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  Sunday, March 8, 2015

5:00–6:00 p.m.


Location: Seattle One
Meet the Yarn Market News team and receive your registration packet and gift bag.

6:30–8:30 p.m.


Cocktail Reception & Welcome Address
Location: Atrium
Sponsored by Skacel Collection
Come by our opening reception to kick off the conference and enjoy appetizers, cocktails, music, and great conversation with your fellow attendees—this is the perfect time to network. Wear your nametag on your favorite handmade garment!


Monday, March 9, 2015

7:30–8:45 a.m.


Location: Salons F–G
Sponsored by Bryson Distributing


8:45–9:00 a.m.


Opening Announcement
Erin Slonaker, Editor in Chief of YMN


9:00–10:15 a.m.


Marketing for a New Economy: People, Price, and Positioning
Tara Gentile
Location: Washington Ballroom
It’s time to tell a new story. The competition is stiff, the reasons people buy are evolving, and price is continually a sticking point. The good news is that you can choose to see this as an opportunity. Tara will share strategies for approaching your people, price, and positioning that help you stand out in the local market, build a presence online, and turn casual customers into loyal brand evangelists.


10:15–10:30 a.m.


Morning Break

10:30–11:45 a.m.


Stop Giving Away Your Store: End the Cash Drain and Know Your Numbers for Ultimate Profit
Cathy Wagner
Location: Washington Ballroom
Cathy went from almost bankrupt to owning 3 thriving stores making more than $2.5 million in sales. You want to know how to be more successful and profitable in your business? She’ll tell you how. Through a mix of stories and education you will learn simple, actionable and thought provoking steps for immediate real-world application to questions such as “What numbers do I have to pay attention to get more profit?” “What one thing do I have to do to increase my cash flow?” and “What’s the secret to moving more inventory faster than ever?”


11:45–1:00 p.m.


Networking Luncheon
Location: Atrium
Sponsored by Classic Elite Yarns
Choose a table based on the topic you’d like to discuss, and use the provided questions (or not) to spark a conversation with your fellow tablemates. Take some notes, as we’ll ask you to share your findings with the group after lunch.


1:00–1:30 p.m.


Networking discussion: Lessons learned 


1:30–2:45 p.m.


Experience Engineering: The Art and Science of Delivering Exceptional Experiences Every Customer Every Time
Matthew Hudson, Rick Segel Group
Location: Washington Ballroom
In today’s ultra-competitive environment, it’s no longer enough to satisfy customers by meeting their expectations—you must EXCEED them. Based on customer feedback and research conducted by Rick Segel & Associates, this session will give you tips on how to engineer an experience for your customers that will make them come back again and again. After this session, you will be able to: Understand the negative impact on your business simply meeting expectations can have; define your company product that makes you stand out from the rest; describe 3 ways to link your company product to your business to make your store a local legend.
Your company product is not what you are selling, it’s what the customer is paying for—and there is a huge difference. Discover the magic that happens when you define your company product and weave it into the fabric of your company culture. This session is based on Matthew’s book Culturrific!


2:45–3:00 p.m.


Mid-Afternoon Break


3:00–4:15 p.m.


7 Golden Rules for Building a Creative Community

Nora Abousteit, Founder and CEO,
Location: Washington Ballroom
Building a community for your store is as important as publicizing the latest sale. As a store owner, you provide more than just yarn, needles, and hooks: you offer a space for creators to come and find their creativity. Nora Abousteit, a renowned community expert and founder of and, is here to share her insights from over a decade of community building, both on- and offline.


6:30–9:30 p.m.


Gala Dinner & Keynote Address: Small Business for Big Thinkers
Cynthia Kay
Location: Snoqualmie Ballroom
Sponsored by Westminster Fibers
Today’s small business owners need to “think big” and leverage their unique characteristics. It’s a simple, but often misunderstood, fact. A small, entrepreneurial enterprise is not just a scaled-down version of a big business. In fact, some of the strategies that work well for larger companies may actually be counterproductive for smaller, innovative firms. Cynthia offers proven strategies to run a better business that are unconventional. She also provides a roadmap for companies looking to expand their businesses. Cynthia’s down-in-the-trenches stories, along with those from other small-business CEOs and big-business experts, illustrate how to connect in powerful ways with customers and win them over! She’ll discuss how to: Create an organization that is operationally efficient, creative and entrepreneurial; think like a big business when it comes to operations; position your organization and learn to brag; make a choice to get bigger or stay small; create a great workspace that that attracts new customers; and more!


  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

7:30–8:30 a.m.


Location: Snoqualmie Ballroom
Sponsored by Universal Yarns


8:30 a.m.


Opening Annoucement
Erin Slonaker, Editor in Chief of YMN


8:30–9:45 a.m.


Tell Your Own Story: Express Your Brand Image in Your Store Environment
Debi Ward Kennedy
Location: Washington Ballroom
Learn how to literally envelop your customers in the brand experience that only YOU can offer through the choices you make in regard to your store’s appearance. Discover the how-tos of making brand-centric and budget-wise choices for your display props, fixtures, lighting, decor, signage, marketing, and more. Retail Visual Designer Debi Ward Kennedy will share loads of information, resources, and inspiration, giving you tools for success!


9:45–10:00 a.m.


Morning Break


10:00–11:00 a.m.


Let’s Talk About Visual Impact
Debi Ward Kennedy
Location: Washington Ballroom
Do you have a particularly difficult challenge in your store when it comes to product display or storage? Are your window displays or floor layout causing sleepless nights? Are you unable to choose a paint color for your walls? Retail Visual Designer Debi Ward Kennedy wants to hear YOUR questions about retail merchandising, display, and store design! Take a picture or two of the areas in your store that have you stumped, then send them in to Erin Slonaker before the conference—along with a short description of the problem and the question that’s been burning a hole in your brain. Deb will share your pics and questions in her second session, and provide you with answers, resources, and ideas for solving your dilemma. Don’t miss this chance to get actionable solutions for your problems from a retail visual expert!


11:00–11:15 a.m.


Mid-Morning Break


11:15–12:30 p.m.


A Decidedly Low-Tech Future: Why “handcrafted” is the new word in innovation
Janna Stark, Trend Consultant for Promostyl
Let’s take a look at some of the major macro-trends for 2015-16, the inspirations behind these trends as well as important marketing insights. How is the knitwear industry affected by all of this, and what major design trends are we going to see this year? Most importantly, why is the handcrafted industry is at the top of its game right now, and is it going to stay there?! Find out what your customers will be wanting and how to appeal to them in interesting and creative ways. Join Janna Stark for this informative and inspiring seminar and discussion.


12:30 p.m.


Boxed Luncheon and Closing Comments

Erin Slonaker, Editor in Chief of YMN


1:00 p.m.


Yarn Crawl to Local Yarn Shops

The bus will leave the hotel at 1 p.m. promptly.