"I'd Make That." My Pinterest board of Knitted Garments and Details that Stoke My Creative Fire
I recently visited a handful of yarn shops in New South Wales Australia. The trip reinforced previous observations I’ve made on yarn shop visits elsewhere in Australia. Some shops really have it together, and have been following the “new world of knitting.” By this I mean using all the tools the internet has to offer, especially Ravelry and Pinterest. Other shops are struggling to enter this new world. For example, one shop I visited would not purchase my shawlsticks because her customers were all older ladies who just knit capes for the nursing homes. I think this shop owner has become a victim to her customers. If she had exciting shop models of shawls and sweaters in her shop that one just couldn’t resist making, she would be on her way to having more creative fun with her customers. She could go a long way to fostering community with her customers, and could even use her older customers as ambassadors to help encourage the younger generation get their creative fire on.
In the five years I have spent in Australia, I have found a surprising number of people who have never heard of Ravelry. It is an amazing resource for anyone interested in yarn. Their “About” description states: Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content here is all user- driven; we as a community make the site what it is. Ravelry is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in our forums. As a yarn shop owner, taking advantage of the Ravelry Library feature, and joining the shop owner’s groups would be especially helpful. You can find tutorials to help you get going, and you can join the online pattern sales feature for your shop. Having a computer or tablet in your shop which your customers can have access to is a good idea.They can have access to the “creative fire” and can make decisions which enable them to buy on the spot.
Other ways you can foster a more creative community and keep customers coming back would be to start a loyalty club. If you are hesitant to offer monetary discounts, try offering extra time with an instructor after a class. Make a one skein project section in your shop so that customers can see cool projects that won’t break the bank. Support your local dyers, spinners and crfaters, by hosting a pop-up shop within your shop on a Saturday. Partner with local food establishments and host a joint yarn and food tasting. Read the Craft Yarn Council’s article about knitting and health to gain inspiration on how your shop could reach out to the community and ignite a creative fire in those who are struggling with health issues. Subscribe to email newsletters from other shops. Two that tend to post good Ravelry info are: The Knitter's Edge, and Suzy Hausfrau.
I’ve written two Previous blog posts about Pinterest, you can find lots of info there. Let me add that Pinterest has added a guided search option to their site that will help you find both what you were looking for, and things you never knew existed! Also note that a huge percentage of the pictures pinned on Pinterest come from Ravelry. I give three cheers to Cherry Hills Yarn Shop in Sydney. Sue has jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, and says that she and her customers often refer to her Pinterest boards on the ipad she keeps in the shop. I love seeing what she posts in my daily Pinterest feed. Besides wanting you to fall in love with my shawlsticks, I aim to be a helpful resource in this wonderfully creative world of yarn that we all engage in together. I hope I have helped. Thanks for reading.