by Wayne Smith, Marketing Manager, Trupp HR.
From your first visit to Knit Purl in the heart of Portland’s cultural district, amid vivid swaths of inviting yarns and artfully displayed fashion-forward project samples, you are immersed in a remarkably serene and energizing shopping experience. Each skein begs for your touch, each display inspires, and each color floods your mind with possibilities. This is certainly not your neighborhood craft store and Darcy Cameron, Knit Purl’s business savvy owner, has deliberately imagined it so.
Darcy sits across from me perfectly poised with a comfortable yet elegant candor, her personality, the perfect reflection of the store. Clearly, her success is no accident. Just a few moments in her presence and you sense that everything she has accomplished has been by careful design.
Eight years ago, Darcy opened Knit Purl with the intent of bringing sophistication to the fiber industry, elevating the craft to appeal to the discriminating tastes of fashion and design enthusiasts. “I felt that I had something to offer that wasn’t yet in the industry,” Darcy says in a matter of fact tone. “ I thought I could bring a different design sensibility and that’s what we set out to do.”
Knit Purl was a colossal success and, over time, product demand grew–precipitating the need for an online store. Knit Purl’s continued growth eventually led to the launching of their signature Shibui Knits brand of luxurious, high-quality yarns distributed to stores across the US. The two entities, working in tandem, represent a unique presence in the fiber craft industry, offering a curated collection of hand knitting products for customers who take their craft seriously and desire an exceptional outcome.
Over the last eight years, Knit Purl has experienced accelerated growth and now employs about twenty team members. Along with their success came an escalated level of stress and responsibility associated with being an employer. The increasing complexity of human resource related activities fell outside the scope of Knit Purl’s staff expertise, pulling people away from core business responsibilities. It soon became evident that support for the HR function was required.
After considering other HR service providers in the area, Darcy got in touch with Trupp HR and found an instant connection with the personalities, strategic focus, and leadership style. At the start, Trupp HR was brought on to provide guidance with an employee relations issue. After successfully navigating Knit Purl’s leadership through the difficult situation, they opted to retain Trupp HR through their HR Outsourcing service. Trupp HR’s three-pronged approach to outsourcing includes high-level strategic development, compliance and administrative support, and an HR representative on site who handles the tactical deployment of HR services. After an initial HR Audit designed to assess employment practices, Trupp HR set out to address gaps in Knit Purl’s HR function. An early priority was to align Knit Purl’s people strategy with their business objectives. Individual performance objectives were tied to company goals and communicated, giving employees clarity around how to effectively perform their job functions. The two business entities were tied together in a way that fostered greater cooperation and leadership was united around a single purpose. “When you start out as a smaller company and you get to be a bigger company, some vestiges of very informal behavior follow you,” Darcy confides. “You just don’t realize that the way you are communicating and the way you’re acting is too informal, and you need to formalize it. That was one of the big takeaways from the training: how to accomplish that. That was very helpful.”
Examples of Trupp HR Contributions at Knit Purl
- Strategic Planning
- Recruiting & On-Boarding
- Employee Relations & Separation
- Compensation Study
- Executive Coaching
- Team Building
- Employee Handbook
- Organizational Development
- Benefits Administration
- Creation of Job Descriptions
- Performance Management Program
- Staff Newsletter
Employees at Knit Purl now enjoy a work environment that facilitates productivity with the right people in each role. Leadership communicates with more purpose and is focused on core business.The entire team benefits from having an onsite HR resource to handle employment and compliance issues and preemptively mitigate complex issues before they escalate or create tension in the work environment. As Darcy puts it, “In all of our dealings with Trupp HR, things that could have been very stressful became not stressful–and that’s what I think about when I think about [Trupp HR]. I think about people who make my job less complicated.”
Knit Purl’s future is bright with promise. Having clearly defined business objectives that translate to individual roles, leaders who are trained to facilitate an engaged workforce and a highly-functional outsourced HR model in place to handle compliance issues and employment concerns; Knit Purl’s leadership team is free to focus on expanding the business. Knit Purl now has a scalable employment model and is well-positioned for continued success.