Friday, May 22, 2009

Contest: How would you like to be (a tiny bit) spoiled?

It started when I was thinking about biodegradable packaging for my yarny snack packs.....

It brought me to some clear bags that are intended for packing looseleaf tea.

Tea? Hmmmm.....tea and yarn go so well together..... there would be room in these bags for a few extra treats.....

maybe chocolate? stitch markers?

I could put together an optional extra-indulgent snack pack for spoiling one's self or someone else.....

So what do you think? What should go in a Yarn Lover's Spoil Me Pack?
Do you have sources for such items? Keep in mind that I want to keep the cost low for my customers but the indulgence high.
Tell me your thoughts.... If I end up using an idea (one I haven't mentioned myself, of course!) or source you mention, you win a Spoil Pack for yourself. If more than one person mentions the same idea or source, the winner will be chosen from among the contenders by random number generator.

There will be at least one winner, and there may be several. So jump in!

The contest runs 'til June 10th.


Rhonna said...

What a good idea! :)

Specialty teas and coffees would go over well, I'd think. One can never have enough stitch markers, but I'll be honest and say that I'm very peculiar about those and won't use just any old markers. For the most part, I only use Karen's (Beadmarkers on Etsy) because of her guarantee, incredibly high quality, and the way they never hang on yarn or fabric. Her prices are excellent as well. Others are often pretty, but the quality and guarantee are often not there--which means that most stitch markers which come to me as gifts are used once or twice as testers but never again. (Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can make a good marker.) IOW, if the quality of the markers is very high, then it would be worth considering, but otherwise I fear folks would do like I do, and the markers would be tucked into a corner of their knitting bag and nearly forgotten.

I think chocolate would be ideal (with direction from the customer concerning likes and allergies), but it wouldn't be something you could easily ship in the summer months for fear of melting.

Custom gift or "made by" labels might be an idea, and I'd bet you could get a good deal on some beautiful assortments on Etsy.

Matching beads or specialty threads or braids might be a cool inclusion for decoration on a finished fabric or for turning a small amount of yarn into a cute little possibles bag.

Little things like lip balms, scented soaps, or small containers of body cream would be a treat, and I'd lean toward Aubrey with Goodies Unlimited for most of those.

Similarly, scented sachets for storing with yarn (e.g., lavender) would work, as would small scented artsy candles.

(grin) Any help here?

Elaine said...

I'll say it right outloud! I'm a yarn junkie. There. I also love peppermint tea (but not other herbals), some very dark coffee, and also some very dark chocolates (but not others). Cocoa doesn't do a thing for me. I love certain soaps and fragrances, and detest others. If the wrong one was next to my yarn and made is smell, it would ruin the yarn for me.

Unlike the previous poster, I am not choosy about stitch markers as long as they are pretty. So put some pretty beads together and I am happy.

And that brings me to my point. While all of these things go well with yarn for some people, it is very difficult to find something that works for everyone EXCEPT a pattern.

I'd suggest that you package with the yarn, a pattern for something that THIS yarn and this quantity would be perfect to make. So, if a sock yarn, then a sock pattern. If a heavy-weight yarn, then maybe a pattern for a neck warmer. Even though I design my own and rarely use a pattern, this would give me an idea of what is there quantity-wise so although I would not necessarily follow the pattern, it would a guide. Also, if there is some accessory that is needed for it, include that. So, if the neckwarmer uses a button closure, include a beautiful button. If a shawl pattern includes beads, include the beads. Make these mini-kits rather than the yarn alone.

Often people need a little help imagining what to do with beautiful yarn. This is your marketing niche - help them imagine!

scappyhappy said...

I absolutely love little pampering packages. A soothing lip balm is great, along with a great handcream. I also love those little notebooks with a small pen attached. Post it notes that have beautiful pictures on them are great also. The one thing I love is a bag that can be rolled up to a very small ball and taken out when project or shopping becomes out of hand! You can quickly place all in the bag. I also find those funky pens that attach to a cord to hand around your neck are don't loose them! I am a big coffee person, so those individual packages of Raw sugar are a real treat for me. A special coffee mug, or small packages of cookies. One thing that I love is a small folder that has pockets to put notes and ideas in if you are out and about. I keep one in my purse. Keeps my ideas in one place and not scattered in my purse. another great thing is a small pouch or pocket that you can put a small pair of scissors, markers, note pad and other essential things for a project. I find that I can easily tuck a small project in my book bag for work and knit when I am on the train or where ever I have the chance. It is then all contained in my bag. Small tins with mints are great and can be recycled for other uses later. The one thing I love the most are those bead braclets that count your rows. If you forget andleave them on they look like jewelry! I love them....would love to have more than the one I have. Hope these suggestions helped.

Heather said...

Hmmm...I love little packages of goodies. I think that natural, handmade soap is always a nice luxury. I also love getting little homemade treats (baked goodies) along with the recipe so that I can make more myself. What about pretty hair clips or bracelets? I'm curious to see what you come up with!

Turtle said...

(cute fiber cupcake!!) love the idea.
Stitch markers are always welcome, teas, coffee or cocoa are lovely as well. Chocolate is yummy but can easily melt in the mail so... can be a problem at times. I also enjoy odd little things like buttons or notions to work into a project. Made by tags, or how to care for tags are nice as well!

Breien in Lansingerland said...

In my yarn lover spoil pack would go: Mints, yarn of course, iced tea, M & M's and a cake mix. The yarn might be sock yarn or lace...

Jersey said...

Oooh - love the yarn in the photo.

I love lots of things in addition to yarn, and love to be pampered, but ... often what I love is not everyone else's "cup of tea". I read over the other comments and saw that while Rhonna is particular about stitch markers, Elaine is not, but she is sensitive to smells. Most people love chocolate, but are worried about melting, and I just got a pampering package with a lovely body lotion, but it had oozed out of the tube and everything else now smelled of cherry. Fine for body lotion, but not for yarn. I love lavender sachets, but my sister hates the smell.

So, what do I suggest. Well, first I suggest staying away from things with fragrances in them since they are very personal.

How about pretty handmade fragrance-free soaps. How about earrings. You know those pretty stitch makers? How about putting them on a back that can be used for either stitch markers or earrings? I'd love that.

Or how about a row counter? I'd love one of those. I've seen some very cleaver row counters that have pretty beads much like stitch markers. I'd feel really pampered with one or more of those.

Cute measuring tapes or bookmarks with sheepy things on them.

I'll keep thinking since I'd really love to win!

EJ said...

I'd suggest packaging yarn along with buttons, especially if you are selling single skeins that you might make something small like a cowl or neck wrap.

Take a look at:

She has inexpensive buttons that could be quite pretty and it sounds like they would make them in larger quantities. Even if the yarn doesn't "call" for buttons, what knitter doesn't need fun, unusual buttons.

I am sure there are lots of other cites that you can find on Etsy with Fimo buttons for example. This place is selling sets of 4 Fimo buttons for $1. That might be a not-too-expensive pamper:

These are just places I found by searching. I'm sure there are many others.

Rachel O said...

Who does not like to be spoiled? But the bottom line is that the customer will be paying for it one way or another and then, unless it is really something I like, who needs it. In some cases I feel I haven't been spoiled, I've had my pocket picked. So the first thing I'd think about is how much it's going to add to the cost of the yarn. If it's going to make it a lot more than the competition, hmmmm. I can go to the store and buy the chocolate, or body lotion, or soap that I like myself instead of risking getting the one YOU like and I am indifferent to. But I know lots of people love surprises and are willing to pay for them so mine might be a contrarian view.

Here's an idea. How about offering options when ordering: the soap spoil, the cocoa spoil, the button spoil, the whatever spoil? Or how about the all-knitting or all-crocheting spoil. There are a different sort of crochet stitch markers that clip. I'd love some of those. I love the idea of a knitting row marker that someone suggested.

I also liked the idea that was suggested of a pattern that would be appropriate for the quantity and weight of yarn ordered. That could be free or almost free to add if you've designed the pattern or you can just point to a free pattern.

For a knit or crochet spoil, perhaps you can find or make small project bags to package the yarn in. You can never have too many of those (well actually I don't have any but I lust after them instead of my ziplock baggies)

RoamingKnitter said...

I love being spoiled, especially with yarn. I am allergic to chocolate & scents so I am harder to spoil than many. I like the idea of tea, how about adding some thin lemon cookies or crispy flavored crackers.

Stitch markers are handy tools but I already have plenty for my projects. I do like to have extras of other knitting accessories like needle sizers, needle tips to hold stitches on, cable hooks, tape measures and a bag/pocket to keep them in.

You just can't have too many project bags, so including a small one would be so nice.

Now I am going to daydream about your yummy yarn and what I would make with it.

tom said...

What an interesting set of responses. Here's one more thing to put into the mix. Men also buy and use yarn. Fragrances appropriate or loved by women are often not for me. I know that men are not the majority but we still exist. When you add that to the issues of general personal preference, or allergies, I would stay away from them and either avoid creams, lotions, soaps or include unscented ones as someone else suggested.

I think the best suggestion, hands down, is the pattern for this yarn one. Also nice little knitting notions like point protectors, row counters, sheep design thingies. I'd love one or two great looking handmade buttons. I have lots of these little kits that I bought in the dollar store that contain a tiny scissor, sewing kit, measuring tape, all in a tiny zipped case. I keep my stitch markers in there and my point protectors, and the end caps for interchangeable needles and I have them everywhere you can think of. Although I don't need more of them, most people would love them and they do not add much to the cost of the "spoiling" package.

I would definitely keep it knitting-related, and keep the extra cost low. As someone said, the customer is paying for it, and we all have too much junk and so getting a "spoil" that you don't want and is expensive, is likely to turn customers to your competitors who are selling similar yarn at a much lower price point.

Bottom line - you want to differentiate yourself from your competition. Do it by providing things that are related to what they are purchasing, do it inexpensively. The pattern idea, 1 or 2 handmade buttons, point protectors, some of the rubber stitch markers that are very inexpensive but very useful, those little sewing kits with scissors, are my favorites.

And lots of luck.

vickie said...

I love yarn surprises i actually like to put knitters balm in all my swap packages I send to peeps. you can get them from this shop on etsy i get these all the time from different etsy shops and they range in all different prices. vbarton24 at gmail dot comm i like chocolate coffee cute patterns that are quick knits stitch markers like these

purple-power said...

If you are a sewer (that's someone who sews, not where the waste goes), and are able to whip up small project bags easily and cheaply, I think that would be a winning combination. I also love the idea of putting in those rubber stitch markers. Unlike the lovely beaded ones, they won't add a lot to the cost and also they don't get caught on the knitting. I've got them in three sizes and you can buy large numbers for a small amount of money so could put several into the pack for virtually nothing and they would be appropriate for THAT yarn. I love that. If the bags you've bought are attractive and reusable (something more than a ziplock) then make that a goodie.

I think I'm in the camp that feels like many a spoil is right for someone else, but not me and so it is at best a waste, at worst one more thing I will either toss or have kicking around.

So it feels like all I've done is echo people - but maybe reinforcement is OK. You are looking for advice and so something like a poll with reasoning makes sense.

danielle said...

A mini- soak packet for the yarn itself - if you do stitch markers,they should be totally fun and way out there - abit of decadent chocolate is great - a fun button/pin - a pattern for the yarn (one skein pattern type) - a pack of funny or sheepy post it notes

Carla said...

First let me say how beautiful I think the Snapdragons Targhee Wool Handspun Yarn is. It's just my colors and fabulous.

Now I guess it's time for me to weigh in on this since I can be as opinionated at the next person!

I've read through all of the comments and here are my thoughts. Much of your items are snack packs which are relatively inexpensive for relatively small quantities of yarn. Great. Well anyone who is going for that is looking to keep the price low. Also, it may be really tough for most knitters to come up with something to do with such a small quantity. Therefore, the pattern idea is a brilliant one which I second (or maybe third or fourth). It should be geared for the weight and quantity of yarn you are selling. Surely you can create such patterns yourself so they would cost you nothing but would be a real treat for the potential purchaser. Also, if there is an inexpensive accessory that goes with the pattern (like a button or pin), then that would be a great idea. In other words, create inexpensive mini-kits.

I never thought about some of the issues raised in the comments, but have to agree that many of the "treats" or "spoils" I've gotten in trades wind up in the kitchen at work, free for the taking and that includes soaps and lotions as well as food.

The other idea I love is the packaging your yarn in a project bag. I always have lots of things on the needles and would love to have something nicer than just a ziplock or a plastic shopping bag. Remember, reuse trumps recycle every time.

I also like any sort of stitch markers, but the very inexpensive rubber ones do have advantages and would barely raise the cost.

knitting fool said...

I've been waiting for inspiration, but since the contest is about to end, I figure I better comment pronto.

Real treats are personal and depend on knowing the recipient's taste. Just because I love it does not mean everyone else does, although we all tend to assume that. I'm just cleaning up my bedroom and came across some body lotions and candles I had received as "spoils" in yarn trades and they have been kicking around my room for far too long and now reside in my garbage pail. The person who included them meant well, but we didn't know each other and they were not for me (or maybe she got them as "treats" in another trade and decided to pass them along like the famous Xmas fruitcake)

I just looked at as an easy place to get ideas for inexpensive knitting accessories. There are lots of different types of very inexpensive stitch markers - locking ones, open ones, etc that come in packages of 20 or more so that you can add 5 to an order and not increase the price by much. I suspect you can find them wholesale in larger quantities which would make them pennies apiece. These are not the lovely or fun decorative stitch markers - but these would be very useful under different circumstances. I didn't know they existed until a few minutes ago, but I NEED them now.

I think that since the customer is ordering yarn, you can safely assume they (or the recipient) is interested in knitting, crocheting or some associated fiber art. keeping the treats relevant makes sense to me.

I think the best suggestion I have read was the pattern one suggested by Elaine - geared to the particular yarn and quantity. Also, her suggestion of an associated accessory like a button, pin etc is really good. I'm jumping on the bandwagon here, but she deserves the credit for the idea.

I also love fun stitch markers and would welcome them and was very surprised when Rhonna said she was very particular about them. If they are pretty or even better, fun, I love them. I've even made some of them into earrings.

As Tom mentioned, be careful about assumptions - we often think of knitters as women, but men do knit and many would be less than thrilled about a pair of earrings (especially since they are footing the bill) but if you can find cute stitch markers and include a pair of earring backs that they could just hang from, that would be a cute option.

Oooh. I just thought of a great new idea! Why don't you make felted stitch markers. Just little felted beads (and there are lots of free on-line tutorials in case you don't felt) made from the fiber you are spinning attached to the stitch markers. They'd cost you practically nothing to make. They'd coordinate with the yarn, and unlike some of the bead ones, would not snag on the knitting because they'd be entirely smooth. Wow, I really like that idea!

OK - too much talk. I'll end with a really good suggestion: pick me, pick me.

ikkinlala said...

I'm definitely on board with the idea that the treats should be knitting-related. A pattern or a few stitch markers, buttons or beads or fabric that would go with the yarn, tags or labels for the finished product, or a little notebook or fun pencil to keep track of things would all work. Other notions might also be fun, but it might be harder to find interesting versions of them.

For non-knitting treats, tea sounds like a good choice. I love chocolate, but I'd be worried, especially at this time of year, that it would melt and end up all over the yarn, so unless it was packaged very well maybe an interesting type of hard candies or mints would work better if you're wanting to include something sweet. As some other people mentioned, fragrances can be an issue (some fragrances give me migraines), but an unscented soap or hand balm would more likely be appreciated. Notecards could be interesting, and could even be yarn-themed.