Last Call for YarnYAY!
Dear YarnYAY! Community & Supporters,
It’s with all of the feels, and a deep breath, that I announce that month’s will be the last monthly box, as we begin the process of closing YarnYAY! by Vickie Howell.
Five and a half years ago, this business essentially fell into my lap. I was just wrapping a tour promoting the launch of The Knit Show, and in the middle of writing my 13th book, The Knit Vibe when an executive from CrateJoy approached me about co-founding a subscription box for knitters. The arm of their company that ran subscription box businesses with creators and entrepreneurs who already had a following would handle the capital, fulfillment, customer service, and sourcing. I would be in charge of project design, pattern writing, product curation, marketing, media content, and anything else creative. I had long been wanting to add a retail aspect to my overall offerings, but with a very full plate hadn’t yet figured out a viable, responsible way to do that. This seemed ideal.
We launched YarnYAY! on April 2nd, 2018 with the pre-sale of the first box. Almost immediately, 225+ of my loyal, fiber community members had subscribed, sight unseen and solely based on my word that I’d give it my all to make this sub club a special one. Momentum gained and the subscriber amount quickly almost doubled. Less than 2 weeks later, though, I was informed that the wing of CrateJoy supporting influencer, joint-ventures was shutting down. I had two choices: walk away, abandoning both the business and my community’s trust, or learn how to run and operate a subscription box business. The choice seemed obvious to me, so I jumped in. The first YarnYAY! box for knitters, shipped in May of 2018. Feedback was great, but crocheters felt left out. Elitism is not how I roll, so I decided that I would also take on designing a crochet pattern per box and since June of that same year, both crafts have been featured.
Over the course of the next years, we added curated products and kits, 140+ knit & crochet patterns, specialty boxes, Vickie Howell yarn and tools lines, a block-of the-month club, Quarterly Boxes, and more — all of which are packed and shipped out of a small studio in Buda. It was our founding principle that we would be a “rising tide” company, not only by empowering people to be creative but also by collaborating and cross-promoting as many fellow indie designers, dyers, and makers as possible. I’m proud to say that we’ve partnered with over 175 fellow small businesses, including 5 Designers-in Residence, and 3 YarnYAY! Maker Grant winners.
YarnYAY! has been an extraordinary learning experience, and I am so grateful for it. It has been one of the joys of my life, working with a small team of contractors, most of whom I’d been friends with for years before. Their investment, creativity, and camaraderie is an invaluable gift. They are family. It has been an honor being even a small part — especially during a global pandemic when we all needed each other, and something positive to put our energy into — of our beloved “YarnYAYers” creative lives. You are community.
Over the past 18 months, however, while prices from everything from fiber and cardboard to software and shipping have relentlessly continued to rise, subscribers to our monthly box (YarnYAY’s main source of revenue) have steadily dropped. The losses have snowballed and now, to quote an infamous start-up CEO’s recent announcement, “we have more debt than assets”. I’ve tried every form of jazz-handing, creative re-packaging, and overall strategy-pivoting I know, but unfortunately, without success. I’d hoped that numbers would pick back up as we entered the beginning of “knitting season” (aka Fall). Unfortunately, though, that hasn’t been the case. That, coupled with the fact that I’ve realized running a company that can’t financially support more than one full-time employee isn’t the healthiest choice for me has brought me to the tough decision that the December Box #68 will be the last monthly, and the Winter Box (ships mid-late January) will be the last Quarterly box. I love them both, and I hope you will too. We have many costs to cover during this challenging time, including paying the team and ensuring that we do right by our club members. If YarnYAY has inspired you, taught you a new skill, or maybe even brought a little joy into your life, and you’re interested in supporting us through this transition, here are the biggest ways you can help:
- If you’re a regular, monthly box subscriber who has previously chosen to skip the December Box, consider un-skipping. You can do that by emailing email@example.com and Carin, the best customer support manager in the business, will make it happen.
- If you’re not a subscriber, please purchase the December Box. It’s the happiest, little box of holiday-inspired, fiber goodness, and makes a GREAT gift for the knitter or crocheter in your life! You can learn more here.
- Pre-order the Winter Box. There are two palettes to choose from, a project inspired by my recent trip to Iceland, an accompanying e-Course, hangout session, and more. Let’s hang out and stitch for a little while longer!
- Shop our inventory clearance sales that will be happening over the next couple of months.
Lastly, I just want to extend my heartfelt thanks to those who, over the past 5 years, have subscribed and shopped with YarnYAY, many of whom have been with us from the beginning and shown up for every box, kit, yarn, and event we’ve produced. Your support has meant to world to Team YarnYAY. We appreciate you so much.
With gratitude & love,
YarnYAY! Closing FAQ
- What happens if I have a pre-paid monthly subscription with future boxes still owed?
No worries, we’ve got you! Please keep your eyes open for an e-mail from us with more information about compensation for your remaining boxes. You can expect to receive that email by or before December 31, 2023.
- I purchased something before your announcement. Will I still get my order?
Absolutely! We will continue shipping physical products through January 2024.
- What happens to my Block Builder Club subscription?
Please keep your eyes open for an e-mail from us with more information about the future of Block Builder Club. You can expect to receive that email by or before December 30, 2023.
- I’m not a subscriber, but I’d like to purchase a December box. Can I?
Yes, and we appreciate it! You can purchase a box without a subscription here.
- I’d like another December Box, how do I order an additional one?
That’s great! You can purchase a box without worrying about an additional subscription here.
- I have a gift card for your shop. Can I still spend it?
Yes, we will honor gift cards through January 26, 2024
- What will happen to my YarnYAY! Rewards points?
Rewards points will need to be used by December 31, 2023. After that the program will be shut down.
- Will my digital files still be available?
If you’ve purchased digital patterns or other content, we highly recommend downloading them as soon as possible. Although we don’t anticipate the download links becoming inactive any time soon, we can’t guarantee their availability after February, 2024.