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TNNA 2017 Winter Trade Show Class Previews: Stacey Trock

Posted By TNNA HQ, Monday, December 12, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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TNNA 2017 Winter Trade Show Class Previews 

Spotlight on Stacey Trock 

Stacey Trock, owner of FreshStitches

Whether you’re interested in learning technical or business skills, the TNNA NeedleArts 2017 Winter Trade Show, taking place January 21-23, 2017, in San Jose, CA, has something for everyone! Register today and choose from more than 30 classes taught by popular industry professionals. But hurry, once a class is sold out, it will no longer be available for selection. The pre-registration deadline for classes is Monday, January 9, 2017.

Today's spotlight is on classes being taught by industry expert Stacey Trock, owner of FreshStitches! Read on below for teasers for Stacey's classes and her thoughts on the importance of education for needlearts professionals.

Classes Stacey is teaching at the 2017 Winter Trade Show:

  • Create an Employee Handbook
  • Strategies for Handling Difficult Customers and Your Online Presence
  • Blogging and Social Media for Yarn Shops



We asked Stacey to share her insights on needlearts and business education, as well as its value to members of our industry.

TNNA HQ: Why do you enjoy teaching classes to needlearts professionals?

Stacey Trock (ST): I absolutely love the camaraderie. Whether you’re the owner of an indie dying company, a retail shop or a designer focused on wholesale accounts: We’re all facing the same problems and can learn from each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a needlepoint canvas or yarn, we all need to market our businesses effectively, and we are struggling with the limited amount of time we have available because we’re buried in the day-to-day work of running our business.

I love sharing my knowledge with other professionals and watching that "ah-ha" moment. Sharing that one trick that makes a shop owner’s whole year easier. Or seeing a student pick up on a tip from a fellow student.

We’re all in this together.

TNNA HQ: Why should attendees consider registering for classes?

ST: There are very few places where business owners can get effective, solid education that they can trust. There are lots of "coaches" online, but almost all of these "experts" are marketing their course to you to get money in their pockets. The teachers at TNNA have been vetted by a panel and are teaching because they love what they do. And almost every student I talk to receives a real gem of information from the classes they take!

TNNA HQ: How can the five new learning objectives developed by TNNA help attendees determine what's most important to them?

ST: I think every business owner intuits their weak spot in running their business. What makes you grumble? What do you try to put off on your calendar? What gives you a headache at the end of the day? This is exactly the category you should dive into in a class. Find a topic that’s a real pain for you, and take a class with a professional whose goal is to make that aspect easier and approachable. It could change your whole business!

TNNA HQ: Are these classes only for new or first-time business owners? Why should seasoned professional register, too?

ST: I think absolutely everyone can benefit from taking a class. The world is changing. What worked 15 years ago is no longer working (Um…do yellow pages even exist anymore?). It’s imperative that you stay on top of what’s new so that you can keep your business fresh and growing.

TNNA HQ: What are you looking forward to most at the Winter Trade Show?

ST: I love talking to other business owners, both in classes and on the floor. I have conversations with fellow colleagues online, but nothing beats the face-to-face interaction. I find out what’s new, share what’s working for me, hear about a great new tool or technique. I always learn so much more than I expected!

TNNA HQIn one sentence (OK, maybe a few more), please describe why attendees should register for each of your classes:

Create an Employee Handbook (Business Data Made Simple)

What if I told you that you could spend one weekend creating the ultimate guide to your business (including stock replies, employee procedures and documenting key procedures) and save HOURS each week on managing employees and customers? This is how.

Strategies for Handling Difficult Customers and Your Online Presence (The Two-Way Conversation)

We live in a world where one grumpy customer can post a snarky review that devastates your reputation and prospects for attracting new customers. You need to know what to do to fix it.

Blogging and Social Media for Yarn Shops (Leveraging New Tools & Technology)

It’s no longer good enough to have an instagram account, and you don’t have 8 hours a day to spend on social media. Learn how to communicate with your customers effectively in this changing world in less than 30 minutes a day.


Stacey Trock is the entrepreneur and social media maven behind FreshStitches, the uber-popular and innovative craft design and supply company. Her experience running one of the largest subscription clubs in the fiber world, teaching internationally, and developing her own overseas-manufactured products provides her with unique insight into how to merchandize and market in the yarn industry. Stacey has a sharp understanding of the motivations that underlie consumer purchases, and she specializes in connecting small businesses with easy-to-implement and trendsetting marketing ideas. Follow Stacey on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

New this year, TNNA classes are categorized by five objectives to help you select the class that best matches your education needs. See the objectives and listing below. Sign into Attendee Registration for the complete class presenter information, fees, and materials needed.

Business Data Made Simple

Expanding Your Expertise

The Two-Way Conversation

Leveraging New Tools & Technology

Building Better Business

Learn to effectively manage cash flow, plan your marketing, and invest in your future using data you already have. Develop new skills and techniques to grow your business and increase profits.                                         Learn how to effectively engage with customers and vendors through various communications channels.  Gain insight into the latest tools and technology, including social media, photography, software, and mobile devices.  

Learn how to brand your business in this day-long education session.



Discover all the exciting education opportunities at the 2017 Winter Trade Show!

View Classes and View Teachers.

Tags:  Classes  Education  Winter Show 

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Give Back & Share the Warmth

Posted By TNNA HQ, Monday, November 28, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Give Back & Share the Warmth

As we head into the holiday season, distracted by shopping, sales and swag, we cannot forget how much we have to be thankful for.

There are numerous ways for the needlearts community to give back – whether you knit, weave, crochet, spin or stitch. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Donate your time - hold a free class that teaches the basic skills to make much-needed, warm accessories.
  • Offer free patterns to your customers to encourage them to create items for donation.
  • Hold a clothing donation drive at your retail shop for gently used items, such as hats, gloves and coats.
  • Partner with a local organization and host a fundraising night. Donate a portion of proceeds to charity.

Now that we've got the wheels in your head turning, learn by example.

Silvia Fuentes shares information about her and her sister's initiative Craft'd with Love and how they share the warmth.



Craft’d With Love was born as a way for my sister and me to honor my mother’s memory and share her generous and caring nature with the world. Losing a loved one to cancer is devastating, but at the same, it’s an eye-opening experience as to what’s important in life.

As we went through our journey, the biggest acts of kindness came from random strangers and that inspired us to take action. On the surface, our mission is simple: We hand-knit scarves and donate them to cancer patients to help them stay warm. But on an emotional level, it’s much more complex than that.








We witnessed, first hand, how a kind gesture can do wonders for the human spirit and help keep hope alive in the most dire of situations. Each scarf we deliver is meant to provide a sense of encouragement, love and comfort that comes with knowing that someone is thinking of you and wishing you the best.





Since our project began three years ago, over 400 scarves have been donated to organizations like: St. Jude Children's Hospital, Pasadena Cancer Support Community, The Foundation for Living Beauty, The Beauty Bus Foundation, and Pasadena Ronald McDonald House. Our partners help distribute the scarves to patients in need of a little motivation boost.

For more information about Craft’d With Love and ways you can help #ShareTheWarmth2016, please visit

Follow Craft'd With Love on social media!




We hope you find inspiration from Craft'd With Love's story and seek out ways to help this or other initiatives this holiday season.

Tags:  business tips  charity  giving back  small business 

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4 Last-Minute Tips for Small Business Saturday

Posted By TNNA HQ, Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2016

4 Last-Minute Small Business Saturday Tips

Small Business Saturday (November 26) is only a few days away, and hopefully, you're well prepared for the retail frenzy to come. According to Forbes, approximately 95 million people shopped on Small Business Saturday last year and spent $16.2 billion – a 14-percent increase from 2014. Projections estimate even bigger numbers this year!


American Express introduced the first Small Business Saturday in 2010 to acknowledge the importance of small businesses to our local economy. Falling right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's the perfect way to take advantage of the shopping hype during the holiday season.

If the impending hype is causing you to panic, or you're just looking for more ways to give your biz a boost, here are four last-minute tips for Small Business Saturday 2016.

Tip #1: Use "Shop Small" in your marketing

Small Business Saturday is part of a bigger initiative to bring attention to small, independent businesses. It's a nationwide movement that gains more traction every year. Display Small Business Saturday and Shop Small marketing materials and badges in your shop and on your website. It's a reminder to your customers to shop local all year round.

Bring more attention in your social media marketing efforts by using #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat.

Tip #2: Get the word out

It doesn't matter if it's midnight just before Small Business Saturday – it's never too late to start getting the word out!

Send an email to your customer base on Black Friday touting special deals in your online shop or retail store the next day. Post exclusive offers or discounts on social media throughout the day.

Of course, don't throw too much time into these efforts. You wouldn't want to neglect your customers that come into the store, or miss important calls or emails with questions about your products. Be mindful and present!

Tip #3: Offer demos

If you've got the time and extra hands, offer a demonstration of your products to let customers know their options. Needlearts enthusiasts tend to be a tactile bunch. Let them touch, feel and try out different tools and materials.

Short on staff or time?

Ask a frequent, experienced customer to work on a project in-store for a few hours during the day to allow potential buyers to see needlearts in action! 

Tip #4: Don't panic!

Remain calm. You'll get through Small Business Saturday and the entire busy holiday season. Whether you're a seasoned retail pro or new to the market, you're obviously passionate about what you do.


Tags:  business tips  retail  small biz saturday  small business 

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Back to Selling Basics

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, November 17, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Back to Selling Basics 

Hal Ozbelli, president of Universal Yarn, shares tips for selling yarn and other needlearts in your brick-and-mortar store to compete with online retailers.

Fall season is finally here. After last year’s warm weather, all businesses related to winter suffered in sales and, of course, our yarn business – especially brick and mortar shops – got their share of this downturn. Knitters and crocheters were not thinking a lot about knitting a hat or a sweater when it was 75°F in Central Park on Christmas day. When you add lack of trend to drive customers to the shops, slow economy and online retailers’ wide variety of offerings, it became very challenging to weather the past nine months for our industry.

This fall and winter season should be much cooler, according to Farmers’ Almanac 2017’s weather forecast, and we already see folks are coming back purchasing yarn for their projects. Brick and mortar shops still have the online retailers to compete with. Our business is a tactile one: Customers must touch and feel, see varieties and colors, and be educated by our shop staff on what makes the yarns special.

Differences in merino, bamboo versus synthetic blends, hand-dyed versus prints; they can only be shown in the shops. This type of interaction can only be done by one-on-one interaction at brick and mortar shops. This is a huge advantage that shops have over online retailers. The bigger challenge is how to keep the customers coming back after the first sale and have them pay a bit more instead of becoming a showroom for online retailers.






Here are five useful tips to implement to compete successfully and do well in this e-shopping world:

1.  Give a great customer service experience. Online retailers offer customer reviews for the products they carry. But nothing comes close to personal interaction, which your team can provide in the shops. It is important for a shop owner to invest in its team. You must hire the right people, train them on a continuous basis to serve your loyal customers.

Your team must become curators of yarn. They need to know: what makes the yarns special; the year’s fashion trends and colors; what yarn is most suitable for which type of project; and match customers’ needs and budget with the right yarn.

There are many online fashion trend boards, yarn suppliers, industry experts and resources from TNNA members ready to help and assist.

2.  Focus on speed and availability. It takes two to three days for an online order to arrive (unless expensive overnight shipping is utilized). You must use this to your advantage and let your customers know that they can get their yarns and start their projects right away. In order to make sure that you are being seen, get involved in your community and be in front of your customers by partnering with local community leaders.

3.  Offer a shopping experience and be creative. Many traditional retailers, like Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters, are offering more than a regular shopping experience. They are opening wine bars, roof top social lounges and restaurants in order to become more than a shopping destination. Invest in a high-end coffee machine, offer sweets from a local bakery, or host events in your shops, like trunk shows, to become a social destination in your community. You will give your customers more than a typical yarn sale experience.

4.  Stock local, unique items. Offer locally or regionally produced fibers, yarns and accessories in your shop. Stock items made by local artists that will be unique to your shop. Since these items will not be available by online retailers, you will not be competing on price. Plus, folks always appreciate and are willing to support local artists and the community.

5.  Build a website. If you do not have a website, you will miss out on communicating with your community and customers while forfeiting potential business and growth. Building and maintaining a website is easier and more affordable than ever. Many providers offer templates, easy interfaces to set up and useful features. Use your website to make announcements, publicize events and tell a story.

I hope these tips will be useful and give ideas to enhance your business. Our community is very creative and community driven. We are made up of very passionate, talented and gifted folks, doing what they love. Always remember, TNNA and all our members are here to help. I wish everyone a great yarn selling season.

Tags:  Business Tips  Yarn Group 

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November Industry News & Notes

Posted By TNNA HQ, Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A look at industry news and notes from TNNA

Sneak Peek:
2017 Winter Trade Show Agenda

Your first look at the agenda for the TNNA 2017 Needlearts Winter Trade Show is here.

Don't miss out on a sneak peek of pre-show events, previous show favorites, and engaging education sessions!

Read More

TNNA Releases 2016 Needle Arts Market Summary

TNNA released the2016 Market Summary! The report provides eight pages of crucial data to help grow your needle arts business to take advantage of the $2.5 billion needle arts consumer market.

The study is available for FREE as a TNNA member benefit.

Read More

#Needlearts in the News

USA Today highlighted 10 great knitting and yarn shops across North America. It's probably not a surprise that eight of 10 stores that made the list are TNNA members!

Discover how these unique featured shops offer more than just yarn.

Read More



Manage Your Social Media Webinar

On Nov. 2, TNNA hosted the webinar "Manage Your Social Media: A Practical Plan for Busy Business Owners" with industry expert Stacey Trock, owner of FreshStitches, to learn best practice social media techniques.

Stacey shared her insights on social media and its value to needlearts professionals on the blog.

Read More



Tags:  Business Tips  Industry news and notes 

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