Saturday, December 4, 2010

An Open Letter to LYSOs - Promotional "Goody Bags"

After the very disappointing goody bag I received some time ago at an LYS which shall remain nameless*, I started thinking about how many other cool things they could have done without a huge outlay of money. A lot of these would have the store's info. on them, to reinforce shop identity.

Back story: Some time ago, I attended an event at a Local Yarn Store (LYS), Around the same time, friends of mine attended several. At each of these, some kind of "goody bag" was promised. To keep this preamble short, let's just say that our combined experiences were less than positive: a couple of the stores had nice, or useful, bags, but the rest (and my experience matched this), appeared to be a way for the stores to offload all kinds of crap that hadn't sold. (And for good reason.) While talking about it with one friend, I started telling her about all kinds of ideas I had to create promotional hand-outs for my imaginary LYS (many of which were ideas I implemented for my Etsy shop when it was active). I realized, of course, that with the economy the way it is, the costs of the bags needed to be low. They also need to remind people where the goodies came from (something that the goody bag I received did not). The cost for these could be kept low, with time being the biggest investment. With planning, they could be worked on well in advance of an event. 

Goody Bag Ideas
Business Info is very important. Make sure that, at minimum, your store information (logo, website, address, etc.) is in/on the package at least twice: a business card with a stitch marker tied to it, a stamp or sticker on the bag, or a tag stapled to the top of a mini goody bag. If the bag is good, you do not want people forgetting where it came from, especially if they're hitting several stores in one day (shop hop kind of thing).

Cute (or clever) packaging is both fun and (in my opinion) essential. Size is not as important as quality. Doesn't have to be a big bag, or even all that fancy. Cute, clever, useful, memorable (in a good way) are the adjectives we're going for.

  • Get creative. A store I used to shop at (until the owners retired, happily) used (new) flat popcorn bags with their store info. stamped on it. These were used for small, flat items, but would make cute goody bags as well (fold over and seal with a label that has all the store info. on it). Mini shopping bags (3/$1 at the dollar store, probably less somewhere in bulk). That kind of thing. Chinese take-out containers totally rock. They're not cheap in small quantities, but I'll be a hundred or so at a go would garner a nice discount. Add a tag and shredded paper and you've got an adorable package.
  • Other packaging. Clear cellophane treat bags (sold in packs of 100 or so) with an easy topper, folded and stapled = adorable and memorable. Stick a couple of small, cute, USEFUL goodies in there, with a business card, coupon, etc. 
  • Not new, but always handy: needle index cards. Very easy to make. I used these as freebies with my first sales on Etsy, along with other things. Business info on the front of a business card, needle index on the back. Consider a crochet hook card, too.
  • Stitch markers. Shown here are a couple different kinds I've done for promotional use. All were original ideas of mine, although I'm sure they've been used by other people, coincidentally. (Great minds think alike.)
    A: simple marker in the acorn/gumball capsule with a tiny tag (acorn shaped) upon which was printed my shop's URL.
    B & C: Shrinky-dink markers. I've done 'nekkid guy' and some hand-drawn ones of my sheep character and an acorn. Some special materials required, but you can make tons of them with 1 package of good shrink material, permanent ink (contact me for specifics), a hole punch (1/8") and some jump rings. I punched 2 tiny holes in business cards and tied the mini acorn/sheep markers to the cards with string or thin ribbon.
  • Samples of things available in the store. This one might cost a bit, but not being an LYSO, I'm not sure how easy this stuff is to get, or how expensive. Eucalan sells samples of their wool wash in little one/two use packets. At the time I inquired about the price, I thought it was pretty reasonable. I don't know how much Gloves in a Bottle samples run, but I do know that after trying a sample, I went back and bought a bottle.
  • Samples of yarn. Divvy up a couple skeins of sock-yarn into several-yard mini skeins. One person at an event balled up samples, stuck them on a lollipop stick and wrapped them like suckers (cute packaging makes SUCH a difference).
  • Patterns. Most patterns that are available for free online have a statement that they are not to be copied and distributed by stores. Perhaps a designer would be willing to release a version of the pattern with permission on it for a particular store. I shouldn't have to say this, but just in case: it's not okay to buy 1 pattern and pass out copies, or to reprint tons of copies of free patterns if the designer hasn't given you permission to do so.

    I've done this with my Emergency Yarn Ornament pattern: the store in question can print out and distribute that document, with my blessings. It has their logo on it, plus all of my info. Nice partnership. I think it would be a really cute goody bag to get a small (empty) glass - or plastic = ornament and the pattern together, so the recipient could make one right away.
  • Other notions: mini emery boards, whatever oddments knitters/crocheters like to have in their notions pouches. It would be cool, although I don't know how expensive to get mini boards with a store logo. That or a small needle gauge if that can be done inexpensively.
  • 1" badges/pins (flair!) Individually, they're not cheap, but in bulk they can be a deal (even Cafe Press gets reasonable with 100-count bags). Some pro-yarn sentiment (just one more row) or something, on a pin.
  • Doorprize kind of thing. Let it be known that in one random, unmarked bag, a coupon for something special (class, %-off coupon, gift certificate, etc.) can be found. (Only worth it if the volume of bags given is high.)
  • Moo Sticker BookStickers with yarny sentiment (something with store logo is not a prize, but an identifier to put ON the bag). Make your own or see if there is an inexpensive source for ordering. makes fabulous books of stickers that can be used on packages or cut up to give away.
  • Pens or pencils with store name. Kick it old school. Everyone needs a pen or pencil in their knitting bag.

Successful promotion gifts I've heard of. These were memorable enough that people mentioned it positively to friends:
  • Pricier gifts, available when a certain purchase limit was met. One store gave out tape measures (with store logo) when people spent a certain amount. Another gave out a tote bag (again, with store logo).
  • Coupon redeemable at a later date. Certain %-off, usable in the next month, encouraged a return visit.

*I'm going to avoid giving any information that could identify the store in question, because this is not about a single store.

No comments: