Schacht Wins Business Innovation Award
Schacht Spindle Company was chosen as the winning entry for the inaugural Needlearts Business Innovation Award sponsored by the National Needlearts Association (TNNA) and Hart Business Research. We were awarded the prize at the The National Needlework Arts trade show in Columbus, Ohio on June 10, 2011.
Our winning entry, “The Cricket Loom: Right Product for the Right Time” outlined our success in bringing to market a small weaving loom tailored to specialty retail yarn shops as well as our traditional weaving and spinning stores. To appeal to new shops and crafters, we designed a loom that was portable and user friendly. We also created an innovative dealer and consumer support program called the Cricket Club directed at capturing and supporting this market. The award included $700 cash and a $7500 advertising package for Interweave Knits.
“We are thrilled to have received this award and to have our company and our Cricket program recognized. We are delighted that this product is not only selling well, but moving a lot of yarn for the retail shops that are the lifeblood of our industry,” says Barry Schacht, founder of Schacht Spindle Company.
We wanted a loom that would be user friendly and affordable. Our design team was challenged to develop a compact, easy-to-use loom that had an appealing design and was priced right for small, specialty retail shops. We looked to curvy lines to create a feminine and friendly aesthetic. Using our computer-controlled machinery to manufacture the loom sides from high-quality apple ply, we were able to create many parts of the loom by cutting the shape from a single piece of wood instead of using separate pieces to create the framework. Next, we designed a kit that includes everything needed to weave—including yarn (a first for us). The Cricket Loom name seemed friendly and one that consumers would remember.
To support the Cricket Loom and weaving, we established the Cricket Club on Ravelry.com. We then brought the on-line enthusiasm into shops to encourage new weaves, create an in-store weaving community, and help shop owners increase sales. The Cricket Club for shops concept is much like a knit night, giving new weavers a place to meet and share ideas.
Through our “Cricket Club Guide for Shops” booklet we explain the program, philosophy and provide activity suggestions. Additionally, we include downloadable handouts and activities from our web site, including a sample press release, poster, as well as give-aways. Through periodic updates and materials, including project ideas and Schacht-sponsored contests, we look forward to growing this special dealer support program.
We have seen phenomenal growth in weaving with the Cricket Loom. We are hearing from our full service weaving dealers that this is driving students to their floor loom classes. This small little loom is doing much to expand and grow the market. If you have not started your own Cricket Club we encourage you to do so. For more information, just give us a call.