Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Call for Estimates for 4th Quarter is now closed

Our huge thanks to all who participated in this Call for Estimates for the 4th quarter of 2013.  The response was the best it has been to date, meaning that we will be more accurate in our order, and have more control over the inventory.

Our purpose in calling for estimates from our wholesale customers is to get an approximate count of what is needed, and then we add on what we think general website customers might buy.  It's a process of looking at average sales of each yarn per month, at the change in those numbers for the past two quarters. 

Since we are starting to study and apply the guidelines of Search Engine Optimization, we need to consider the number of new customers will come to us from new and unexpected sources.

Our mill has asked us to do our very best to whittle down our stream of orders so that they can predict what we will need and have the raw materials on hand well in advance of need.  They work with us so very nicely, and have helped us out with emergency shortages since we started this quarterly order system.  So, it is not written in stone, and they absolutely understand that we get sudden orders when there are clubs, just before festival season, or when someone's yarn goes viral on the internet.  These are happy instances of having to catch up, and we try to work with everyone's schedules.

We do know that it is hard for our customers to plan so far in advance, and are really happy with the work they are putting into getting us their estimates.  I just want to state again, to be clear, that the estimates are only that. They are not commitments to buy, but a guideline for our spinning schedules with the mill's schedules.  We do hope our customers would let us know if they've changed their minds about any large estimates, or life's circumstances require them to back away from their estimate. 

By the same token, it needs to be restated that at our end, we do not hold aside the estimated amounts for each individual, but add them to our estimate of website sales so that everyone will be covered.  An estimate is not a reserve or private order.  This is why is it so important that larger needs are included with the estimates, rather than stripping the website of inventory. 

We are planning ahead and want our customers to help us in the effort.  Our thanks to everyone who has participated in the Calls for Estimates so far.  It is working.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Merino Sock Yarns and Butterfly Select Lace yarn arriving next week

Good news!  Yet another emergency stock order is arriving next week.  Watch for the newsletter announcement, my signal that the shipment is arriving within a day's time.  Once you receive the newsletter * then you will know that I have posted the incoming inventory on the website, and you are free to purchase at that time.

Here's what we will see added to inventory next week ...
  • Platinum Sock ... lots of skeins! and cones, too
  • Butterfly Select
  • Sheila's Gold ... not a lot, but enough to last until late Aug/early Sept shipment
  • Soft Single Sock
* Newsletter:  if you are not yet receiving our newsletter and would like to follow the news of incoming shipments and new yarns, send me an eMail with a request to be added to the newsletter eMailing list.  Send it to:  Yarnie@wool2dye4.com

Thank you,
Sheila / Wool2Dye4

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Merino arrival for 3rd quarter: due mid-August 2013

3rd Quarter Stock arrival… around Aug 20, 2013

There has been a slight shift in the arrival date of the third quarter inventory, due to a shortage of superwash merino this summer. This is a temporary thing, and it occurred three years ago, as well. At that time, I referred to it as our ‘superwash diet.’ There is nothing we could have done to prepare for this situation, and so we must ask you to adjust your scheduling to accommodate the arrival date of these yarns. Third Quarter’s inventory order contains these yarns:
Butterfly Select
Crazy Eight, cones and skeins
W2D4 Merino Bulky-SW
Merino Traditional Aran, skeins and cones
Platinum Sock, skeins and cones
Sheila’s Gold, skeins and cones
Sheila’s Sock, skeins and cones
Silk DK 50/50, skeins and cones
Single Sock HT
Soft Single Sock
Sheila’s Sparkle
Ultra Merino 3Ply, skeins and cones
Ultra Select
Silk Sock 50/50
W2D4 Merino Worsted, skeins and cones
W2D4 Merino Worsted-SW, skeins and cones
W2D4 Merino DK-SW, skeins and cones
Two yarns to arrive before that date are Diamond Select and the new Silky Single sock. (expected around July 14th)
Just after arrival of 3rd quarter stock, we will receive a boost in three popular yarns to hold us through fall demand. these three yarns are Platinum Sock, W2D4 Merino Worsted-SW and Sheila’s Gold.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rule #1, Doing Business in the Sock Yarn World: Be Nice Like Your Mama Taught You

Just Do Business

We have a fairly large customer base, and deal with everyone through eMail.  In every communication, I try to remember a few basics about communicating through the written word, and I thought I would share a few of them today:

1.  Be professional: Give good answers to information requested, and in a factual way which sets out the details of the project/yarn/pattern/order, etc. in a clear and easily understood manner.
2.  Do not use humor in business communications: Humor is so easily mis-understood that we stand a chance of insulting someone rather than amusing them.  Too, one's style of humor sends subliminal messages ... I am cool, I am young and cool, I am old and trying to be cool ...  You never know the tolerance quotient of your reader, so stay away from humor.
3.  Write in plain, grammatically correct language:  Drop the cheering 'Yaaay's!' and use of too many exclamation points.  I need to watch the exclamation points myself!  Give information, talk about your product's attributes, get the message across.  Please drop the Instant Message abbreviations.  They are childish and send the message that you are either addicted to adolescent code, or you do not care enough to write out your thoughts in real words.  Remember that you are writing business information and it will affect sales.
4.  Don't hide behind the anonymity of the internet to reply to insults:  It's just not nice, and will not endear you as either a customer or a seller to anyone's heart.  Do you need to tell someone off in a business letter, exaggerate a situation with metaphors that are unsavory or cutting?  The answer is 'no.'  There is no excuse for writing hurtful letters in a business situation. 

So, how do we handle replies to eMail that we receive which really should have been slept on and then deleted?  The answer is to just do business. 

Yes, conduct business in a professional manner without telling the recipient they are wrong, or they are childish, or bad, or insincere.  If you have to apologize for a misunderstanding, do it.  There is nothing wrong and it is actually a great attention getter to say something like 'I am sorry that I did not understand your question.'  It gives the recipient a chance to feel appeased, even if ever so slightly, and may save you a good customer in the long run.  Also, hold onto any reply to an unprofessional eMail and edit it heavily before sending it off. Short replies are better than long ones, especially if the writer displayed any negative emotion in their original communication.  Short and to the point, throw in some extra product information showing that you are above personal vindictive.

Remember why you are even in communication with this person in the first place.   Just do business.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

W2D4 Merino DK-SW returns

We have just received verification that W2D4 Merino DK-SW will arrive in approximately ten days' time.  That will be around June 21st or so.  As we get closer, I will be able to predict with more accuracy and will post here, and on Ravelry.com, also.  The best and most definitive information, though, is always the wholesale newsletter.

Reservations are still open in quantities with a minimum of five kilos of either skeins or cones.  This is a service for wholesale customers primarily, but retail customers who love this yarn are also welcome, of course. 

A reserve on a yarn is treated as a private order.  We create the private order and send the customer a copy by eMail; then we post it on the website.  It looks like any other product, except that the title is in code.  For instance, if I were receiving the private order today, the coded title would read 'ST...6.12.13' --- the initials of my name and the date the private order was created.  We post all private orders in a new category called, yes! Private Orders, and when the customer is ready to pick it up, they simply find the coded title matching the private order they received by eMail, click on the listing, and they can then add it to their shopping cart.

Minimum order requirements for wholesale customers, which is five kilos, still apply to all orders containing private listings.

To reserve, please eMail your request to Yarnie@wool2dye4.com.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Two Promo Yarns Have Proved Themselves

From time to time we come across a yarn, one created in a special circumstance, which suits our lineup.  That is what has happened recently with two merino based yarns:  Silk-Merino 50/50 and DK-115

Silk-Merino 50/50, the non-superwash version of our popular fingering yarn. Silk Sock 50/50 turned out to be so delightful to knit that we had to have it.  There is no pilling, the yarn has a truly wonderful feel to it as it flows through the knitter's fingers, and it has been adopted in Europe by many lace and shawl knitters.  In fact, we actually received a shipment of this yarn, which was originally ordered by one of Britain's best known handdyers but shipped to Wool2Dye4 instead.  Our customer base is firmly rooted in the superwash camp, and we at first did not realize what a little gem Silk-Merino 50/50 is.  At this moment, I am close to finishing a two-skein shawl, knit with this yarn, and already have three skeins set aside to knit a summer tee. It is a fantastic yarn, and just fell across our path!

The other yarn which we've been featuring as a promotional yarn is DK-115, and it came to us in a slightly different manner.  This one was originally a custom order at the mill by a fairly well known American dyer; however, the yarn was not paid for and the mill sold it to our U.K. supplier to move it out of the warehouse.  It is a 100% superwash merino in DK weight, and there are two aspects which set it apart, ever so slightly, from the DK-SW we have offered as our best selling DK weight yarn for the past eight years.  The difference is that DK-115 is a slightly finer fiber than the superwash merino in our standard, W2D4 Merino DK-SW, and the skein weight is 15 grams heavier than our 100 gram skein. 

I really don't like playing around with skein weight.  We have learned from recent experiments with introducing an existing yarn in two different skein weights, that our customers are pretty savvy about industry standards. BUT this DK-115 is just special enough to break the rules a bit.  You can consider this as a luxury yarn, one suitable for yarn/pattern kits, special vending opportunities, etc.

Silk-Merino 50/50 and DK-115 will join the permanent lineup of Wool2Dye4 yarns this summer when supporting stock will arrive.  In the meantime, they are offered for sale under the Promotion category on the website.

Would you like a sample of either yarn?  Just eMail us at Yarnie@wool2dye4.com and request samples.
Merino/Silk Sock
This is the non-superwash version of our regular item Silk Sock 50/50.