The Next Generation of Gallers

On March 19th, 2012, posted in: Inspirations by

 

Inca Eco

Welcome to the first stop on the Joseph Galler Inca-Eco Blog Tour beginning today, March 19th through April 2nd (please check below for the full tour schedule).

What’s better than owning a yarn shop? For Star Galler, the third generation, it is about continuing the dream her grandfather Joseph started in 1951 with Joseph Galler Yarns. Joseph died in 1993, at the age of 92, passed the business to his son Henry and now  Henry’s daughter Star has come to the forefront to continue the tradition.

We thought  it would be nice to get to know Star and the Galler family a little better.

Have you been involved with the business all your life?
I’ve always been involved with the yarn business.  As a child, everyday that I wasn’t in school, my father brought me to Galler Yarns to be with my grandfather.  My parents also own a yarn company.
I have many memories of playing with a taxidermy bunny, the Belangor rabbit, in my grandfather’s office.  Sometimes I would help out by stamping envelopes for mailings or emptying my grandfather’s teletype machine.  I also remember roller skating around the offices, which were located in a 10,000 square foot space in Manhattan.
How about your college years?
I went to Brandeis for undergrad and I have my MA in Literature from Colgate.  I’ve worn many different hats, from being a personal trainer to the art director of a magazine to being in a metal band.  But in the end, I was drawn back to Galler Yarns.
Since yarn is such an integral factor in your life, do you knit or crochet?
I’ve been surrounded by yarn all of my life, and my grandmother was constantly knitting and making me things.  I’m always falling in love with yarn – the different fibers, colors, and textures – and I wish I could say my own knitting is as perfect as my grandmother’s was!  These days, I’m more likely to express my creativity through my painting than through knitting.
Does Galler Yarns plan on expanding the line or keeping things as they are?
We’ve just added two new yarns, Inca Eco and Asana Bulky, to the Galler Yarns line.  Later this year, we’ll be adding five new colors of Heather Prime Alpaca, more colors to Asana Bulky, and solid colors to Peruvian Tweed.  I’m always open to suggestions for new colors and yarns, and we hope to keep expanding our line as we grow.
Most of your yarns come from Peru and Europe. How have the rising costs of transportation and production effected the company?
As a yarn importer, we have definitely been impacted by rising costs.  Our yarns come from Peru as well as France, England, and South Africa.  Besides transportation costs, we’ve been hit by the declining buying power of the dollar.  Also, mills and dyers have been going out of business, and the ones that remain open are increasing the minimum orders for each color lot.  This makes it more difficult to maintain a diverse line.
At the same time, we want to keep the high quality standards that our yarns are known for.  There are cheaper yarns available, but the finishing and quality is terrible.  It’s also important to us to keep the yarns affordable.  One of the ways we do this is by not accepting credit cards.  Although this can be tough for some of the retailers we work with, we can pass along the 5% savings, and keep order minimums low.
Now that you have brought the company out of the dark ages and into the world of social media, will this effect how you do business? The greatest thing about JG was that for a lot of items we could order on an as needed, or per skein basis. Will this be changing?
No, we’re not going to change that – we’re keeping the low minimums.  We want retailers to be able to buy our yarn without a lot of hoopla.  We have no plans to be an e-tailer.  Our goal with social media is to get the brand name out there so we can bring together a community of people using our yarn and drive them into your stores.
Since you are an accomplished artist, how is this affecting your time to paint/create and juggle a company?
Well… the business has been somewhat detrimental to my personal artistic voyage, but I feel lucky and honored to be able to inherit this company and my grandfather’s legacy.  I’m getting a lot of joy and confidence from running this business, and I get to meet so many creative people — artisans in a different field, using products that I’m choosing to apply their creative talents in a different way than I usually do.  I do have some work in an upcoming book, some shows on the horizon, and you can also see some of my work on my website.  It may take me a little longer to get to the Met this way, but it is worth it.

Star thank you for sharing this with us. We think your grandfather is smiling from above and beaming with pride. We would also like to thank you and Marie for inviting us to be a part of the next chapter of  Joseph Galler Yarns.

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With each generation comes change and infusing a younger perspective into a very long lived established company is all it takes.  This year for Joseph Galler Yarns, means a new website, an introduction into social media with a Facebook page , a blog and a Ravelry page.  As Star mentions, they are also introducing two new yarns to their existing portfolio: Inca-Eco a 100% Organic Cotton (140 yds) in 15 ”requested colors” made with low impact, eco friendly dyes and Asana Bulky, 50% superfine alpaca/50% Peruvian Highland Wool (140 yds) in 5 tri-tone shades.  Before we can venture into the new, let’s take a quick step back a few years.

In The Loop was first introduced to the Joseph Galler line four years ago by their rep, Susan Shabo. This was not a hard sell by any means. One touch of the Galler Peruvian Tweed and their Heather Prime Alpaca (both 100%  superfine Alpaca) was all it took, along with introducing us to a very talented designer, Champagne Maker, aka Stitch Poet and one very infamous pattern called the Wrapigan.

The Wrapigan, knit with Galler Peruvian Tweed, was a huge favorite here at the shop and was auctioned off to benefit the American Cancer Society

Stitch Poet's Wrapigan

Then came the Simon Cowl  (also from Stitch Poet),  in Galler’s Heather Prime Alpaca. This sample has seen quite a few functions outside the shop. We  never know who’s going to “borrow  it”.

Simon Cowl

Followed by our most popular sweater to date: The Boyfriend Sweater. The Boyfriend Sweater is our version of a thirty year old Reyonld’s pattern. A super quick knit with one strand of Galler Peruvian Tweed and (1) strand of Frog Tree Chunky. The perfect “go to” sweater for our New England weather.

The Boyfriend Sweater

We also carry Cupcake, now renamed Adorable, (hmm.. wonder why the name changed) which makes the most luxurious baby items. The recommendation for this Alpaca Silk blend is to knit it as a worsted weight yarn on size 7 needles, but we find the stitch definition is more suited to a 5 or 6 needle.

Cupcake/Adorable

…and we saved the most luxurious for last, Galler’s Belangor. Our skeins are “served”  in a beautiful glass bowl. This 100% French Angora Rabbit Hair is pure heaven against your skin.

New Englanders are fickle and with our unusually abnormal, non-existent winter, our customers are in search of spring/summer cottons and linens much earlier than expected.  This was a perfect time for Joseph Galler to release their new line of Eco Cotton, a textured thick and thin cross between Classic Elite’s Sprout line and Blue Sky Alpaca’s Organic Worsted Cotton. Every Friday during the tour Galler Yarns will be releasing  free patterns for the Eco Cotton on their blog site.

For those of you anxious to try some of the new Inca Eco, Galler Yarns has been kind enough to send us a sample skein for some  test knitting and we were happy to take it for a test drive.

Some last words from Star:

There were only a handful of yarn companies in the country when my grandfather started Galler Yarns.  He had a really big personality, and a lot of the owners of the older shops knew my grandfather. We’re a real family business.  You will always get me or my parents on the phone if you call.  We have a 97 year old woman who helps out part-time shipping orders – she has worked with my parents for over 35 years!  We provide very personalized service and have an open door for suggestions from our retailers.  We’re not a big corporation, but just a boutique yarn company.  Galler Yarns is really a special place with a lot of love.

We wish Star and her family continuing success!

Blog Tour Schedule provided by Joseph Galler Yarns

Monday, March 19 – Day 1 - In the Loop in Norfolk, MA (shop website)

Tuesday, March 20 – Day 2 - Knit Purl Gurl

Wednesday, March 21 – Day 3 - FreshStitches

Thursday, March 22 – Day 4 - Crafty Is Cool

Friday, March 23 – Day 5 - Cute Crochet Chat

Saturday, March 24 – Day 6 - Redshirt Knitting

Sunday, March 25 – Day 7 - CraftSanity

Monday, March 26 – Day 8 - Craft Gossip with JD Wolfe

Tuesday, March 27 – Day 9 - Crafting a Green World with Julie Finn

Wednesday, March 28 – Day 10 - Crazy for Ewe in Leonardtown and La Plaza, MD (shop website)

Thursday, March 29 – Day 11 - Crochet Concupiscence

Friday, March 30 – Day 12 - KRW Knitwear Studio

Saturday, March 31 – Day 13 - About.com with Sarah E. White
Sunday, April 1 – Day 14 - Underground Crafter
Monday, April 2 – Day 15 - Monarch Knitting and Quilts in Pacific Grove, CA (shop website)

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