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What's the Point of TNNA Membership? A Member's Perspective

Posted By Guy Googins II, TNNA Staff, Friday, April 01, 2016

Heidi Sunday, TNNA member and independent yarn sales rep, shared with us this email that she recently sent to her customers. We like it so much that we got her permission to re-post it here.

Thanks, Heidi!

turn your passion into a businessTHIS IS THE PERFECT TIME TO JOIN TNNA

I know some of you either don't know of TNNA, our national trade organization, or don't think it is worth being a member. As a (two time, or three, if you know the whole story!) yarnshop owner, and 8-year (so far) yarn sales rep, TNNA has been one of the most important parts of my journey and should be part of yours, too, if it isn't already.

In the early days, I wondered, what do I get for this? Sales Reps already came to see me, and all I had to show for it was a door sticker (and a pretty pin at each show, which make a lovely collection!). Over the years I have found a tremendous number of benefits, and our involvement has made more and more great changes over the years. Beyond being a member (which is about $60 or $100 per year), as a serious business owner, I now receive:Heidi Sunday

  • Real fellowship and resources of other people in this industry
  • Meaningful education to grow my business
  • Visibility in an age where, without it, we are just paying rent for a local hangout until we get sick of it and go home
  • The chance to learn about & stock products I would never know of otherwise

Starting with their survey data that answers some of those nagging questions like, how many people are even interested in needlework? how many square feet should my store be?, What is a good mix of products? The list is endless. As a new member, you can have the book, "Starting Out Right", which helped me really get on my feet in my first shop, to ongoing survey data, this is stuff that can help you fine tune your business to make money...rather than sit around feeling sorry for the "state" of things. Believe me, I know how it is.

Most of us got started in this because we LOVE our crafts, not because we are fabulously experienced retailers. Even if you, like me, are a diehard DIYer, this is important: how in the world can you make it today without some kind of help?

In recent years, TNNA has added the "Building Better Business" workshops, which are an all-day full immersion courses, learning from experts in topics like Inventory Management, Financial Management, Social Media, Employee Issues, Retail Displays, all that stuff I knew NOTHING about before, even though I have always been the smartest person I know! LOL

Now they are offering online webinars as well.

As for the fellowship.....old habits are hard to break, but there is a tradition of not wanting to "SHARE" among us. I say, "WHY NOT?". When one of us does well, we can all do well together. The friendships and alliances I've made in this organization are my "ace in the hole", "wind beneath my wings", and all that, and MORE.

For us on the East Coast, it has been difficult to leave our shops to go to (Ohio!!??) for the weekend. This year's Summer show in Washington DC is now your chance to BE THERE. It runs June 11-13, and Education begins June 9th, which is when I arrive. The 10th is when all of the vendors set up their show booths, and also the Building Better Business workshops are that day.

Finally, I have nothing personal to gain by telling you all this, I just wanted to share some thoughts I had on "what TNNA means to me". I am teaching a Knit Companion for Shop Owners class, called Meet Your New BFF, Knit Companion on Thursday June 9 at 3:30 pm if you are interested. I am sponsored by Plymouth Yarn Co and Create 2 Thrive (the creator of Knit Companion and Pattern Genius) for this class, class fees go to TNNA. See the full class listings here.

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