Yesterday I brought up three decisions I’m chewing on. Here’s part two.
I might need to put a cap on yarn club. Or stop offering swag. I love that my yarn club is taking off. I went from an average of 26 to an average of 48 this year (how I would love to see it grow to 100 by the end of next year!). That does mean, however, that it used to take between 7-10 days to dye and wind all the yarn… and now it takes between 14-20 days (correct me if I’m wrong, but there are only about 30 days in a month on average. This isn’t leaving me a lot of time for other things.) That’s just the yarn; that’s not counting also making (or acquiring) swag.
It’s cheaper for me to make swag, but can take another 3 days per month to make it. More expensive to buy it, but twice now I’ve gone to buy things in sets of 50 and the online sites that I buy from suddenly don’t have that kind of quantity. I’d have better luck, I suppose, if I did like at the yarn store and became a distributor of a particular line of tools, but then I’d have to come up with the money for an initial wholesale order, and with that comes a new level of responsibility for stocking tools and listing them (and storing them, ugh). I’ve been waffling on that for a while.
Add in that I don’t like to do exactly the same thing every time, because I have repeat customers and I don’t want them to get bored with what I send out. I don’t mind repeating things within, say, a year (like I just did with tape measures) but I don’t want to be known as the soap-tape measure-hand lotion swag girl. I like to shake it up. I also like to keep the price at about $5 per month for swag. This is seriously cramping my impulsive “this would be awesome swag” style. Also: if I’m having trouble buying in sets of 50, what makes me think buying in sets of 100 is going to be easier?
For that matter, if I’m having trouble finishing other things (I haven’t poured ceramics or handbuilt anything since July. JULY! and while I continued to glaze bisque and run kiln loads, I haven’t fired the kiln since September 17th)… what makes me think that having a plan to double the size of yarn club by next year is a GOOD THING? Am I… crazy?
If we get this house, and workshop, I will be able to expand my dye room a little bit to almost double what I can dye in a day. That’s going to cut down on the number of days I spend dyeing, which will make 50 seem much more reasonable than it is now (getting it back closer to 10 days from undyed to wound and labeled). So perhaps I need to cap yarn club at 50. And not reach towards 100 until I can routinely complete 50 in less than two weeks.
But here’s the thing that makes my brain tired about capping yarn club: THE LISTINGS. Do I just put something in the listing that says “when I get to 50, CLOSED!” or do I try to judge, from my past spreadsheets, “OK, I should list 10 sock weight with no swag, five worsted with no swag, yadda yadda” until I reach 50? Or do I stop doing swag, list 25 worsted and 25 sock, and then if I sell all the sock in one week and don’t sell more than 10 worsted, hahahahah, joke is on me? This is why I don’t want to have a cap – decisions are hard. Or I overthink, either one.
Pros of not offering swag any more: I won’t have to come up with swag ideas. I wouldn’t have to make swag (saving me an average of three days). I wouldn’t have to come up with emergency/alternate swag if what I wanted to buy wasn’t available in that quantity. Cons of not offering swag any more: I like offering swag. Many times, my ideas tie into the theme of the club or a colorway in particular. I dig that and would miss it.
Pros of capping the club count: I won’t be overwhelmed. It might be more possible to buy in advance if I know the number (if I have the money). Cons of capping the club count: disappointing potential customers. Having to figure how to cap it.
Overall: I don’t know what to do, I just know that I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing, because yarn isn’t all I do and other sections of my business are not getting the attention they need. Even the regular yarn section isn’t getting the attention it needs, with restock dyeing being pushed back when club dyeing takes longer than expected.
Maybe working out Part Three, tomorrow, will help this decision.