Saturday, July 24, 2010

Top-secret color selection tips from an obsessed yarn buyer.

I recently saw a post in the Local Yarn Store Owners' group on ravelry. "How do I pick colors?!" asked an overwhelmed new yarn store owner. "Do I pick what I like, what customers want, or both?" You could just feel her panic.

I could really empathize. There's was nothing quite like that very first meeting with the Cascade yarn rep long ago, when he whipped out that color card and displayed the 220 colors of Cascade 220 ("plus hand-dye colors!"). Where to begin?

Lately I've been doing quite a lot of buying, with Fall fast approaching and our second store opening in just a couple of weeks. I tell you, it never gets old. Opening every yarn's color card still gives me that kid-in-a-candy-store feeling. Kinda like our new customers feel when they open Loops' door for the first time. Yummmm! So many colors!

So, there are three behind-the-scenes tricks I use when selecting colors, to help me stay focused. First, I closely follow color predictions, which come out several seasons in advance. There are many Nostradamuses of fashion color prediction, everyone from the Color Marketing Group to Vogue to Rachel Zoe. Being in advertising, I have come to trust Communication Arts and the PantoneĀ® Color Predictions. Here are Pantone's predictions for Fall 2010:

I am personally very heartened by these predictions. After a couple years of grey, charcoal and black, this feels like a fresh, new, waxy box of Crayolas! Much more like a Spring palette than a drab Fall/Winter one.

My second guidepost for color selection is simply, what is selling at Loops? For our first few years in business, pink was the thang. Anything pink was the first to go. Red was a close second (the Aries in me always gravitates to red), followed by lime green - yes, lime green! In the past year or so, I've noticed a trend back toward all things blue. Again, perhaps a sign of the national mood. I'm hoping for more pink and lime days ahead.

And lastly, I will share with you my most coveted, closely guarded secret for yarn buying color selection. This is the trick to fall back on when the Berroco rep lays out her 8-foot-long swatch card for Comfort. Remember the little Rainbow Song we all learned as kids? Sing it with me..."Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue...I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow TOO!"

Yes folks, when I am overwhelmed and exhausted with choices, I use this little mnemonic tool to make sure I've covered the whole color wheel. I do it in my head, of course.

Most of the time.

P.S. Looking for a project that treats you to a whole rainbow of yarn colors? Check out the Spectrum Baby Blanket.

- Shelley
shop online at (check out the new Shop Loops page!)


Blogger Dana and Daisy said...

great tips! Not that I am a trend setter, but I've personally been feeling the urge for deep shades of color to break me out of the gray/neutral/zone.

But not the popsicle colors of pinks and greens that we were all drawn to before. I'm looking more for say a slightly muted or mellowed shade of colors but those that still pack a lot of punch in them.

Does that make sense?

July 24, 2010 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger Cassidy said...

I am LOVING this fall color prediction. Not that I don't love brown/black/gray but please- give me some color!!!

July 24, 2010 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger DragonsChest said...

Aw come on! Sing it for the rep, you know she'd love to hear it. :)

July 29, 2010 at 8:36 AM  

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