Vendor Spreadsheet

HI all…Don’t know if you have seen this thread:
My thought is that a list is needed of all OU vendors who sell patterns, indie yarn, etc etc. Personally, I would like to buy first from a fellow member if at all possible, but it is difficult to find an easy way to sort thru vendors. Any thoughts on this?

@rollinge I’m guessing that this will be addressed when the marketplace gets up and running. My hope is that the marketplace would include vendors of all sorts - designers, dyers, etc. whether they are selling through the marketplace or linking back to their own sites. That said, if it looks like it might be a while before the marketplace is up, I think it would be fairly easy to set up a spreadsheet that members, including sellers, could add to. I’d be happy to help out with that.

Hi…I agree and would hope that the marketplace would do this, however, depending on what it would cost me as a vendor to be in the marketplace, I may not find that cost effective.

The goal is free for some base level (maybe 10 or 20 products) and maybe a small monthly fee $5 for more products and higher transaction limits.

But yeah, the other option is I can keep a locked sticky post with links to all our vendors if they choose to be on the list.

I am not clear on what you want.
a list of those who have included their business info in their profile,
a list of sellers who are supporting forum by purchasing advertising
or… ???

Was looking for an easy way to list all the sellers/makers on our site and be able to sort by what they sell. Example…I would like to buy indie dyed yarn from an OU member. Short of reading through vendor narratives, there is no other way to find indie yarn, at least not that I have figured out. Since we had a thread going of people wanting a spreadsheet of some sort for pattern designers thought what I was wanting to do made sense.

@rollinge yes, that is much clearer, to really make it work would require cooperation from the sellers - be they dyers, or authors or general suppliers.
The big thing is it will need a very dedicated volunteer to maintain it unless a better way can be found.

Perhaps some ideas on what you think would be minimum - Biz Name, Primary Type of Biz, … other?

Hi…Well, since I do not have the time to be a dedicated volunteer, I had hoped that someone else would do this hahaha. However, when I messaged back and forth with Admin Guy, we discussed the possibility that vendors could tag their posts and that might make them searchable. For example, I could use tags such as: Vendor Indie Dyer, Vendor Alpaca Yarn, Vendor Knitting Patterns. Don’t really know how or if this would work unless we do a trial. And then, no dedicated volunteer would be needed YEAH!!!

something to go on the “sometime in the future, maybe” list I keep on my desk.

@rollinge What a great idea.

The tag system is a possibility, but for me as an online retailer I would have to have basically unlimited number of tags available. A limit of 5 or some other limit short of 100 would not help for me. I’m sure Admin Guy is much more knowledgeable about these things than I am, but it seems to me that the base issue is the capability of the embedded search engine in this platform, which has limitations. After all, it’s not Google, its pretty low key.
To me, it seems we can get the same functionality, but perhaps not the same speed or universality by structuring a Vendor/Marketing forum with categories and subcategories where vendors can list themselves on any subcategory, and also provide a link to the matching (sub)category on the vendor’s website?

So it would be up to the supplier to list themselves in appropriate categories,
I like this concept for many reasons - particularly if the member supplier of goods and services were the poster a great deal of shilling could be avoided.

Do you envision this as i.e. Topic - knit needles
Then member supplier would comment with company name, perhaps a list of brands they carry and a link to an appropriate category in their shop where ever it might be ?

@Wyogal as a business person do you think such a targeted - classified as\listing should be a benefit to business supporters of FiberKind thru nominal fee separate from fees for banner or side bar — not a per listing but a quarterly , etc.

Almost a yellow pages of suppliers supporting FiberKind?

Yes that is what I am thinking. In the example below the words would be the link to my category on my site. To use your example: Topic>Knitting Needles. As a vendor of knitting needles I would post something like this:

" carries several kinds of knitting needles to meet your needs. We carry KA Bamboo straight, circular, and double point needles in all sizes, Inox teflon coated aluminum needles in straight, circular & dp in all sizes, and Addi Turbo stainless needles in all sizes and also Sock Rockets.

This has the advantage to the member/vendor of being editable with little effort when products change, It also has the advantage to the member/buyer in that if she is looking for some type or brand in particular it is right there so it is easy to compare vendors’ pricing and availability.

And I forgot to mention: although there would be a lot of categories and subcategories, it will still be easy to search if these are defined in advance and preferred to the internal search engine. You don’t want vendors making up the category names, because that invites overdoing the number of categories, lots of “nothing found” results, as well as some mischief. Better to set them out in advance, and then if a vendor has an item that honestly doesn’t fit anywhere, it can be evaluated by the admin to see if it fits anywhere, and if not, then accommodated.

So here’s an example: If you were to work off my category tree on for the category YARN, that might be a start, but won’t include spinning, MK, or even within knitting it wouldn’t include yarns hand dyed by me, because I don’t do that. Likewise, you must start somewhere, but you wouldn’t want to just import all the HK subcategories because they are very detailed and overlap. The reason you don’t want to do this is because the indie dyers will get lost in the sheer quantity of listings (unless they are quite large like Liza Sousa, Miss Babs, Neighborhood Fibers, for example). In addition, the size of the subscribership does not at this time warrant a way to search for yarns by color, or gauge, or even fiber content right now. It might in the future.

Another example: I have a category for accessories that includes things like stitch markers, row counters & so forth. It does not include any sort of knitting machine-type accessory, such as a French knitter, or an Addi circular knitter, because I don’t do that. It would be better to have a Knitting Machine category to sort that out. But in my “Accessories” category there is a subcategory that includes shawl pins and other decorative items.

My point is that this can get very complicated and requires a lot of thought & planning. For example, Yarn is not a main category, unless you will give “Fiber” and “Fabric” their own categories (& whatever else might fall into that level).

By the way, I would be happy to assist in setting up these sorts of category trees for hand knitting & crochet, I also have knowledge of MK but know others who know more and might be willing to help. I honestly don’t know anything about spinning or dyeing so I cannot help with that. I am a sewer, but so many things have changed since I was in that business I would have to learn along with you.

Absolutely I would pay for this listing in addition to banner ads. No question about it. But again I would emphasize how important it is to get the category tree created very well in order to attract advertisers, and also to figure out a pricing mechanism. (I am a committed free market capitalist but in this case there really is no big enough market

Since PPC is not a current option that I see (ask tech admin for this) it would make sense to me to price this according to specificity, that is if I want to put my listing under the main category Yarn, and the subcategories were by brand, I would pay maybe $20/month for the yarn entry and $4 per month for each brand? I don’t know for certain, all I can do is compare this to what I spend on R.

If our Fiberkind website grows sufficiently, it will be worthwhile to code in PPC like the system in R, but it only includes yarns. (An advantage to being second!) Currently I spend between $125-300 per month on PPC ads on R at $0.25 each, and I can tell you a lot about how it works and doesn’t work for me.

Again, I would be very willing to help with this effort in a neutral manner–I have nothing against indie designers, dyers, knitters, or indie anything. The entire industry is in a huge upheaval right now, primarily because of technology. We need to look beyond that to what the industry will be in 7-10-15 years, because Fiberkind will be creating it.

Best, Laurel

PS: 3072000733

Agree we are no where near PPC making sense
I also am trying to promote the balance between good for suppliers and members - and yes very much a project that needs careful thought of there will be chaos later

As a starting point does the yellow page - classified ad make sense to you?

Hi Wheat, I’m not sure I am understanding your “yellow pages” model. The last time I used a phone directory like that was probably 3-5 years ago?

It had 1) an alpha organized listing of all businesses by name which is free to the vendor, 2) an alpha organized listing of categories (accountants, bakers, coffee shops, and so forth down to zithers) where the businesses listed paid a nominal fee for a line listing, and 3) display ads placed within the category which were priced per column inch like newspaper & magazine advertising.

I understand wanting to grab a metaphor that will be easily grasped by users. But I think if the model for this is based on a print medium, it will be very difficult to use in an electronic format, and would be a mistake to set it up this way. People who use the internet to any degree are already used to finding things on a category tree model, not in an alpha arrangement.

Maybe I’m completely misunderstanding your metaphor. If so please excuse. Here is how I see the difference. Lets say a customer is looking for a wool yarn to make a project for which she already has the pattern

Yellow Pages Model

Knitting Supplies

Alison’s store
(the customer visits Alison’s store)
and might or not find what she wants

Bettie’s store
(customer visits Bettie’s store
and might or not find what she wants

Carolyn’s store
customer visits Carolyn’s store
and might or not find what she wants … etx

Electronic Model

Knitting Supplies

Knitting needles > K needles by brand
> K needles by material > metal
> bamboo
> plastic
Knitting accessories > Stitch markers
> Row counters

Knitting Yarn > Yarn by brand
> Hand dyed yarn
> Yarn by fiber > Animal fibers > Wool
> Plant fibers < Cotton
> Blends

I’m sure as an experienced internet user you can see how much easier it is for a customer to find what she wants with the electronic category tree. Maybe I’m just not understanding your metaphor, if so please just chalk it up to the difficulty of expression/understanding in email or other written word. One thing I would point out is that display advertising is something that needs to be evaluated by the Tech Admin, because Fiberkind should not be responsible for the bandwidth charges that arise from pictures without payment.

It would be easier to discuss this on the phone–look in my last post- and if cost is a consideration I have a world-wide VOIP so I am happy to initiate the call. We just need to set up a phone date, and I am in Mountain Time USA. It might be easier to have a “go to meeting” type connection to include some other admins?

Please do check with the owner/admins to see what they think? I am happy to contribute time & knowledge to this effort. We have been an online retailer since 1996, so I have seen a lot of changes and improvements, and I have experience with the R model since 2007, so I know what works for vendors on that site.


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