We are joined on the blog this week by Yonca Ozbelli of Universal Yarns.
Tell us a little bit about how your company started.
We are founded in 2005 by Hal Ozbelli, when he moved to Charlotte, NC from Turkey to start our yarn company. He had two suitcases with him, one had his personal belongings and the other has the color cards and yarn samples! 11 years later, it is the American dream come true! 2016 marks our 11th year in business.
What sort of products do you specialize in?
Our focus has been to provide customers with quality and affordable yarns from day one. We have a wide range of products, from extra fine merino wool to cotton to linen to blends to acrylic, and with 6 brands under the Universal Yarn umbrella; Fibra Natura houses natural fiber yarns, Wisdom Yarns is for the sock yarns as well as the Poems line, NG Garden is our 100% Egyptian mercerized cotton line, Rozetti Yarns is where you can find our fashion forward yarns and our main line Universal Yarn is the home of our Deluxe, Bamboo Pop, Classic Shades, Cotton Supreme, Uptown lines and more. We have a yarn that would match with any knitter’s need.
What products do you have new for Fall?
We have added a new washable wool tweeds , both in worsted and DK weight to our Deluxe line. Both weights come in 14 colors, and they work great with their solid color counterparts. We also added a baby yarn, 60% superwash merino, 40% antipill acrylic in 30 solid colors and 12 multis. It is soft, washable and great for kids projects ( and adult projects too!). Major ( 100 % acrylic) is another addition which is a chunky shading yarn in 18 colors. Great for ponchos, cardigans and blankets.
What are some of your best selling items?
Some of our best selling items are our Deluxe Worsted ( 100 % wool) , Bamboo Pop ( 50% cotton, 50% bamboo), Cotton Supreme ( 100% cotton), Classic Shades ( 75% acrylic, 25% wool), Uptown ( 100% anti pill acrylic) and Flax ( 100% linen)
What is your personal favorite (yarn, pattern, or accessory)?
I love all our yarns, they would not have been a part of our line if we did not love them. It is hard to pick a favorite, it is almost asking to choose your favorite child! Our 10th year anniversary yarn Universe is one of my favorite yarns though, as it is Amy Gunderson’s and my baby – we developed this yarn from scratch so it has a special place in our hearts.
My favorite pattern is our all color sweater made from all 139 colors of Deluxe Worsted. There is a story attached to this pattern – I wanted to show all colors of our deluxe line at the 2014 TNNA summer show and asked Amy to come up with a project that would showcase this line. 4 weeks later she walked into my office with this beautiful color work sweater that was just breathtaking. It is still one of the most popular item for the trunk shows to date.
How do you develop new products?
We pay attention to fashion trends and cycles but also work closely with our mill in Turkey to develop unique products that will excite knitters.
What inspires you to create something new?
Current fashion – silhouettes are always changing, as well as the color stories and fabrics. We also try to create things that we love and enjoy to wear.
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