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What Are You To Do? (Warning – Long Post)

12 March 2012

So, you’ve bought a well-run, reputable hand-dyed yarn company, Hipknits,  and within a very short period of time, you’ve transformed it . . .  into a company bombarded with complaints about the non-delivery of orders and the quality of the product, and if someone gets an independent laboratory to test your 100% silk and finds that it’s rayon . . . oops!   So you set up an online knitting magazine, Magknits.  And now you’re getting complaints from designers who haven’t been paid, but you’ve been able to give them a bit of a surprise to brighten their lives . . . some of them didn’t even know their designs had been accepted for publication until they saw them on the website.  When you get so many complaints that it becomes a real hassle, you close down the website.

But you’re on a roll so you start a PRINT knitting magazine, Yarn Forward.  From the first issue, the complaints pour in (including from myself) as copies just don’t seem to be reaching the subscribers. You didn’t have much time to deal with this because you’re busy working on a book.  Great idea – knitting with handpainted yarns.  The designers who submit to you and send knitted garments for the photos are to get part-proceeds of the sale and their garments returned.  The book, although commissioned, is never printed (so the designers received no money), the garments aren’t returned but you make the best of a bad job and sell the patterns on to another publisher.

But this doesn’t stop you from “moving forward” with Yarn Forward.  Subscription deliveries are still unreliable, contributors’ copies are rarely sent unless begged for and designers are often unpaid.  Then a Canadian company points out that you’re using the name in breach of their trademark so you change the name to Knit Magazine.  This doesn’t affect in any way the quality of your company’s service – still unpaid designers and unhappy subscribers. 

However, publishing empires have to start somewhere so you start or acquire the following titles:  Inside Crochet, Simply Beautiful, Sew Hip, Handmade Living and Handmade Fashion.

And still the complaints pour in from people who actually want to be paid for their contributions or who want to receive the magazines they’ve paid for.  So you launch a sock club in February 2011.  A hundred people paying you 96 pounds each – helps the cash flow a bit and you can worry later about how you are actually going to provide them with what you’ve promised. And when they’re not happy because they DIDN’T get what was promised, just write to them to say they’re lucky to get anything at all as they paid KAL which is now in liquidation (despite the fact that most of them are holding receipts from ACM)

However, it all became too much so in June 2011 you go into voluntary liquidation  But there’s still no stopping you.  You have a husband who can start up another company, acquire these titles, present you with a clean slate and go off back to his day job.  And you have all these designs, some of which you haven’t even had to pay for.  An easy way to improve your cash flow is to sell some of the Inside Crochet designs to Love Of Crochet, an American magazine.  But don’t tell the designers as you may just have to PAY them.  And to help you along in the early days of the new company (ACM) you can do whatever you can to avoid paying designers or sending subscription copies.  If four creditors have already obtained County Court Judgements against ACM, don’t let that ruin your plans.

Where to next?   Easy – launch another title.  Modern Quilting has now hit the news-stands. Some may think it strange that you’re charging for patterns that are available for nothing (second pattern down – the magazine is even using the same photo) on the internet. But hey, a girl has to make her money where she can.

So what do you do when everything goes belly-up?  Try to ignore the knitters and crocheters who have become wise to your ways over the years and start all over again with the quilters, who just may not know what and whom they’re dealing with.   

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4 comments

  1. It all sounds like bloody hard work to me! I think I’d find it easier to get a “proper” job and sleep at night.


  2. This is very entertaining. Can’t wait for the next episode.


  3. As I don’t belong to wordpress …. *like
    (thanks for the button anyhow)

    eh … wow. Ditto M-H. I’m on the edge of my seat.


  4. Scary, ain’t it?

    When WM and I lived in our first house (a house and land package) we needed a driveway. We contracted “Panorama Pattern Pave” to do the job for us. They subcontracted. The subcontractors laid the form work and started pouring concrete from the street end, No one had noticed there was an access door to the under floor area and the newly poured concrete would not allow the door to open. Oops! No worries mate! We’ll just make a little basin area near the door sot that it can be opened… and all the rain can flood under the house!
    We took the company to court (they didn’t show) but they were ordered to fix the problem by laying drainage to conduct storm water away from the underfloor area and to pay us compensation. Several months later we learnt that PPP had gone into liquidation but the owner of the company had started another patterned concrete company! Limited liability companies – pah! WM ended up putting the necessary drainage in and we still had not received our compensation when we moved more than ten years later!



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