Monday, December 11, 2006

The Consumer-Friendly Yarn debate

I have been getting caught up on listening to the Cast On podcasts and she's been talking about the consumer-friendly yarn issue. The cattalyst for this issue coming to the forefront apparently was due to Tilli Thomas Yarns having an issue with Sarah's Yarns (see Sept. 5 entry) selling their yarn at a discount. Tilli Thomas, as well as a good number of other yarn manufacturers, insist their retailers sell at keystone pricing, aka setting market price.

What is keystone price, you ask? It is: A pricing method of marking merchandise for resell to an amount that is double the wholesale price. Some of the yarn vendors specify that their yarn must be sold for no less than, oh, 85% of keystone, for example, but are still setting a minimum price for their product. It's not "MSRP"'s not a suggestion. "Suggestion" means just that...not a hard, fast pricepoint, but a suggested pricepoint. What happens is that if a yarn vendor gets wind of a retailer selling below their set price, they cancel their wholesale accounts.

The big player in all of this, of course, is the internet. Online yarn stores without the overhead of a brick and mortar are more able to afford to discount and brick and mortars without an online presence can't afford to compete.

This discussion is being held over at Consumer Friendly Yarns blog. I also encourage you to read Sarah's blog entry and the comments made to it as a starting point. There are many issues to consider. Some people have decided to purchase yarns made only by consumer-friendly (meaning no keystone/set-price practices) yarn manufacturers. The Consumer Friendly Yarns blog is also compiling a list of manufacturers that do or don't adhere to these keystone policies.

Make up your own mind about it, of course...some of these keystone companies include some of my favorite yarns so I'm not going to be immediately jumping onto the "consumer-friendly yarns only or bust" bandwagon, but these companies may be hearing from me about their practices.


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