Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It starts to grow...

Each night I'd come home from work to help Alex fill the orders of the day. We were starting to get a few more...and a few it kept us pretty busy in the evenings.

Another thing that kept me busy was grouching about my basement filling up with boxes to the point where it was completely unusable. It was getting hard to manoever around them as more and more inventory arrived each week. Steve was out in LA buying it... unaware that our house was reaching maximum capacity, and I was reaching maximum entropy.The yarn just kept on coming! Like mountain climbers, we scaled the boxes to fill the orders we promised we'd ship the very next business day. (The neighbors started to wonder why UPS appeared so often at our house...and why Alex was sitting on the deck knitting. But they know us well, so they knew better than to ask.)

One night, as Alex and I were filling orders, he saw me writing something on the invoice I tucked into the box.

"What'd you write on it for?" he asked.

"I thought I should thank her. It's only polite," I responded.

Alex thought about it a minute, then decided he liked the idea. So every single order went out with a handwritten thank you. Little did we know, our thank you’s would later form the foundation of our corporate philosophy...but more on that another time.

Anyway, my knitting lessons were going nicely, Alex was making his first scarf, and we were learning everything we could about yarn. The store kept getting busier and busier and busier. Not only had our basement become impassible, it looked like the entire house would soon be bursting at the seams.Then, the oddest, most wonderful thing happened. We received an order from Antarctica. (Yes, Antarctica...that icy place on the bottom of the planet where humans aren't supposed to live.) We were stunned. Who on earth would order from there...and how did they ever find us?

It turned out to be a young man at an American air force base. He wanted us to confirm whether or not we could get him the yarn there quickly -- in time for him to knit a hat as a gift for Christmas. Yes! Of course we could! Alex took the package to the post office (APO orders can't go UPS for some reason), and off it went to the far end of the earth.

"We're selling to Antarctica!" we laughed. We couldn't wait to tell people that we'd had an order from there.

And then we received another.Well, I can't describe how proud we were to think that Yarnmarket was number one in Antarctica. Today, the south pole, tomorrow the world!

Orders started coming in from everywhere -- Alaska, Utah, London, Perth, Queenstown -- and we were delighted to think that people from all over the world were coming to our basement to shop. I particularly enjoyed the shipments to New Zealand because I'd tell the yarn, "We're sending you home!" as I'd pack it into the box.

By the end of December, the business was exploding and we knew it was time to make a move. Our house was too small for an enterprise serving a global market. I mean, what if we wanted to invite them all over for a "thank-you" party?

Alex scouted the neighborhood for a suitable facility for his growing business, and soon located a warehouse location just a mile or so from our home. It was perfect! And, best of all, it had lots and lots of room for boxes!

Yarnmarket was on its way. (And, better yet, I was getting my house back.)

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