Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mallory's VIP Sneak Preview Contest.

Ask my daughter, Mallory, what she wants to be when she grows up, and she will tell you she wants to "own Loops worldwide." (Of course, that is after she completes veterinary school and wins American Idol.)

To that end, she is constantly dreaming up new marketing ideas for us. Many involve giving away lots of free yarn (she has still not fully grasped all of the basics of retail). But the other day in the car, she popped out with one that was pure genius.

"Mom, before you open the south Loops, you should have a contest and the winner gets a sneak peek at the new store before everyone else."

Man, why didn't I think of that?

So here is the contest, and it has a built-in purpose. See, in the new store, there's going to be a special magnetic Inspiration Wall, where we will hang photos of customers' completed projects, along with details on the yarn and pattern. We eventually want to fill the whole wall (and it's a big one!).

So to enter the contest, all you have to do is send us a photo of yourself or someone you know, modeling a project you made with yarn from Loops. Include the name of the pattern (including the URL or website if you got it online), and the name of the yarn. You can email the photo to, or bring by an actual printed 4x6 photo to the Utica Square Loops. There is a limit of three contest entries per person.

You have until July 26th to enter. Then, we will randomly choose 5 winners to take a special VIP tour of the new south store on Thursday, August 5, complete with special favors. Now, please don't inundate me with hundreds of emails asking "When do you open?" I'm not quite ready to announce that, but it will be very soon. I promise. To tide you over, here are a few of demolition "before" pics:

One caveat: Please don't tell Mallory if you think this is a brilliant idea. She will surely use it as fodder for negotiating a salary!

- Shelley
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Puffin the magic blanket.

I'm willing to bet that most everyone of my generation cannot hear the word "puff" without breaking into this chorus: "Puff, the magic dragon, lived by the sea...and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee..."

(If I put this song into your head and it doesn't leave for the entire day, I apologize.)

When I double-checked my memory of the lyrics with Wikipedia, I discovered two interesting facts. One, at some point the lyrics were changed to be more gender-neutral, from "A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys" to "...not so girls and boys." And two, the common misperception that the lyrics contained veiled references to smoking marijauna ("puffin," "Paper" and "draggin'") were just an urban legend.

What in the world does this have to do with yarn? We have carried the yarn "Puffin" for several years now, and it has become a huge Loops fan favorite. It is truly like no other yarn, made of supersoft strips of fleece that knit up into an incredible squishable smooshable fabric. I love this stuff. And every single time I look at the label, I mentally break into a chorus of "Puff the Magic Dragon." Sometimes, I actually sing it out loud a little bit.

And joy of joys, we just got a new shipment of Puffin, with some awesome new colors. (You'll have to come to Loops to see the very latest).

One of our most popular shop models is the Peek-a-boo Puffin Blanket, a free pattern here on the Crystal Palace website. It only takes 5 balls of Puffin.

There's also the Garter Ridge Blanket which takes 7 balls. Both are great beginner projects, and work up extra-fast in the bulky Puffin.

And while you're at the Crystal Palace site, spend a little time perusing their enormous library of free patterns, especially these for Mini Mochi and Mochi Plus, two of the hottest sellers for the company. Both yarns are lofty and completely washable wool in amazing slow color changes.

- Shelley
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