The average lifespan of a small business is 8.5 years. Jennings Yarn & Needlepoint will be in business for 50 years in 2022. Christina Jennings took over the reins 35 years ago from her family, and her attention to detail and high standards are the keys to this business’s longevity. “I am passionate about what I do, and it’s not ‘just a yarn shop.’ Every single item in my shop has been hand-picked by me. I strive to carry only high-quality products that I believe in,” says Christina.
Meet Christina Jennings
Christina graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Architecture in 1982. She worked for several years in the field before deciding to take over when her mom was ready to retire. Christina had worked at Jennings Yarn & Needlepoint through college and after during downtimes. “My parents had always involved me in the buying aspects, so I had a lot of experience before committing to taking over. I can’t say it was my passion at first, but I would say it grew on me as I made the business my own,” explains Christina.
As La Conner blossomed in the mid-eighties, Christina took Jennings Yarn & Needlecrafts in a bit of a different direction by going more upscale-getting into hand-dyed yarns and designer yarns. “I found I loved the creative aspect, and not only was I good at knitting but had a good sense of color and design. I also began designing my patterns, so I guess I’m still building things,” says Christina.
Extensive Collection of Yarn
Jennings Yarn & Needlecrafts has an extensive yarn collection, including merino wools, cashmere, alpaca, silk, cotton, and more. Most of the yarns Christina imports from Italy, Germany, Spain, South America, and Japan. Jennings Yarn & Needlecrafts also carry cross stitch and needlepoint, buttons, and scissors.
The best-selling yarns are merino wools and cashmere because they are incredibly soft and gorgeous hand-dyed yarn.
More than Yarn
In recent years Christina has expanded into gift lines from England and Ireland and now also carries several lines of babywear, sizes newborn to 6. The popular baby clothes are from European clothing lines that are high quality, fashion-forward, and eco-conscious. “A line of coasters, cards, and mugs from Ireland from Thomas Joseph and the Herdy line from England are also hot sellers, very popular with visitors,” says Christina.
Fun & Challenging
Christina enjoys meeting people from all over and helping to brighten their day while also sharing her expertise to help customers with their projects. Her goal with each customer is to make sure they have a positive experience in Jennings Yarn & Needlecrafts and purchase products that will continue to brighten their days. Christina loves surrounding herself with beautiful colors of yarn all day and enjoys sharing these colorful yarns. “I enjoy the visitors that are enjoying their day in La Conner and are intrigued by my shop, even if they are not knitters. Many people have never been to a specialty yarn shop, and they are amazed at the offerings. They often leave with a finer appreciation of the craft of hand knitting,” says Christina.
The most challenging part of the business is the budgeting and the decision-making. “There are plenty of lean times, so knowing what to expect after so many years is helpful, but things are constantly changing, and what worked a few years ago might be different now,” explains Christina. And she is always up for the challenge of keeping up with trends and trying new products.
Christina is grateful to have survived the shutdown and is enthusiastic about the business as people have been happy to be out shopping again. “I am kind of rebranding as I approach year 50. I am building up my imported gifts lines, and, having returned recently from the market, have decided to expand the children’s clothing department as well,” says Christina
You can shop online at Jennings Yarn & Needlecrafts 24/7 or visit their waterfront location at 612 South First Street.