Archive for June, 2011
If you didn’t already know, the final Harry Potter movie is premiering in about a month. As the Battle of Hogwarts rages on the screen, I can assure you that I’ll be bawling my eyes out in the fourth row. No matter how corny that sounds, it definitely feels like the end of an era. I grew up on the books, and the movies were the way my parents could get involved with my fascination with the “Boy Who Lived.” I credit J.K. Rowling and her wonderful imagination with my subsequent love of reading. As the perpetual bookworm, I wish I could thank her properly for making books and reading cool. I also wish I could thank her for the multiple times I used a Harry Potter-based example in class discussions to effectively prove my point (try it, kids, it works).
To be honest, I was never much for the movies (as an English major I have to maintain that the book is always better than the movie, lest some secret society of literati hunt me down) and I found it frustrating how different each one was from the others. There were so many amazing subplots ignored in the pursuit of making a blockbuster that, as an avid and almost zealous fan, it felt sacrilegious that so much would be left out.
Despite this, there was one thing I could completely appreciate about the film series: the FABULOUS sweaters, hats, and mittens worn by the characters. From the various Weasley knits to Hermione’s fantastic stitched style, the producers (or whoever was in charge of securing these handmade beauties) got their stuff right. Not only were the designs perfect for the characters and the chilly Scotland setting of Hogwarts, they were positively delicious. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite movie Potter Knits as well as a couple of whimsies:
1. Hermione’s Bobble Hat (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Super super cute. Knit it in Cascade 220 Superwash color Ruby , so it’s bright, warm, and cozy.
2. Ron’s Animal Crackers Hat (Prisoner of Azkaban)
It’s a pretty chunky knit and I recommend Cascade 128 Superwash, which is 100% wool and completely luscious, in Army Green, Daffodil, Ecru, and Ruby.I think the green color scheme is closer to the movie hat.
3. Hermione’s Fair Isle Turtleneck (Goblet of Fire)
I think Cascade Heritage Silk is great for this because of its sweet blend of wool and silk – it’s warm with just a hint of shine, perfect for that cute pink. Try Camel, Cotton Candy, Raspberry, and Natural.
4. Hermione’s Godric’s Hollow Hat (Deathly Hallows, Part 1)
For this one, I like Cascade 220 in Dark Plum it’s super warm and such a pretty color!
5. Mad-Eye’s Eye (Goblet of Fire)
This one’s just fun! It’s a pretty cool design, and I recommend using some stash yarn on this one. Make it for the kid at heart (it’s so much better than a pirate eyepatch).
6. Sorting Hat (Sorcerer’s Stone & Chamber of Secrets)
It’s the Sorting Hat! Either use Brown or Camel Cascade 220
7. Hermione’s Fair Isle Scarf & Mittens (Half-Blood Prince)
I adore Fair Isle. Cascade Heritage Silk would be great for this – with its blend of wool and silk it’ll be warm with a little fuzz. Use Silver , lilac,Pine, Camel, and Blue Horizon.
8. Ann Kingstone’s House Socks
These socks are beautifully designed by a fan. Even though the pattern has to be purchased, the intricate patterns and motifs look great. I’m especially fond of the Slytherin and Gryffindor ones.
9. Weasley Twins’ Ski Hat (Prisoner of Azkaban)
This is such a cute pattern. Make the pompom at the top huge for some extra Weasley fun (double your pleasure á la Fred and George). The designer says do it in Cascade Eco Plus in Navy and White.
10. The Leaky Cauldron’s Harry Potter Doll
Make your own Chosen One in Cascade 220 Superwash Charcoal, Gray, Ruby, Lemon, Aran, White, Chocolate, and Mocha
11. And finally, the item that no Harry Potter fan should be without, the House Scarf!
Use the following Cascade 220 colors:
Happy Knitting! And be sure to wear your warm knits while you wait in line at midnight on July 15th!
-Nadya the Intern
June 28th, 2011
Earlier this week, we received a whopping 50 bags (that’s 10 balls of yarn per bag) of Plymouth Encore Worsted and Colorspun! That’s a lot, even for us! It took us half a day to label and rearrange the fun new (and old) colors!
We are just so proud of our bursting-with-yarn-goodness shelves that we had to snap a picture! Come by to check out the new colors, or visit our site if you’d rather couch-surf!
June 24th, 2011
As the post title states, we love you guys – our blog readers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, local community members, and online customers!
We love you guys so much that we’ve put together 4 amazing gift bags that you can win! We will be spreading these out over the next four months, just to extend the excitement.
Our first one up: (drumroll….)
In this one, you get a Lantern Moon shawl pin, a cute knitterly magnet, a complete kit of Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo, including a shrug pattern and needles, 2 skeins of HiKoo Simplicity, HiyaHiya “puppy snips”, and an Addi Turbo needle US 5 24″. Whoa, that is a LOT of good stuff!
To enter, all you need to do is leave us a comment on this blog post. We’ll chose one of you lucky people randomly, and will post the winner on our blog on Friday, July 15th.
Good luck to all!
-Posted by Samantha
June 24th, 2011
Happy Fourth of July! We hope you have a wonderful weeking with your friends and families!
Our holiday hours are as follows:
July 2nd: 10am – 1pm
July 3rd: CLOSED
July 4th: CLOSED
June 23rd, 2011
A lifetime ago, I started working in the high-tech industry for a software company in Paris (yeah, it was a tough job but someone had to do it!) During that time, I spent a good deal of my days working with folks in different countries and helping them translate the product into their languages.
These days, I get a little charge when a crafter walks in from another country and they are having trouble communicating – I see it as a challenge and an opportunity as I always learn something about a different tradition and, inevitably, something new about knitting and crocheting. Most of the time we manage with a lot of hand-waving and needle-waving and sometimes we manage because we have a lot of people in the store who speak different languages – Spanish and Chinese among them.
For knitters and crocheters who grew up speaking Spanish (and especially if they learned how to follow patterns in Spanish), I notice that it is sometimes difficult for them to read English knitting and crochet patterns. Normally Dolores translates for our Spanish-speaking customers – but since you do not have Dolores at home, we are providing you with a handy little reference. We are happy to say that Nadya, our summer intern, has translated a standard list of Knitting and Crochet Abbreviations and Terms into Spanish. She has helpfully put them into pdf documents that should be easy for you to download and print out for your reference.
Download the crochet list here: Crochet Terms English-Spanish
And then download your knitting list here: Knitting Terms English-Spanish
We would love some feedback - send it all to info AT ninerubies DOT com. We are planning on translating into a few other languages and would like to catch issues and incorporate great ideas sooner rather than later.
June 23rd, 2011
We are so excited because, for the first time, a knitting show is coming to San Mateo!
The Interweave Knitting Lab will be setting up shop at the Marriott San Mateo from November 3rd through the 6th. The event will include day-long classes, a knitter’s market, and lectures. Some knitting LEGENDS will be appearing at the Interweave Labs – Barbara Walker, Alice Starmore, and Meg Swansen all in one place!
Barbara Walker, Legend
Nine Rubies will be setting up a booth at the market, hopefully selling a great knitting kit (we are throwing ideas around at the moment). We will let you know which booth we will be in when we get more details!
If you will be visiting from out of town, we would be happy to offer our recommendations for the area, and we welcome a discussion in the comments section of the best places to eat and hang out in San Mateo!
June 20th, 2011
In August 2010, we got a call from Groupon letting me know that Nine Rubies Knitting had been “selected” to be featured on Groupon. I thought this was a great sales tactic (who doesn’t like to be selected?) and felt flattered at the same time. I ran a few spreadsheets and had a great time analyzing what Groupon could do for us. At the surface, this is how Groupon works:
- They advertise a super-great deal – 50% off at….. In our case, I decided to do “Get $20 worth of merchandise at Nine Rubies if you pay $10 now.” In short a $10 for $20 deal as it has now come to be called.
- This deal is available for 24 hours on the Groupon website and they send it out to their subscribers (also known as a mailing list). They kept referring to our area as Peninsula and I was not sure how that worked, as you could not really sign up for a Peninsula list on their website. There was San Jose or San Francisco. Either way, I have no idea how many people my Groupon Deal went out to.
- The deal ran on September 15th and once purchased was valid for one year. Yes, if you have a Groupon it’s still valid until September 15th 2011. Our data is until May 30th, 2011.
- On September 15th 2010, people could go to the Groupon website, pay Groupon $10 and buy up to 4 coupons for our store per person. Nine Rubies sold 468 Groupons in that 24 hour period. Which means that Groupon collected $4680 for our deal on Day 1. Yes, it’s a good business for Groupon.
- They split this 50-50 with us, which means that Nine Rubies was to get $2340 in 3 installments. The first installment was sent to me 5 days after the Run Date, the second installment after 30 days, and the third installment after 60 days. Note: Groupon can also charge a credit card fee but in our case this was clearly 0% in the contract. We got 3 checks of $780 on time.
So, for every Groupon sold, I was on the hook for $20 worth of merchandise/services and was getting about $5.00 for it from Groupon. For those of you that don’t know, most retail works on a 50% margin – which means 50% of everything we sell is cost that we have to pay the supplier. This means that for every $20 sale, I would have $10 of pure cost. I was going to lose $5 per Groupon sold.So, why did I choose to run with this?
- I started out looking at our average sale – which was around $40 at that time. I figured that it was quite difficult to buy something for only $20 in our store. (Turns out I was wrong about that.) I figured that to break even, I would need an average sale of about $32. Even if the average Groupon customer was more price-conscious and their average sale was $35, I would more than break even.
- I also thought that this was a marketing campaign and would bring new customers into the store – as advised by the Groupon sales people. I made a conscious effort not to advertize this deal to our regular customers through mailing list, blogs etc. (sorry folks!) I wanted to see how many new customers this would attract to the store.
- One more thing to keep in mind are Redemption Rates – what are Redemption Rates? This refers to the idea that people often forget to redeem their coupons even though they might have paid for it. Groupon, Living Social etc. use a 85% redemption rate metric when asked specifically. This means that only 85% of the people will end up redeeming their Groupons.
So, mostly on the strength of #1, I decided to go run with Groupon. If you want to check out the Nine Rubies Groupon page, just click here.
How did we do? I get asked this all the time so, I will do my very best to answer your questions.
Current Redemption Rate
Yes, the Groupon page says we sold 472 Groupons but our Groupon Merchant Center says that we sold 468 – probably some people realized later that it was a yarn store, not a jewelry store. So, I am sticking with 468 at this time.
As of May 30th 2011, 247 Groupons have been redeemed, which makes it a 53% redemption rate. This is 8.5 months later and granted that we have until September 15th, 2011 – another 3.5 months to go. Redemption rates look even lower than predicted at the 85%.
So, what was our average sale? As the data stands today, my average sale is $33.43. Lower than I expected. Moreover, there were a few big spenders and plenty of just a little over $20 spenders. The distribution looks something like this:
The big cluster is the bottom left-hand corner indicates a lot of sales around $20 and right at the start. The X-axis is merely a matter of dates they were redeemed at. The single line in the middle indicates that the average sale went up as time passed, probably because people who came later had more time to make a better decision.
Out of the Groupons redeemed, only 15 of them are customers that were regulars i.e. they bought on a regular basis from our store. The other 232 were new customers. Out of these new customers, we have seen returns, people join the store loyalty program. I also counted the people who had not visited the store in more than a 2 years as new customers – it seemed as if people who had not visited our store for a while were somewhat reminded into coming to our store again. It worked just like good advertising. I think this is all good news. For what I would call minimal amount of work, Nine Rubies got a lot of new customers.
All in all, we would run this campaign again but with a few caveats. And of course, more analysis. I did a little focus group at the store and that generated more ideas and questions. We did run a campaign with a more local version of Groupon called ” Juice in the City” and we have to still analyze that data. So, this is not the last you will be hearing from me on the topic. Send in your questions and requests and stay tuned!
June 6th, 2011