No more Addi needles

I received this email from the Hong Kong Addi distributor yesterday:

“Dear Ingrid,

Thank you for your payment and the previous orders. Unfortunately, I am sorry to tell you that I cannot supply you anymore the Addi Needle.

The Manufacturer of Addi Needle receives a lot of complaints from US distributors that there is online sale of the Addi Needle in USA. They have traced out the source and found that you are the supplier. Your online sale activity has ruined the market in US. As a responsible distributor in Hong Kong, I would take the responsibility to protect the market not only in Hong Kong but also in other countries. I am asked to stop supplying you the needles with immediate effect.

I would supply you again the Addi needles once your online sale activity stops. Thank you for your understanding and I am looking forward to doing business with you soon in the near future.

Very best rgds
Adrian Pong
Winsome Wool & Craft Co. Ltd”

There has been a lot of talk recently in the online knitting world about the exploitation of knitting designers inspired by this post by Annie Modesitt. I agree with Annie’s contentions, and after participating in the knitting industry for a couple of years, have noticed the inefficient archaic business practices throughout the industry that do not benefit knitting consumers.

It is absurd to suggest that my little online business has “ruined the market in the US” for Addi needles.   We literally store our  Addi needles in drawers under our bed. The existence of my business highlights the way in which Skacel has exploited their monopoly in the North American markets.  It seems that US wholesale prices for Addi needles are higher than the retail prices in Hong Kong.  All the products are produced in the same factory in Germany. There is a huge profit being made by Skacel, and they are adopting any means necessary to protect their market. Their price maintenance practices mean that many consumers worldwide are losing the opportunity to purchase good quality needles at reasonable prices.

Our family is fortunate, we weren’t relying on the Addi needle income to pay our rent.  We are planning to relocate to Australia in the new year (along with the yarn side of Yarn Workshop), and I had been approached by a potential buyer of the Hong Kong based needle business. Unfortunately, the value of the needle business has been destroyed by this predatory behaviour. Instead of selling that portion of my business, I am instead going to sell all the remaining stock of knitting needles at very significant discount.

The Hong Kong distributor was careful enough to send me their email immediately after I had received delivery of a large expensive order of new needles including Addi Click sets and Addi Lace needles. My decision to make this email public was motivated by my outrage at the facade of politeness that many in the knitting industry maintain while they engage in uncompetitive conduct.  I strongly believe in fair competition, and have not worked in any other industry where this style of conduct would be considered acceptable.  If you look at this post by Steve Elkins of Webs (scroll down the page), you will see that in the knitting needle market, this kind of behaviour is not isolated, and I believe that a lot of other participants have remained silent about their intimidation.

The whole knitting market, not just the pattern industry requires a shake up – so that profit is not stored solely in the hands of the yarn and knitting needle distributors. At present, companies like Skacel exploit inefficiencies in the model of distribution to their benefit.  Its a real shame, because many consumers have been priced out using good tools that really enhance their knitting experience. I’m interested to try Hiya Hiya needles – they are a new entrant in the market, and seem interested in offering quality at a reasonable price.

The old business model will inevitably be overcome by the forces of the market in an e-commerce world, and the demise of part of my business will be a hiccup along the way. If you think that Skacel need a nudge along the way into the modern world, or you feel that  you don’t want to pay an unnecessary premium on your Addi needles, try emailing karin@skacelknitting.com.


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travellersyarn

I can be contacted at travellersyarn at yahoo.com

15 thoughts on “No more Addi needles”

  1. oh my g*d! this is just outrageous! i never knew…
    and i’m sorry that it has to impacted the value of your business.
    i will try emailing…
    meanwhile, i wish you all good things on your move to Australia!

  2. omg! How incredibly weird .. outrageous.. ridiculous of them. I can only sit here and think .. Seriously ?? Totally unacceptable behaviour from them. Mind you .. that they are trying to intimidate you like this could also mean that they view you as serious competition.. which has got to feel good on some level, even if they are being seriously ridiculous.

    I am glad, for one, to hear of you, your family and yarnworkshop returning to Australia 🙂

  3. Even if you hadn’t said it yourself, I simply cannot believe one online business can have a “serious” impact on the sales of Addi needles in the US. What a shame this has impacted on your business.

  4. Extraordinary. Thanks for writing this down, for letting us blind consumers gain some insights and make some choices about where our $ go. I wish Addi would get into the debate too.

    Stupid stuff really. Hope there are no repercussions for you in speaking out, but I am sure many of us will back you no matter what. You run a great business Ingrid.

  5. long time follower, first time commenter (sorry for my bad english !).

    Wow… I mean… WOW. What kind of small company are they to say that a single online supplier “ruined the market” ? Such a small market isn’t worthy then :D. This is such a bad way to interact with competitors, i’m disgusted.

    I’m from france, so I did not know skacel (it’s not distributed here), but I will email them and they can be sure that they won’t get my money or any order from me in the future either. And they are so stupid, I mean : I read a lot of US yarn blogs, and everyone seems to care about good vibes in the creative world. Do they (skacel) really want to know about the barbra streisand or the ralph lauren effect ? I hope that their shameless behaviour will be widely known among the yarn blogs !

  6. Ugh. How frustrating. I wonder what Skacel has to say about this. It almost sounds like this 3rd person is writing a letter to place the blame on the big corporate entity for something that is causing them problems, rather than accept responsibility themselves. This almost angers me more than the original letter. What – they think we can’t read between the lines? UGH.

    I’m sorry for how this is affecting you. : (

  7. You did not “ruin” Skacel’s market; Skacel did, by setting up an unsustainable pricing structure. It’s time they figured out that they live in a global economy with free access to lots of market information. While I certainly support your right to do business, I would also support LYSs all over the world (and especially in North America) that used their economic power to take Skacel down a knotch. I am not buying Skacel needles or yarns until their policies and prices are in line with the rest of the world.

  8. This is really unfair!! I couldnt afford to buy Skacel since their price is very expensive ( converted to my currencies). They also sell online, try googling… you will find them everywhere but none effort to push sales as you or any other distributors in Hongkong and others.

    Skacel totally unfair… The postage fee, the price itself very expensive. I think Skacel also should be banned from selling online!!

  9. I’ve been in the online knitting community a relatively long time and this comes up again and again. Even on Ravelry, Mr Skacel has done a lot of spin doctoring his reasons for behaving in such an aggressive and predatory way with all of his international competitors.

    There is of course, only one single reason for this kind of bullying tactics. Greed.

    Ruined the US market – my arse.

  10. I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF ALL THE BIG GUY’S NOT THINKING THEY LIVE IN A FREE WORLD. I WILL NEVER BUY THERE PRODUCT. YES GREED.
    JANIS

  11. I for one, prefer knitting with Hiya Hiya circular needles. Their joins and cables are smooth and they are considerably less expensive than Addi’s.

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