Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How it all began.

It all began in 2003... My husband, Alex, decided to retire. I didn't blame him. I wanted to retire, too. But somebody had to feed us, and he decided that it would be me. Initially, I balked at the idea. But the first time I got home from work to find the house spotless, dinner waiting on the table, and a box of chocolates on my pillow, I decided that Alex had a darned good idea and I was happy to go along with it.

Meanwhile, Alex's old business colleague, Steve, was out in Los Angeles grappling with a little problem of his own: he had a house full of yarn. Boxes and boxes of yarn. Everywhere. And computers, too. He'd invested in a small online yarn shop, and when the person who was to run it bolted on him, he was left with a living room full of yarn and computers. Being a single guy who couldn't knit a stitch, Steve figured he'd better find a way to get the yarn out of his house and his investment out of the red. So he called Alex.

"What're you doing?" Steve asked.

"Nothing," Alex replied, "How about you?"

"Not much. So, how would you like to run a yarn shop?"

"Ummm...okay...what do you really want?" Steve explained the circumstances and Alex said he'd get back to him.

A yarn shop? A yarn shop?! We talked about it that night, and then telephoned the one person we knew in the world who REALLY knew yarn -- my Aunt Wilma in Calgary. She took a look at the site, and was kind enough to offer only one criticism, "It doesn't have much on it." (That was about a zillion skeins ago.)

Because he's just quirky enough to be intrigued by the idea of running a yarn store, Alex decided he'd give it a try. Why not? He'd never run a yarn store before, and he liked to work with women. (He used to do a lot of fashion photo shoots where size 0 models traipsed about in various stages of undress. If they'd had anything to show, I might have been appalled that they were trying to show it to my husband.)

Anyway...we started on our learning curve: I attended knitting classes, and Alex and Steve discussed all the business issues. After a while, they agreed to make the move. Alex hopped on a plane to LA, Steve rented a U-Haul and they embarked on their 2000+ mile journey back to Ohio. I remember waking up to the sound of the telephone very early one morning. It was Alex.

"I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona!" he informed me.

"And such a fine sight to see?" I asked.

He told me he'd waited for hours to call me to tell me that. We're so old we remember the lyrics to 1970s songs, but can't remember if we put on our underpants that day. Anyway, I arrived home from work a few nights later to find my basement full of boxes of yarn, computers and shipping equipment, and a guy named Steve who Alex insists I met on a business trip to LA a few years before. (As I said, the memory is failing.) Steve explained everything from how to download the UPS labels to how to pack the yarn nicely into the boxes...then waved us and his investment goodbye. We started off that October taking just a few dozen orders a day...

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