Love Your LYS: Fringe Supply Co.
Karen Templer is a former graphic designer, author, and Web developer who has been blogging about knitting since late 2011, and launched her LYS, Fringe Supply Co., at the end of 2012. She and her husband moved from Berkeley to Nashville, Tennessee, in the summer of 2014, where Fringe has been thriving ever since.
What is it like to make it your life’s work to curate craft products and bring them to a passionate audience?
It’s a dream come true. I’m very blessed to get to do what I do every day. It also means so much to me to be able to have an impact on other lives. The products I make help create jobs here in the United States with good wages and working conditions. And the non-Fringe goods I sell come from other small makers whose businesses I admire, and being able to support them in return, is incredibly gratifying.
How have the Internet and social media driven or impacted your work?
The Internet has everything to do with my very existence. If my only option were to open a brick-and-mortar store, I’d be restricted to selling what the people in my geographic area are looking for, which would be problematic, since my goods target a pretty specific customer and aesthetic. Being an online business, I’m free to make and gather the things I find compelling and then seek out like-minded customers wherever they may be. Likewise, my customers find me through my blog or my Instagram feed rather than passing by on the street. So it’s an entirely different ballgame, for sure.
Running any sort of small business in this age requires you to be good at lots of things that might not have mattered in the past—photography, written communication, conveying a personality through an online presence. Fortunately, I’m more comfortable in writing than I am in person.
What do you love most about the industry?
There’s an incredible spirit of collaboration, even amid the competition. You see competitors collaborating all the time—a yarn-company owner designing a pattern for a yarn store that sells their own competing yarn, etc. I think we pretty much all want to grow the audience and raise the profile and perception of knitting, and working together is a great way to accomplish that. I’ve made such amazing friendships through working with others in this business.
What do you want your customers to take away from your work?
That high-quality, ethically made, beautiful, long-lasting tools and accessories are worth investing in—that they make the whole process more pleasing on so many levels.