What’s up at R.H. Lindsay?

Here we are in May holding down the fort at our warehouse in Canton, MA. After 30 years of dedicated and loving service, we closed our long time Philadelphia warehouse in late January which has been quite a change. With our aim to grow our offering along with the eager enthusiasm of the 4th Generation taking on the task, centralizing our warehouse into one facility made the most long term sense. We’ll miss our regular contact with long time Philadelphia agent and R.H. Lindsay Company’s longest serving family member John D. Lindsay, Jr. Uncle John has long been a key contributor to our success in Philadelphia.

After being the lead marketer and customer service provider for most of the last 30 years, imagine the feelings a father has when a customer calls and doesn’t ask for him but his daughter. Lucky for all of us the pride outweighs any other feelings of being relegated to the side lines. Phil has been riding on Grace’s coat tails for most of the last six months anyway. With a serious illness putting Phil in the hospital last September, not only was the marketing and customer outreach all Grace but so was most of the warehouse shipping.

So then what is happening now at R.H. Lindsay Company?

The biggest change in recent years is that we have two dyed lines, one Romney carded sliver and the other Corriedale combed top. Local dyer GJ Littlewoods closed as a result of Hurricane Ida, thereby cutting out the Romney line for now. We’ve been watching others make their choices and find answers but so far we’ve only been convinced to expand our Corriedale line to cover some of the popular Romney hues as best we can. Meanwhile we are slowly running out of an increasing number of Romney colors. If you’re interested in perhaps buying the rest of any shade please reach out and we’ll see what we can do.

Our specialty fiber inventory ranges from the finest whitest Mulberry sliver available down to a rogue bale of short Polypropolene that we CAN’T WAIT to be finally rid of sometime this year. Otherwise you may choose from lots of Tussah Silk, Bamboo, Young Adult mohair top, blue acrylic top and some dyed blue and yellow rayon fiber.

Wool-wise we have 5 U.S. combed wool tops available ranging from a 35 micron New Zealand to to a 19.5 Micron American Merino top. With 21.5 micron Rambouillet and 27.5 micron Falkland (Corriedale) top fill in our range. Naturally our 29.5 Micron Domestic Fleece Top is our #1 volume item. Our mind whirls when we try to guestimate how many million dryer balls have been made with this product.

We also carry a Natural Black Spanish Merino Comeback (25.7 micron this batch) top and a dyed black Spanish Merino Comeback (26.8 on the current batch) top to round out our combed top collection. These wool types recall the long history that Spain has had with the Merino sheep and how they continue to be part of the European wool landscape.

After our top line we have continued to build a line of American breed-specific carded slivers ranging from local Targee, super bulky Cheviot and Dorset wool, and southwestern Churro types. There are also a range of natural grey and off white shades in Cheviot and Churro breed types. This year we also added two Super Wash carded slivers, one 21.5 micron and the other 24.5 micron. They are beautiful products that we recovered from a closed worsted spinning mill. In fact if you want to do some more work and save money, both those products main ingredient are also available as 21.5 or 24.5 micron Wool laps.

Along with the white Superwash types we got from the mill, we also got a series of colored types ranging as fine as 18.5 micron. Some have sold immediately and others are waiting for you to scoop them up. We’ve learned a great lesson about buying worsted waste and handling it for resale.

We also have raw fleece in Romney and Cheviot available. We often post single fleeces for sale as well and they’re emerging as the wool season (spring) progresses. We’ve been fortunate to have some fantastic growers and local shearers bring us wool over the years. Phil has been curating them and they will be posted soon.

There was an open warehouse sale in Canton at the end of April and we were happy to see everyone who showed, even though the long-awaited nice weather hurt our turnout a bit. We’ll try to plan future events on cold rainy days where our cozy spot would be appreciated. That said we could choose to hold one in the height of summer as the warehouse tends to stay pretty cool.

As we head into the slow months of summer we have some items we are starting to feel we’ve been looking at for too long. Since we want to keep adding more products online and keep our website tidy, we’re looking to get rid of the last of the products we’re discontinuing. So keep an eye out for a late spring/early summer clearance sale.

We’ve always offered our products at what we consider a wholesale price to encourage small niche artisan and craft enterprises. To save folks looking for volume even more, we have a ‘bump’ price on just about every item we offer. Typically it is the weight of one unit of a product (a bag of silk, a ball of top, two bags of carded sliver, 30 pounds of loose wool) all aimed at this segment of the market.

One area where we haven’t addressed online before was pricing for shops. Getting our site to differentiate from a shop owner versus someone buying to produce a product has been a challenge. We’re on the edge of implementing an incentive for these shops. Basically if you make a commitment to buy at least 20 pounds of up to 10 products combined and you are located in a retail store we’ll pay the freight! The original order will take more than just clicking online and ordering as we’ll need to confirm your information before we give out a coupon code indicating you qualify for the ‘shop discount.’

Otherwise the issue we hear from folks most is the costs of delivery. Given we will sell you 1 pound of any product at the price listed on our web site the base profit we might expect from selling a pound is anywhere from $1.00 to maybe $7.00 for that pound. We always try to find the best deal to ship your orders, and pass along any savings to our customers. We’re working on even more alternatives to save you money, but like most business ventures even the simplest changes seem to come with unforeseen complications.

To help folks who might be considering a pound to try just to see if you’ll buy more we are offering Samplers. Typically they are 9 of our inventory items arranged in various themes ranging from source, breed, color, price or whatever creative arrangement we figure.

So you see we are working everyday to find new and easy ways to get our wool into your hands as prudently as possible. While there may be inflation driving up the price of commodities, one that hasn’t experienced renewed interest is wool. With China owning most of the wool textile industry, its recent struggles haven’t helped stoke their interest in wool. Meanwhile the cost of freight continues to rise with every jump in the cost of diesel fuel. So please be patient with us regarding the cost of shipping as we’re keenly aware and we’ll be happy to look for you to see what we might save on your order. So far we’ve maintained our prices in the face of super high freight bills, but that may have to change.

The best way to help us keep our prices low and save money is for you to buy more wool! We’ve only had a few days where your orders exceeded the time we had to pack them for shipment that day. Heading into summer we wouldn’t expect many days like that, but hey we’ve been in the wool business for 86 years and you know we’re still hopeful and enthusiastic for new sales. So help us have a great summer and we’ll keep finding great wool and fiber items for you and your business. We hope that sounds like a great deal for you too.