By Kristin Ford, Shibui Knits LLC
Note: Kristin and her team's innovation, the Shibui Mix Concept, was recognized at the June 2012 NeedleArts Trade Show as a TNNA Needlearts Business Innovation Awards winner. The program is a joint project of TNNA and Hart Business Research.
We noticed that the average knitter has a bit of hesitation when faced with the idea of using more than one strand of yarn at a time, so we created our Shibui Mix line to take the mystery out of multi-strand knitting. The patterns are simple and straightforward, and the presentation of the patterns in our Mix Box makes it a fun and highly visible part of our retail partners' environments.
The Mix Box is provided free of charge to our retailers for use as a point of sale display. The box acts as a compact filing system for everything a knitter needs to get the most out of Mix:
- Look Books for each season fit in the left compartment, with space behind for Color Cards
- Tactile Yarn Cards and Flash Cards fit in the right compartment.
- The Mix patterns (to be purchased from the retailer) are visibly displayed and readily accessible, rather than being buried in a binder.
By the Book
Each knitted piece is shown in a Look Book format, styled three ways. Each season, a new Look Book is sent to retailers who purchase the latest Mix patterns and yarn. The idea is that customers can flip through the Look Book to find a pattern or style that suits them. By styling each piece in multiple ways, we hope to appeal to a broad range of knitters.
The binding of each Look Book is marked with a color of the season, and the patterns filed in the back of the box are coded correspondingly, for easy pattern hunting.
Once customers spot a pattern that piques their interest, they can explore the mixing possibilities with the Color, Yarn & Flash Cards.
It's in the Cards
• Each yarn line has a Color Card showing the complete range of colors, updated seasonally.
• A knitted swatch, clearly labeled, is wrapped around a Tactile Yarn Card (the front of which is shown at right) — allowing customers to get a feel for the ingredients and how they knit up on their own.
• Flash Cards, inspired by vintage flash cards and pictured at right, give the gauge for each combination of yarns. They help customers substitute combination yarns in more traditional single yarn patterns. For example: "SC (our Silk Cloud, a silk and mohair blend) + H (our Heichi, a 100% silk tweed) = worsted weight." We give the gauge and suggested needle size for each yarn combination.
Beyond sparking customer interest at the shop, Mix Boxes are also a fun way to organize knitting events. We offer guidelines for retailers to set up their own "Mix Parties," and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.