Why This Is Different5 December 2012
There is a group of people on Twitter “propping up” Tallulah (aka Kerrie Allman). Some of them are probably well-meaning, but ignorant. In the last few days we’ve read “You’ve done nothing wrong” and “it’s human to fail”. We’re portrayed as a bunch of nasty bitches who don’t seem to be able or willing to understand that anyone can make a mistake and they shouldn’t have to beat their chests for the rest of their lives.
Businesses often fail, and suppliers and customers lose money. This is sad but it happens all the time and as long as the business has complied with the law, there isn’t much the creditors can do but go away and lick their wounds.
But we believe this is in a different league. This isn’t just a business that failed because of a downturn in the economy or the knock-on effect caused by a customer of theirs failing. This was mismanagement over many years.
As briefly as possible, this is why we hold this view:
1. Magknits – 2004, An online knitting magazine. Many designers unpaid. A number weren’t aware their designs had been accepted until they saw them published online. .
2. Hipknits – 2005. Suppliers of hand-dyed yarn. Yarn wasn’t delivered (though paid for), emails weren’t answered, poor quality yarn supplied with loads of knots, and silk yarn that turned out to be ACRYLIC.
3. Yarn Forward Magazine – 2006 – which went on to become KAL Media Ltd in 2008 Designers not being paid, staff having problems getting paid, rent unpaid. Designers not having their work returned to them. Staff tax and NI unpaid. The company moved offices many times and on one occasion, a landlady even went as far as changing the locks overnight. The company went into liquidation in June 2011 owing something in the region of a quarter of a million pounds. Kerrie has been reported by the liquidators to the Insolvency Service for wrongful trading.
4. All Craft Media Limited – 2011. A limited company, wholly owned by Kerrie but with her husband, Wayne, as the sole Director. Within months the company had acquired 4 County Court Judgments, had a long list of unpaid designers, and had very angry knitting club members who had paid for yarn and patterns never received, There were the usual excuses, when there was any response at all, including the now oft-used excuse of “lost in the post” and “server problems”. The company sold on patterns to an American magazine, without the knowledge of the designers, and without paying them. Advertisers were sent invoices for advertising they hadn’t authorised. Staff were unpaid. Staff tax and NI was unpaid. Designers’ samples not returned. In May 2012, the company was forced into Administration by a factoring company, when they realised that ACM wasn’t being totally honest in its dealings. The latest Administrator’s report shows that the company owed, yet again, about a quarter of a million pounds (in less than one year’s trading). They have also reported the management of this company to the Insolvency Service. The Administrators found about 350 items that were supposed to be returned to designers.
5. Craft Magazine Shop – 2012. A sole-tradership supposedly owned by one Derek Barnes who we are reliably informed died many years ago. Kerrie denied any connection with this business but has been editing the magazines using the pseudonym of Jenn Smith-Clarke, contacting contributors etc. A limited company, Craft Magazines Limited, was formed by Kerrie’s father and it’s believed the titles are now being published by that company. The Company has at least one County Court Judgment already against it. One magazine, Simply Sewing, was a month late in its latest issue, announced that it would be a digital issue only and then proceeded to give access to it, free of charge – those who have paid for a year’s subscription are naturally not too happy. Many advertisements in this magazine, and Modern Quilting, are being placed without the knowledge of the advertisers until they receive a phone call demanding that they pay. A lot of the copy is just lifted straight from the internet, including Wikipedia.
6. The matter of not returning samples to their designers is probably one that wouldn’t appear too important to a non-knitter or non-crocheter. But it takes very many hours of work to produce most of these items and the designer is then unable to re-sell the pattern without re-knitting the garment. One designer produced FIVE lace shawls for All Craft Media (that is hundreds of hours work). After ACM went into Administration, Kerrie assured her by email that she had the shawls and would return them. Six months later, and after much pleading, Kerrie has now informed her that she HASN’T got the shawls. Other items we know were given to members of staff, and on one occasion, a pair of socks, knitted for one of the magazines by an outside designer, was presented by Kerrie to another knitter as a gift with the implication that Kerrie had knitted the socks for her. On another occasion, knitters were encouraged to knit blanket squares to raise money for charity. The squares were sent to Kerrie from all over the world. The blanket never saw the light of day. When it all got too much for her, the “poor me” posts started appearing. She’s claimed to have had death threats at least twice.
Storms had been brewing for many years in the knitting community online – first in the Yahoo groups then on Ravelry. But it wasn’t really until early this year that comments appeared in other areas of the internet, starting perhaps with Rock and Purl, and Dull Roar, both really summing up how so many people feel.
Maybe her supporters can understand why we’re not willing to just put this all down to bad luck or forces outside Kerrie’s control. Unpaid designers, staff, tax and landlords, lies about deliveries, samples going “missing” – the list is endless and is just repeated each time Kerrie lurches from one company to the next. We are left assuming that this is what she considers to be normal business practice.
“You’ve done nothing wrong”??
I think “You’ve done little right” may be more appropriate.