Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm a Loopy Groupie - or: The Fandom of Shopping

Some shopping places get it right.
Yes, we all know it's a business. We buy what they sell. but with so many shops online and (if you're lucky) around town, how do you choose where to shop?
If we were all perfectly rational people, as economic model would have it (for you engineers out there, the horse is a sphere), the decision would be easy.

But we're not all rational. We don't just want the best price for the best product. We want the intangible warm n' fuzzies, that bit of a personal touch.

You hear it over and over again. "Shop local. Support your community. Don't shop online."
Does that mean that all online shops are big, anonymous, business-only, bottom-line enterprises? Are all truly local-to-you shops nice and friendly and caring?
Yeah, well, no.

There are shops that just make you happy to be there. And I won't lie, a large part of that is special goodies and a personal touch.

Take, oh, I don't know. A yarn shop for example? Yeah, no one saw that one coming...
Where I'm looking, The Loopy Ewe is easily the most talked about yarn shop out there. People love Sheri and the Elves, as her staff is known.
I must have heard about them on a podcast, or maybe on Ravelry. Their website is gorgeous and tempting, and their selection of sock-weight yarns (as well as other goodies like lace and sport weight gorgeousnesses, patterns, fiber, kits and more) is overwhelmingly great.

I was a complete yarn noon when I first ordered from them, but I was completely charmed when my first order arrived in the mail with a little present and a hand-written note on my order form. Awwwwww.
Warm n' fuzzies all around.

They also have frequent shopper points. For each $250 you spend, you get store credit. Who doesn't love that?

But their coup de grace is what's called The Loopy Groupies, a status one attains after 6 orders from the Loopy Ewe.
From their site:

So - about those Loopy Groupies - what IS that exactly? We include fun little gifts in your first five packages from us. Why five? Because that's how many fun little gifts we could come up with! :-) With your sixth package, you become an official member of the Loopy Groupie Club. (We fondly refer to you as "Loopies" for short). With that, you'll receive:
  • a fun care package to welcome you in (a cool tote with a couple of goodies inside)
  • Loopy Kisses with each order (you'll have to wait to see those in person)
  • advance notice of all new yarns and products right when they go up on the website (although if any of you have a particular yarn line you're watching for, of course you can email me and request to get notice of that yarn early. We're always happy to do that. The only exceptions to that are for Wollmeise, Numma Numma and The Sanguine Gryphon lines, simply because they sell out too quickly for the notice to get to you in time.)
  • an extra appreciation gift a couple of times a year, when we find something fun that we want to include in your order that month!
We hope to have YOU as a Loopy Groupie, soon!
And today, I joined their ranks.
As well as being the fastest delivery I've ever had from the US, my package came with free yarn.
That's right. Free.
A freebie skein of Madelinetosh Sock welcomes me to the rank of yarn overspenders.

Sure, maybe if I shopped around, I could find their yarns on special on other sites for less money. But the Loopy Ewe has won my heart, and they're going to be at the very least my first stop whenever I need to increase the stash.

Do you have warm n' fuzzies for a yarn shop, online or in person? Or is it always only a business decision?

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