Here’s one of those times where I hate being the boss/only employee…

… because my dogs give TERRIBLE advice.

Feel free to space out now if you’re not into yarn.

Yarn club! I bought advertising for the next yarn club, May-July, yesterday. Which means that I need to come up with a great idea, soon! But that’s not the point of this post. Swag is the point of this post.

Yarn club has steadily grown to about 50-55 people. Most yarn clubs offer swag (extra goodies included with club, that are sometimes yarn related but don’t have to be). I like to offer swag. But with the growing of the club, swag has been harder and harder to do — I like to either make things, or buy small indie things… for me to make 50 things, well, that takes quite a lot of time (any where from 3-5 days, which is 3-5 days when I’m not making anything else). And for me to buy 50 things, well… that’s getting to be impossible. Not a lot of indie makers can (or want to) make in that quantity in the time frame I need. And if I buy something commercial, chances are that where I’m buying from doesn’t have that quantity (case in point: I wanted to buy small folding scissors two clubs ago. I could get 23 of them in one design from one place, another 10 from another place in a different design, and maybe the first place might get restocked by the time my deadline rolled around but if not, I’d have to get the last 7 in a third design from a third place. That’s way too complicated, not to mention that I like my swag to be exactly the same across the board.)

So last time, for the Jan-March club, I put a cap on swag: 20. Twenty people get swag. I would have rather gone to 25, but when I’ve tried to buy stuff in the past, 20 really seems to be the cut-off number… so that’s what I went with. And then I didn’t really make a big deal about it at first, because I’ve gotten used to silently putting club up for sale on the 1st of the month (because that’s when my advertising starts) but not really promoting it until I get the last of the club out on about the 15th.

I should backtrack here a second, this might sound confusing. Current club runs January – March. Because the ads I buy run “by the month”, I advertise for two months — the last month of the current club, and a month off from club… so I will start advertising the May-July club the 1st of March, and advertising will run through the last day of April. So in the past, I would put the May-July club up for sale on March 1st, and while advertising on Ravelry I wouldn’t put up a blog post, a Ravelry forum post, or start Facebooking about it until closer to March 15th.

This last time when I capped the swag at 20, I didn’t really make a big deal about it at first, thinking that I’d make a big deal when I posted about it on the 15th. But by … I don’t know, the 7th or so, almost half the swag spots had already sold out — so I went ahead and posted, because a lot of my “regulars” hadn’t gotten in yet, and while I didn’t want to raise the swag numbers I also didn’t want my regulars to miss out.

So I’m wondering this time — because I am keeping the cap at 20, that really made club easier for me this time around — but maybe I should hold off on listing the swag spaces until after the 15th of the month. So, I would open club as usual on March 1st, with unlimited spots available for the no-swag option… but I would clearly state at the top that swag spaces would come up for sale on March 15th.

While that might seem more fair for people in club now (what if they’re new and don’t want to decide before they see the third yarn whether they want to get into club, but they know that if they do, they do want swag)… I can see that going wrong in so many ways. Mostly, in the way of people not seeing the notice, thinking I’m already out of swag options, and signing up for no-swag… and then getting bitter when they find out that they missed out not because it was sold out, but because I hadn’t listed it yet.

This is really one of those dammed if you do/damned if you don’t things. I feel like I might piss some people off if I list the 20 swag spots on the 1st and it sells out… but then I also might piss some people off if I don’t list them right away, and they buy in thinking I’m already sold out. I’m not interested in going back to unlimited swag — it was just getting too hard, too frustrating, and too time-consuming to make or buy things at that quantity.

You may be asking “why not just not do swag”….? Because I like swag. I like to tie swag in to the theme of the club, it makes me happy.

You also might ask “why not plan so far in advance that you’re ordering swag in sets of 50 six months before you need it”…? Because I need the money from club to be able to afford to buy (or buy supplies for) swag. I can’t do it that far in advance because frankly, the money isn’t there yet.

This is one of those things I’m super-overthinking, isn’t it. I should just open all the spots, 20 with swag and an unlimited number of no-swag spots, on March 1st, and shut up about it.

Now I just need a good idea for a theme for the May-July club……!

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