted like a malt ball, and surprisingly I loved it!

 

I was so glad that Tina was able to meet my sister and my friend Aaron. It meant a lot that she took time out of her busy schedule to meet them. They are both very important people to me. Aaron and I have been friends for several years, and along with Tina, he has helped me out tremendously since I came out to Emeryville.

 

Office Work – Dana the Intern – Week 2 July 1, 2008

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 5:54 pm

My 2nd week at the Knitwhits studio was off to a great start. I think Freia is starting to get used me which is great, because at first I did not think she would ever stop growling when I would walk near her mother! She is an adorable dog and it is amazing how intelligent she is

The first newsletter we sent out was a big success! The blog received more web traffic on that day then there ever had been. I spent a lot of time this week working on the Pattern of the Week emails for our retail customers. (Ed – there are over 75 patterns in the Knitwhits line.. that’s a lot of Pattern of the Week programming..) After a while they start to get tedious and I have to switch gears and work on something else. My big project for the week was creating ideas to put in the wholesale newsletter that goes to the owners of the LYSs that carry or want to carry Knitwhits kits and patterns. I was nervous at first, I wanted to come up with some great marketing ideas, but was afraid that my inexperience would show through. With Tina’s help we were able to come up with two ideas – the Pre-Sale Extravaganza and new Purl Packs!  The Pre-Sale Extravaganza is a concept that the more the shop owner spends the more money they will save.  The Purl Packs are patterns that are purchased in packs and pay no shipping when they are ordered directly from the newsletter.  The patterns that come in packs are new ones and the best sellers.  It took a lot of thinking and collaborating of ideas, but we finally came up with those 2 ideas!

Throughout the week Tina took me around the Bay Area again, and we went to some yarn shops in Oakland. Article Pract was the most fascinating by far.  They had the most amazing yarn selection!  The first skein of yarn Tina showed me was a hand spun/dyed cashmere blend that was $157.00!  (Ed: Tanglewood Yarn Creations) She has very expensive taste, and that is why every kit she creates has the best quality of yarns in them!  I also have now another recommendation for a place to eat in the Bay area, Genova Deli, a fabulous Italian deli that serves great sandwiches.  They also carry any product you would need to make a great Italian dish of your own. 

I’m looking forward to the Northwest Needlemarket Wholesale Show in Seattle at the end of July.  We will be carrying the Purl Packs for purchase, and that will be a great time to stock up and take advantage of the Pre-Sale Extravaganza!  In August I will be helping Tina at Stitches Midwest in Chicago!  I am so excited that she is letting me help.  We will be in Schaumburg Illinois and that is one of my favorite places to go to.  My sister is often out there for work and it is a treat for me to go and visit.  It goes to show how great Tina is to work for!  The Chicago trip is after my internship duties have been fulfilled, however my experience has been great so far!  I am looking forward to times I can help her in the near future. I’m looking forward to the