Wednesday, November 7

Poppygate

What was intended as a "fall project" for TJ and I has blossomed into a red and black media explosion. Back in August TJ suggested we do a November 11 window display at Yarns on York, and Knit Poppies to give (for a donation) to folks in the store. Honestly we assumed knitters would want the pattern for the poppy more than the knit item itself. Boy were we WRONG.





As several lovely local knitters began to knit the "A poppy for Remembrance" pattern by Laura Chau they also started to post on Facebook, tweet, and use Ravelry to display their poppy projects, this is how word spread and the poppyrazzi began!
















Awesome Photo Credit : http://www.kandisebrown.com/2012/10/poppies-for-remembrance-fredericton-photographer-kandise-brown/

The first media outlet to pay us any mind was CTV’s Andy Campbell. He did a story on Friday Nov 2nd and it was aired that evening. Here’s the transcript of that piece.

From that point we, via Yarns on York and Trish, were informed the Legion held either a trademark or patent or copyright (and we’re still not sure which) on the poppy and that we were not allowed to be doing what we were. By this point the store was getting so many requests for Poppies, we couldn’t keep up with the demand, and were continually selling out.

On Monday a Legion rep was interviewed and that story also aired on CTV. During this interview local business owner and one of Konrad’s favourite people Stephanie said a little blurb that really captured the sentiment of what we were doing.

“I like the knitted poppy because I can wear it and likely will wear it longer than a traditional poppy,” she says. She also says she can’t understand the legion’s position on the project.

“Embrace a member of the community that’s trying to do something that’s really good, with no profit to themselves,” says Shipley.

“Their time, their overhead, the materials, everything is being donated and they’re going to walk down to the legion with a fistful of money to say ‘Here, help our veterans.’ I think that should be embraced by our Royal Canadian Legion.”

That night we decided to stop making and accepting donations for the poppies as the focus was shifting from Vets to semantics.

The next day the official news came that we were to stop ‘poppy production’ in the form of a visit from a local, and seemingly embarrassed, local Legion member. All this was aired on CTV once again. At the beginning of this video you can see a bit of TJ’s window display!

Although it seems this story is over media coverage continues. Global has run two pieces, we were discussed on CBC's Maritime Noon and we're on the front page of the Daily Gleaner today (sidebar).

We also have coverage from a St. John Country radio station CHSJ. They have been the first to address the real question. Who gets the money (Over $1,000 at this point) which was raised to support local Veterans.

"The Legion has said they will accept the $800+ the knitters raised, but Campbell says they'll now discuss whether they'll donate the money to Fredericton's veterans' hospital or to a specific legion division. Regardless, she says 100% of the money raised will go to vets."

Finally, I saw this morning Yahoo Canada News has run a piece as well, which not only speaks to our little campaign, but also how the knit Poppy is embraced in other Commonwealth countries.

As for now, we’re getting an overwhelming amount of requests from supporters all over North America who want to order poppies! In fact, one Niagra Falls woman paid over $17 to have her poppy sent Xpress post so she would have it to wear on Remembrance Day.

TJ, Trish and I met last night and made the final decision of what our next steps will be.
  • All proceeds will still go to support local Veterans through a donation to the Vets wing of the Dr. Everett Chalmers hospital.
  • As of today any person wanting to purchase a knit poppy will be put in touch with a local yarn store.
  • As of today any person who has ordered a knit poppy will receive it, and will be asked to make a donation to a local Vets charity and not send the donation directly to us.


1 comment:

wickedstitches said...

wow!! great synpopsis, Meredith.