Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bluefaced Leicester Sample Packs

It recently occurred to me that our line of yarn has grown to be so large, that we needed to divide them into logical sets.  When we send out a set of samples, one each of more than 40 yarns, I can see where one would begin to look like another. I want customers to look at our yarns and immediately know what fiber base and what weight would best describe them.  Those two pieces of information are essential to any yarn choice.

Too, we carry two distinct lines.  There is the Merino-based line of yarns which we groomed from fine and extra fine merino, blended some with other fibers, kept some 100% superwash or non-superwash Merino.  This effort was to use a high quality of Merino as the basis for a line.  We are defined, in a way, by our really nice merino base.

The other line we carry is unique to Wool2Dye4 as a yarn manufacturer/distributor because we are the only American company selling this particular fiber in a complete line of yarns.  I am talking about 100% British Bluefaced Leicester.  This is a rare fiber in England, and valued for many qualities, rarity among them, to make it sought after.  It is not from Canada, not from Colorado, and definitely not from an American herd which was cross-bred.  This is 100% British Bluefaced Leicester, one of the oldest fiber breeds of sheep, and Woo2Dye4 is licensed by the British Wool Marketing Board to sell British wool in the United States.  We are also the exclusive American distributor of Britain's largest and oldest wool supplier.  Pretty rarified air, I'd say.

I was beginning to look at our sample sets as a bag of little bits of lots of yarn.  As our line grew, our sample set lost the unique quality it showed as a smaller line, even when we wound dyed samples around business cards, printed with yarn descriptions.  Before that we used to punch holes in card stock and thread through 16" pieces of each yarn, trying desperately to line up the holes with the yarn name and description.  Our sample sets have had lots of incarnations, and now they are about to undergo yet another.

A very clear picture of a new sample set came to me a couple of weeks ago.  It would be two sub-sets creating one whole set.  One set would be Bluefaced Leicester, the other Merino-based yarns.  This is the logical division of our line, and even as I write this sentence, I know that there is actually a third sub-set:  6 Italian silks.  A mini-mini set.

Today, though, we began to put into action this general idea I had of presenting the two different fibers as bases.  My sample makers from Vector Industries just left here about an hour ago piled with all of the supplies needed to create the first BFL sample pack, all nice and tied up prettily in it's own bag with a British Bluefaced Leicester promo piece too.  It is going to look pretty fancy and neat.

Then, the next step, in another couple of weeks will be to create the same sort of package for the Merino based yarns.  And we'll just have to create mini Italian silk sets.  They just have 6 yarns, so will be easy to accomplish.  We will put together three unique sets and create one complete example of all of our yarns.  Our sample set, nice and neat, that a customer will receive in the mail and remove from a large bag one baggie of Bluefaced Leicester yarns, another even larger baggie of Merino based yarns, and a cute little baggie of fancy Italian silk yarns.

I think that sometimes we become involved in our product, or our business, and we forget to look at it with fresh eyes and see our business as our customers may see it.  Since we launched our pretty new website this month, I've been getting lots of eMails and reading how people really thought our old site was crowded and unattractive and dated looking.  They were right!  So, that led me to look at everything that we put into our customers' hands, everything from the logo to the packaging of their orders to the samples we send. All of these are parts of the entire marketing package, and needed some freshening up.

So we start with the new sample sets.  I was listening to a description of one of the sample makers, and discovered that this young lady has studied art and enjoys drawing.  I immediately thought how neat it would be to include a card showing one of her drawings with a byline like,' Assembled by helping hands at Vector Industries.'  Something like that.  This is another of those good ideas that I want to follow up on.