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  • How I decide which yarns to carry

    September 12, 2023 3 min read

    Hello dear Collective members!

    I've been sitting here for the past 10 minutes, gazing out the window at the slowly turning leaves, trying to figure out what I wanted to write about. Originally, I had planned a post about preparing a launch, but all of a sudden, I was sitting here and thought "oh, maybe that's a bit boring?" (Do let me know if you do not think it's boring and I'll write it up!)

    As I let my gaze wander, I noticed a bowl full of fluffy yarn on my office shelf - Bérénice, our latest yarn addition, and I suddenly knew what I wanted to write about: I wanted to share with you how I decide which yarns to carry.

    Finding a new yarn that fits into our webshop feels a little bit like magic and fate. Every once in a while there's one that just feels so right, and over time I've learned to trust my instinct if that happens. It's a really good indicator for that I will be excited about carrying and knitting a yarn, which I think is really crucial - not because I believe that I have the absolut best taste in yarn (I do think it's pretty good though :D), but because I will be talking about this particular yarn for weeks, months, possibly years, and I better be very much in love with it in order for that to work.

    So finding a new yarn is not easy, which is why I go about it in a couple different ways:

    1. A list of "blank spots"Here's how I think about where I want us to go in terms of yarns we carry: We don't need five different worsted-spun DK weight yarns, but I would like to offer a comprehensive portfolio of yarns eventually: Woollen- and worsted-spun yarns at multiple price points in all yarn weights from lace to worsted.

    In Notion (my trusted project management tool aka second brain), I have a list of "blank spots" - points in this future portfolio where we don't have any yarn(s) yet.

    I periodically revisit this list to see if I've come across a yarn that I feel would fill one of the spots, or if I feel pulled towards one of the "blanks" and would want to invest time to research and try yarns to proactively fill it.

    2. Research & trying yarns

    When I feel pulled towards a particular blank spot, or when I know that we'll have a really exciting campaign coming up, but are lacking a certain type of yarn, I go into research mode.

    A good example is our upcoming Socktober Celebration: I knew that I wanted a slightly more affordable natural sock yarn for the shop, so I started researching! I went through my running list of yarn companies, looked through their websites, googled, all to figure out which yarns might fit the brief of "natural, non-superwash, affordable sock yarn".

    Once I've found a couple of yarns I like, I usually order a test skein to get at least a swatch knit up. There's nothing like getting yarn on your needles to see whether you like it or not!

    3. Lucky breaks

    Every once in a while, there will be a yarn that just "jumps out" at me - either through an email from a yarn company (like with Bérénice) or because I see it being used in a project, usually on Instagram. More often than not, I then go down a rabbit hole which ends with me ordering a bit of it to test - or, like Bérénice, I fall head over heels in love with it and just order the whole palette :)

    I know that I could do more structured "user research" (borrowing a term from my previous life as a software company person) by keeping a closer eye on what folx are knitting with, but I also want to resist the temptation to add something to the shop just because it's popular right now. I want the yarns that we carry to reflect who we are as a company, and what we value, and that takes time.

    I hope you liked this insight into how I decide which yarns to carry! If you have a particular topic you're interested in me writing about here on the Collective blog, do comment below - I'd love to hear your ideas.

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