Today’s Limelight features Dawn and Kelly, from Namaste, Inc, a family owned and operated business. I know how much you all love their bags and accessories, because we keep shipping them out and ordering more. (I am such a bag person and I will admit to having a Peacock Laguna, an Eggplant Zuma, and a red Vintage bag from way back when. I love their bags. Seriously, one needs many bags for many projects, right?)
I met Kelly and Dawn at my very first TNNA show, before The Loopy Ewe was even up and running. I happened to walk into the “Sample It” room for retailers and saw that the booth near the doorway was overrun with people. Everyone was grabbing a bag, so I picked one up to look at it and never put it back down! (Good thing, as it was one of the last ones. They sold out of them in less than an hour. Each shop is allowed to purchase one sample and they just flew out of there.) Consequently, we’ve had Namaste bags here since we first opened and it has been fun to watch them expand into different styles and colors along the way. Plus, Kelly and Dawn are two of the nicest people you’d ever want to work with, which is just a great bonus! I know you’ll enjoy learning more about them. (And watch for another big Namaste update here at The Loopy Ewe in about a week.)
Loopy: Hi Dawn and Kelly! You know we can’t seem to get enough of your beautiful bags and accessories. Tell us about your company- how long have you been going, and what made you start it up in the first place?
K & D: WOW!! Thank you so much! We’ve been up & running for a little over 5 years now…time has really flown by. When we went to our first TNNA show we brought our original glass knitting needles and some homemade accessories that we had sewn ourselves. After learning more about the industry and our audience, we recognized a void in the marketplace for handbags and accessories that were stylish, well-priced, and functional for the knitters & crafters in our industry… so we did our best to fill it. We’re family owned and operated and have been since the start. Everybody helps out around here!
Loopy: How do you decide on new styles and new colors? Are you very involved in that process or do you have designers bring you ideas and you pick?
Kelly: Dawn and I design each product from concept to completion (which can be be a LONG process!). Regarding color selections, Dawn & I choose the general palette, but customer requests are very important to us and play a large part in the color selection process. Our most recent color addition, Eggplant was actually “voted in” by Ravelry members. The Ravelry color vote was really fun for us and we hope to do something like that again soon!
Loopy: The Eggplant addition was a great one. It’s hard to keep that color in stock! You have moved from glass needles into mostly bags and accessories at this point. Any plans to add more fun things in the future? (We won’t tell…)
K & D: Of course! We’re constantly brainstorming for new product ideas to add to our line. We listen to the feedback from the needlearts industry…what kind of products customers would like to see, what products they need, and we respond to their call! You can look forward to new products for the June show, but if we told you what they were ahead of time……well, you know the rest ;o) !!
Loopy: Well, it was worth a try. What is the best part of your business? And the not-so-fun part?
K & D:
- working with people we love (family)
- getting to bring “the crew” to work each day. We share Namaste headquarters with our fur & feather friends :o)!!
- having creative control
-connecting with people all over the US and the world daily through our customers.
-chasing bad payers/ collections
-wearing so many hats you’re not sure which one you’ve got on at any given time
Loopy: Your dogs are cute and they must all get along well to be at the same workplace each day. Tell us what you did before you started up Namaste?
Dawn: Believe it or not, I was a pharmaceutical sales representative. A HUGE career change for sure, but I’ve never been happier!!
Kelly: Before doing this, I was working as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. I loved working with the kids and still miss them, but this is a whole new adventure for me!
Loopy: I’m sure those industries miss having you involved, but all of us knitters are sure glad that you made the change. Who are the knitters/crocheters in your family? And how long have you been knitting?
Dawn: My great-grandma, grandma and mom have crocheted some very beautiful pieces, but unfortunately (and I’m not sure why?!?), this family tradition wasn’t passed along to me. As far as knitting goes, Kelly taught me how to knit about 6 years ago (just before Namaste began). I wish I had more free time to knit so I could improve and move on to more advanced projects—I’m basically stuck in the basic/easy category as far as projects go. I have been awed by many of the completed projects I have seen worn and displayed at our trade and craft shows. I could definitely learn a lot from our very talented customers and friends!
Kelly: I’ve been knitting as a basic knitter (with a few dog sweaters mixed in there) for about 6 years. I used to knit a lot more before starting Namaste! My mom and sister can knit basic things too, like scarves and hats and my grandmother is a very talented crocheter.
Loopy: Do you have a favorite thing to knit, when you get the time?
Kelly: Dog sweaters for Lola (because she’s only 2.5 pounds so they knit up fast!), and scarves (hey, it gets chilly in soCal!).
Dawn: Scarves, because I can actually complete them :o), but I would love to find a great dog sweater pattern to give it a go. (That’s not to say that there aren’t any great dog sweater patterns available, just that I haven’t had a chance to look for one. Dog sweater designers, I’m on the search!)
Loopy: With so many different colors and styles of bags in your warehouse, what bag do you use for your own personal knitting projects? I’m sure you completely test out each one before going into production, so maybe you never use the same one? (As someone who loves bags, that would be one of my favorite parts of your job…)
K & D: You’re spot on about testing, Sheri! We’re both using “yet-to-be released” bags right now so we can put their functionality and durability to the test before moving forward with production. And yes, it’s always fun to try new styles!
Loopy: New styles of bags in the works?? Of course you know that you’d have a lot of volunteers for testing bags if you needed them. When you’re not working or knitting/crocheting, are there any other hobbies that you enjoy?
Dawn: Again, I wish there were more time in a day! Hobbies have been on the back-burner for quite some time now, but I really enjoy making photo books, scrapbooking, horseback riding and enjoying pretty much anything that involves the outdoors & sunshine.
Kelly: I like crafting in general- love making holiday decorations, cooking & baking, gardening, traveling, camping and being active outdoors.
Loopy: If you had the time, what would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Dawn: With my husband and kids, enjoying a beautiful day at the beach.
Kelly: Making a big breakfast at home, then taking the dogs and bird for a hike with my husband Clint.
Loopy: The bird goes on hikes, too? How funny! Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer our Limelight questions, you two. Anything else you’d like to add?
K & D: We would like to send a HUGE thank you to you, Sheri—it’s truly always a pleasure. We appreciate you and the fabulous Loopy Groupies more than you could ever know!
We had so much fun with 100 of you in for the weekend! I kept forgetting to get my camera out and take photos, but I’ll share a few that I managed to get. The first to arrive: my friend Janice from Iowa (and all of you Flingers know why I would not do the Fling without her help) and then Claudia and Andreas (Mr. & Mrs. Wollmeise), along with Claudia’s friends Dani and Maria. We went out to dinner at the Japanese Steak House on Wednesday night and here is a picture of Dani, Maria and Janice, waiting for dinner! For our group photo, we almost managed to get everyone in one shot. I took another one on the steps and split it into two parts, but this one turned out better. This is the one and only photo of Claudia, sitting on the floor and hanging on to the sweet knitters next to her to help her through the photo session. She really really does not pose for photos, so I’m glad that she was in this one. Her palms were sweaty after the photo session and I know that she was glad when it was over.)
On Thursday, the knitters arrived! Once again, we overtook the hotel lobby with our registration tables, goody bags, knitting, and cupcakes. (Thank you again for transporting cupcakes, Leslie and Laura!) 14 dozen cupcakes. YUM! Because apparently we had not had enough sugar in the afternoon cupcakes, we had our opening night Dessert Reception on Thursday night. The hotel catering makes amazing desserts. The leftovers came to Loopy Central to keep the Elves happy the next day. (They did a wonderful job with all of the shoppers we had in and out of here on Friday and Saturday.)
On Friday, we started in on classes with Wendy, Cookie, and Anne. It was fun to have Cookie and Wendy both here the same month that their books came out. I know I’ve gone on and on about their books, but they really are great sock pattern books. Cookie’s has cuff down patterns and Wendy’s has toe up patterns. You need them both! Wendy and Cookie did a lot of book signing. Anne continues to come out with several new patterns every single month. I have no idea how she does it. We have more new ones from her going up in this week’s Sneak Up. ( Anne gave me one of her shawls on Sunday. I am beyond thrilled to have an Anne-knit shawl, and it’s gorgeous! Made out of Fleece Artist.)
More cute shawls! Leslie is wearing another Anne-design (I think Wing-O-the-Moth – right, Leslie?, out of Wollmeise) and the beautiful shawl pin is from this etsy shop. I might’ve ordered myself one this morning already. Cute earrings on that site, too. Sam is posing with Allen (of Numma Numma fame) in the “Shawl That Jazz” design that she came up with. You can find it on Ravelry here (or here, if you’re not on Ravelry.) We all wanted to make it, after seeing it in person. Very easy garter stitch with a fun ruffle along the bottom.
In addition to classes, we also had trips to Loopy Central going on during the day on Friday and Saturday. You know we share a parking lot with a Montessori daycare center, right? They stood and dropped their jaws when the Sheraton Shuttle buses started pulling in and Loopies started streaming off the buses. Sheraton buses in our parking lot are very unusual. The Title Companies and Sleep Center just aren’t a big draw for visitors…. Web Guy and Knitting Daughter came home from college for the weekend. They liked meeting everyone!
Knitting Daughter helped with Registration and shoppers, and Web Guy did a lot of the checking out. I took the third picture just in case you were wondering how many people can fit in the “Sit and Knit” area at one time. Lots. They sat there looking over their purchases, seeing things that others bought, and knitting, while we finished checkouts for everyone else and waited for the shuttle buses to return. (The shuttle bus drivers were slightly amused by all of us. I can only imagine the conversations at their dinner tables that night.)
We had people sitting and knitting and spinning all day and night. (Next year – a separate spinning/quiet knitting room. We need to spread out a bit.) It’s always fun to watch people spin, and Adrienne and Loopy Elf Donna sat and gave informal spinning lessons both afternoons. I came home motivated to work on roving again. It was also fun seeing what everyone was knitting and crocheting. Most people brought things that they could work on while talking. I’m still impressed with those who could follow charts and work on lace shawls and keep up with everything. Alexis brought her Little Loopy, who had a project of his own. Here’s the miniature felted Booga Bag that he uses for his knitting, along with his scarf in progress. He looked very happy to be visiting St. Louis and hanging out with the knitters.
Saturday night brought another special “Loopy” song, written by Tammy, sung by a talented crew. (This must now be an official tradition, because they did one last year, too.) Here’s the You Tube version. Tammy said she’s already working on the song for next year.
Thanks to all of you who took time away from your families and jobs to attend. We loved having you here and we’re working on our plans for next year already. More fun ahead!
(Psst – Sneak Up Snuck Up. Just in case you were afraid that the Flingers bought out the store. Not even possible…)
We added a few things in to Loopy Central this week (just in time for the Spring Fling) and I promised you photos! You can see more photos about what it looks like around here in our Loopy Central photo gallery. Today, I’m just showing you a few new things.
I love quotes and had fun finding the perfect knitting quotes to add to different spots here. (Fortunately, my husband can make all of these at work for me.) This is our entryway and we added an Elizabeth Zimmermann quote in a space that definitely needed something. (Click on the photo to read the quote.)
You’ve seen the row of socks before (this is in our packing/boxing area), and I thought this quote was a good one to put above the socks.
In our couch area, we have a new room divider that WH made. (The kitchen is open and behind the divider. There are lots of shelves and open cubbies on the other side of this piece and it’s where we keep our stock of Namaste bags. I’m so glad to have Janice here today to help! I couldn’t do the Fling without her. (I made her pose for this photo. She’s actually running around Loopy, pitching in and working today.)
Also in the knitting area, opposite the Sit and Knit Divider, I had this photo blown up for the wall. This is a special photo to me, as it shows the hands of Knitting Daughter, Janice, her Knitting Daughter, her Knitting DIL and me, sitting around the table, knitting. When I blogged this photo awhile back, several of you mentioned that we’re all Continental knitters. That’s because that’s how I learned it, and then I taught KD how to knit, and then we taught Janice and her KD how to knit, and then Janice taught her DIL.
The Wall of Cascade needed a longer quote - and isn’t this one so true??
We also have “street signs” put up, so that people know where to find what they’re looking for around here.
In addition to having Janice here today, I also have Claudia from Germany. She arrived last night with her husband Andreas and her two dear friends Dani and Maria. It is so fun having them here! Those of you who know Claudia, know that she doesn’t get in photos – otherwise I’d have her sitting and knitting with Janice.
Now we’re anxious to have all of the Flingers here for shopping and knitting!
Before I close for today, I have contest prizes to award. The voting is in for the First Quarter KAL. The Reader’s Choice award goes to Samantha, who knit the Tiefer Sea Clapotis. The randomly drawn winner is Allen for her Meat and Three Clapotis. (I like how both colorways rhyme with the pattern: Tiefer Sea, Meat & Three, Clapotis…) Both winners received a Loopy Ewe Gift Certificate. Thanks to ALL of you who participated in that KAL! I hope you’re all picking out Challenge Socks for this quarter’s Challenge.
Thank you to those of you who left your Dreams on the April Blog Contest. I was thinking we’d probably only get a couple hundred of you participating in this contest, because writing your dream down can be a big deal. You surprised me with almost 500 comments! I’m still reading through all of them. The Random Number Generator drew two names to win a skein of Wollmeise – Sarah in Oklahoma, and Eunice. Both have been emailed, so check your email if you think it might be you.
I’ll be back blogging on Monday, with news and photos from the Fling. Have a great rest of your week!
It’s a busy busy week here at The Loopy Ewe. We’re so looking forward to having all of the Spring Flingers arrive on Thursday! But before Thursday gets here, there are a few a bunch of things that need to get done. We’ve scheduled 36 hour days for this week – that ought to help. What else is helpful during a week like this?
A few pots of this:
A few A bunch of pieces of this:
Some happy, hard-working Elves like these:
And a whole lot of prayer.
On Wednesday, I’ll show you some photos of things that we have updated around here at Loopy Central. I wish you could all come for one big Knitting Night! Friday – no blog post, as we’ll be in the midst of the Fling. Watch for photos from the Fling next Monday!