I want to a meet and greet last night with Damo (aka Damian Young) from Australian Country Spinners (yarn manufacturers and distributors here in Oz of brands like Patons, Cleckheaton etc) and a bunch of local knitters. What a fun night! We chatted, got a little bit of goss, knitted, ate yummy nibbles and basically just hung out with a fun group of like minded individuals.
Damo is normally based in Melbourne, but whenever he's in town to visit retailers and do business he organises these meet ups. I think it's great, not just because he's nice company to hang out with but it's good to see a company that engages with its customers. There is a lot of two way exchange that can happen if you are interested and active in the community that your customers have formed.
It works both ways, they get feedback and ideas from the community but then knowing that they are engaging and taking a genuine interest also makes us feel more positive about them as a company. Not just as a cynical marketing exercise, but really showing an interest like these guys do. As a fairly new knitter there are lots of brands I haven't yet tried, but I'll certainly be looking for Damo's brands in the future.