If you haven't already heard about The Woolly Thistle, then you are in for a real treat. Corinne, the amazing woman behind TWT, brings not only the most beautiful selection of yarns, books and accessories from the UK and beyond to her customers but also an extremely high standard of customer service (something I can personally vouch for!). The love and attention that is put into every order clearly represent Corinne's approach to all aspects of her business, and we are so honoured that she is not only one of our stockists but our distributor for the US. This isn't something we've talked about in a lot of depth, so I'm really excited to hear Corinne's thoughts and motivation for adding distribution to her business model and to be able to share them with you all here. Let's head to New Hampshire to hear more about Corinne and her gorgeous online store!
Q & A With Corinne
Tell us a little about yourself! Where in the world are you?
I am Corinne, and I live in New Hampshire USA with my husband and 2 kids. I was born and grew up in Scotland where my family still live. I've lived in a few different parts of Scotland, but the Highlands are my favorite.
What is your knitting community like?
My friends and work colleagues are my real life knitting community, and of course, I've an active online community of knitters and customers.
Tell us more about 'The Woolly Thistle'! What made you want to open a yarn shop?
The idea of a yarn shop specializing in yarns from the UK hit me hard when I attended EYF in 2016. I spent most of my time in the Vendor Market squishing, sniffing, nuzzling and buying beautiful wool as well as talking to the makers and producers of the yarn. It was clear to me this would be a way I could keep in touch with folks from home while also serving knitters here in the States. It was a good match!
How do you decide what yarns and supplies to stock? What attracts you to a particular product?
I knew right away I wanted to stock Blacker Yarns. They have a beautiful range of ethically sourced and carefully produced yarns that represent the landscapes the yarns come from. Now I continue to stock yarns that have a traceable story and focus on yarns from farmers, small producers, and independent mills. Knowing where the yarn was made is really important, and while I will stock yarns that are spun in countries other than the UK, it is important that this information is disclosed right on the label. I also value and support independent book authors and printers.
What made you want to add Making Stories to the products you sell?
Making Stories have always put their values first and foremost and are completely transparent about wanting to represent a diverse and interesting population. They go to great lengths to have as small a carbon footprint as possible. It is an honour to work with them.
You are not only our stockist but our US distributor! Can you tell our readers exactly what that entails and what made you decide to start distributing publications?
Being the US Distributor of Making Stories Magazine along with a few other select publications is a different lens from retailing in that I take on the financial burden of shipping many books over to the US. I reach out to retailers to engage them and build interest for the book/magazine here in the US. Retailers are able to buy books in quantities that work for them at a reduced price and with less shipping expense rather than paying the more expensive shipping involved in bringing smaller orders in from overseas. It's also a bit better for the environment to have one bigger shipment sent over rather than lots of smaller ones.
Do you have a favourite type of knitting project?
I'm a sweater knitter. I love in-the-round, and bottom-up is fine with me.
What is your favourite making tool?
My Hiya Hiya Sharp needles. I absolutely love them.
What is your favourite making memory?
I share how my knitting story began on my shop website, but perhaps a funny story is when I was on an international flight, and I was knitting on a sweater. I knitted English style back then and didn't know there was any other way to knit. A lovely woman who didn't speak English and who was sitting a couple of rows back and across the aisle from me gestured to see my knitting and then started knitting in what I now know to be Continental. I was blown away at how much more "quiet" and quick her method was. She gave my knitting back to me and urged me to try her method. It felt like there were many eyes on me - and lots of smiles - as I fumbled through a couple of stitches. Eventually, she took my knitting back and knitted on for a good chunk of the flight. When she returned it to me, it was a very strangely shaped sweater front with a long scarf like piece that she had kept knitting back and forth.
What do you do when you knit - watch a movie, read a book, nothing, ...?
I like to catch up on British murder mysteries when I knit of an evening. Otherwise, I'm knitting in the car when waiting for the kids to get out of school.
Anything else you want to share about 'The Woolly Thistle'?
The Woolly Thistle is responsive to customers' wishes so do let us know if there's a yarn you would like TWT to stock. We do our best to have the happiest customers!
Thank you so much Corinne! If you are a stockist in the US and are interested in purchasing our books from The Woolly Thistle (or some of the other lovely books they sell!), head to The Woolly Thistle wholesale website and fill in an application form!