Retail Marketing Tip: How Sunni Made $4,800 in 7 Days

retail marketing tip

Learn the retail marketing tip Sunni used to make $4,800 in just 7 days, in this success story! Sunni is a member of our RETAILMavens Coaching program where strategies like this helps you grow sales in a consistent way. Click to learn more about the Sales Breakthrough System we use inside the program for real retail success!

Cathy:
Welcome Sunni! I’m so happy to have you with us today, thanks for joining us!
So listen, we are here to talk about how it is that you did $4,800 in days, and equally important is that you had a blast doing it. But before we get to that, please tell me about your story. Tell me a little bit about your journey, how you got to where you are.

Sunni:
My store is called Yarn and I’m in Eureka, California. So way, way up north, five and a half hours north of San Francisco. So people think San Francisco’s north in California, but we’re in the middle of the redwoods. We’re on the coast. It’s really, really pretty here. It’s an old Victorian town. So I started my store in 2008, right as the economy was totally collapsing, but it just felt for me like it was the right time. So I moved into the corner of a friend of mine’s vintage shop to start. And that worked out really well. Because I had two little kids at the time and I couldn’t be there all the time. And so we shared the hours and it worked out really well.

It was a great way for me to start. I could start kind of small and work my way up. So I was there for about three years and then I moved into this tiny little spot, but it was right on the main shopping street. So it was really great. It was very narrow, I could touch the walls when I spread my arms out, but it had 14 foot high ceilings. So we just put products up the wall and got a library ladder. So it was this really little shop. And I wanted it to feel like a candy store, because yarn is so pretty with all the colors. So I wanted it to feel like a little candy store. I was there for three years and then I moved into another spot in this neighborhood, right in the center of town, which is near my house, and we had more room so we could have classes and have our knitting groups. And that was great, I really loved being there, but I just recently in October moved to a new spot, that’s much larger. So I was in a 650 square foot space, but only about half of that was retail space, and now I’m in a 2500 square foot space.

Cathy:
Huge! It’s a mansion!

Sunni:
Yeah. It’s bigger than my house. My husband, when we came to look at it, my husband was like, this is bigger than our house! And I had a little bit of a panic, but it’s been so great. So we have a classroom space in the back. We have the retail space in the front and it’s just, it feels so good. It’s really open and pretty. And we love it. So it’s going really well.

Cathy:
And you’ve had a really great response. Haven’t you?

Sunni:
Yes! People are really excited about it. And we added a gift shop area to the store. I had only pretty much done yarn, but with this new space, we had so much room and this neighborhood used to have a couple of gift shops and they both had been gone for years. And so I felt like, oh, that’s something that’s missing in this neighborhood. And so it felt like a really good opportunity to bring in some gift shop items and people are so excited about that too. Because now they don’t have to drive downtown or you know, go somewhere else.

Cathy:
That’s really fun. Let’s chat about that for a second. Because how did you decide what type of gift items to bring in? I mean it’s got to be totally overwhelming because there are so many things to choose from, right?

Sunni:
I knew I wanted to have a lot of local items and I wanted to focus on things that were made in the United States and companies that I really believe in. And so I had been carrying some chocolate, in the old store because we have so many incredible craft businesses. So one of the things is this amazing chocolate that ‘s called Dick Taylor craft chocolate. They make the whole thing from bean to bar. It’s just beautiful, everything about it. The packaging’s beautiful. The bars are beautiful. They’re just incredible. That was kind of like an inspiration. I thought, I want to have stuff like that. So I was able to bring in more chocolate. I have a lot of chocolate in the shop now.

And then I wanted to do cards because that just seemed logical. And then candles, we have things that are related to knitting and yarn. So I have these really nice wool, dryer balls, I just love them. And bags, because those can cross over. You could use it as a knitting bag, but you could also use it as a shopping bag. There are these really wonderful canvas bags that are printed with hand drawn designs from this company in San Francisco. So I just started here and then gradually spread out, almost everything is either from the United States or Canada.

It’s been so much fun, I will always love doing the job, but adding this has been just fun for me. And it’s fun to share new products with all of my customers.

Cathy:
And you answered my question because you talked about what your focus was. So it wasn’t so much the item as much as the story behind the item, which really is helpful to people. Because I think it’s so easy to get distracted and get overwhelmed by everything. But it becomes crucial, you wouldn’t think that a yarn store could sell chocolate, but it is just that your people love being there. And so you’re just giving them things that are consistent with your mission around the, around the yarn too. Correct?

Sunni:
Right. One of the things I brought in is tea, because it just felt like if you’re knitting and you have a cup of tea and you have a little chocolate, like what could be more perfect? So yeah, I brought in this tea company called Simpson and Vail and they’re one of the oldest tea companies in the United States and their tea comes in these beautiful tins, everything about it is so beautiful. And they do a whole literary themed selection like a black tea, but then it’s called the Jane Austin blend and they have a Charles Dickens blend and William Shakespeare, it’s so fun. It’s just things like that, that felt really like it works with what I was already doing, but it’s another just kind of an extension.

Cathy:
Wow. That’s wonderful! I just think it’s so true that people don’t realize how they are so much more than what they sell. I mean, like you’re not just a yarn store. I loved how you described that you were like a candy store because when you have that vision for the kind of store you have, then that just impacts everything you do, the way you merchandise, the way you market, it impacts the way you’re selling to people. When I say selling, I’m talking about the way you talk about the merchandise with people.

Sunni:
And I think you’ll love this. So one of the things I’ve been sharing with my customers is that my idea is that I’m trying to find companies that are making these products that just put so much love into what they’re doing. And then my store is the channel of love. So I bring in the products from the makers and then I can share those products with the people who are buying them as gifts. And then they are sharing that love with the person that they’re giving it to. So that’s kind of how I feel, I want my store to be a channel of love. It just flows right through.

Cathy:
Wow. And, and how we talk about it in team RETAILMavens is that we get this amazing opportunity to like, hold your dream in our hands with you, and to help expand it and help it have more life. We love so much what we do. And so we joke sometimes about how you retailers are all our kids and then all of your vendors and all of your customers, they’re like our grandkids! I love how the impact of that channel of love can just keep flowing. I think that’s a beautiful way of looking at it. That’s really powerful. Oh, I just love that. And you share that on social media, right?

Sunni:
Yeah. And they really like being able to talk about the people that are making these things and who they are and why they’re doing it. It’s really fun to share that with people. I feel like then you have this connection. It’s not like you’re just buying some random thing. There’s a connection there. And it means so much more.

Cathy:
Exactly. Actually that’s a perfect segue into the reason why I wanted to talk to you, because when I said that she did $4,800 in seven days, that’s not just in her store. I mean it was in her store, but it was with a specific product, a specific strategy. So talk to us about that!

Sunni:
So it’s the mystery boxes! So I call them my sunshine box. It’s a holiday sunshine box. And the idea is that we’re boxing up some sunshine to send to somebody for the holidays and people are buying it! They don’t know what’s going to be in it, they just trust that I’m going to put something together for them. And because I’m a yarn store, I always include some yarn and a pattern. And I usually write the pattern. So this year I designed a shawl. The pattern was included and the yarn that you needed to make it. But then we add all these other goodies.

There’s always chocolate, and there is a little local producer called Ohana Organics, it’s wonderful body care products so we added a shea butter hand cream. I had a fun sticker, this one said: We’re all in this together. We also added a knitting needle gauge that a friend of mine makes. She always puts my logo on them, so they’re really sweet.

This time, because it was the holidays, we included drinking chocolate, which is made by this local company, Dick Taylor craft chocolate, and it’s so good! It comes in a package and you just add milk and it’s the best hot chocolate you’ve ever had in your life. And then I had another local gal who makes marshmallows. So she made little packages of marshmallows for us. So I put those in there.

And I usually include a little note and it’s so much fun to put everything together. I have a blast doing it and then it just feels so good. It’s like I’m sending this little gift out to people. They don’t know what they’re getting and then they get to open it, it’s a surprise and it’s just so much fun!

Cathy:
It’s that whole channel of what love again, right?

Sunni:
Yeah!

Cathy:
This is a strategy that we’ve taught for a couple years now, but what I so loved and what was so different about the way you did it, and the reason I asked you to speak about it, is that I believe that one of the reasons for your success was the fact that you loved doing this.
Like this was so much fun for you.

Most retailers, when we teach it inside our [RETAILMavens Coaching program – hyperlink to sales page], it throws people so off their game, because you’re so used to spending so much time and energy into displaying and curating this collection. But this is a mystery box and they don’t know who would buy a mystery? So how did you over that in your head?

Sunni:
What happened was during COVID, when we were shut down, we did these mystery quarantine kits, it was a suggestion that a yarn store owner friend had, and she shared it with a whole bunch of us. And it was amazing! When I first heard of it, I was like who’s going to do that? Who’s going to buy something they don’t know what they’re getting? That didn’t make any sense to me, but I tried it and it was incredibly successful.

So with the mystery box idea, it felt like, okay, this makes sense. And I think part of it is that you build that trust. So they know that I’m going to put something really good together and they’re going to really like it.

And when I’m choosing things to put in the box, I’m often thinking, ooh, so and so’s going to love this! Or this person’s going to have so much fun when they open it. I’m thinking about the people and it’s like giving a gift. It really is the same idea as when you give a gift personally, to somebody. That’s how it feels for me, like I’m giving a gift to my customers and it makes it so much fun. And then making the box look pretty and all of that is super fun for me and I really enjoy it!

Cathy:
And it came across so loud and clear in all your videos, because you could tell how excited you were to share it, and all the love that you put into it. And that for sure helped, I’m really positive that that helped create your success too.

Sunni:
And one of the things I learned was to put myself in the pictures, holding the box. That made a big difference, because people could see it, because really it’s like me giving this to you, rather than just having a picture of the box, it really made a difference to have me holding it.

Cathy:
Right. It makes a huge difference! It’s incredible in all the years we’ve been teaching this, we’ve learned so many little details that really impact the success of these boxes. It’s interesting. One thing you mentioned was about how you feel like you’ve built up a level of trust with your raving fans. And it’s true that we’ve discovered that brand new stores, for example, don’t have as much success with these surprise boxes right away, because they haven’t built up enough trust.

What I love about a store like yours Sunni, is that it’s reaping the benefit of all those seeds of love. You’ve planted all these seeds for 14 years, right? It’s amazing. And people love it and so you love doing it. You could tell and I’m positive that it’s a combination of those two things together that brings the success of this strategy.

Sunni:
Yeah. I think that’s true.

Cathy:
What was the price point of your box, if you don’t mind me asking?

Sunni:
It was $150.

Cathy:
So the other thing I love about this is, do you have any other items in the store that are $150?

Sunni:
Maybe some needle sets? I think that’s all.

Cathy:
Right. Because I can remember having someone in the [RETAILMavens Coaching program – hyperlink to sales page] say, I don’t have any items that are this price point. Why are people going to give me this much money when they don’t even know what they’re getting? And it’s more money than they’ve given me for almost everything else, within my four walls. So it’s wonderful to hear you say that they do it when they love you. That’s the fact.

Sunni:
Yeah, and everybody has said it, it was completely worth it. No one was disappointed. Everybody’s been so happy and excited and I get really great feedback. I have people who’ve bought them multiple times now because I’ve done them, I think this is my third time. And so I’ve had people buy them each time. And then buy them for gifts too.

Cathy:
Right. Wow. That’s so exciting. Thank you so much for sharing. I have one more question to ask you. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself when you held your keys in your hand, opening your store that very first day?

Sunni:
I think honestly I would say to get some help. Because I just didn’t know what I was doing! And I had some retail experience. I had worked in retail before, but when you own your own store, it’s a whole different thing.There’s just so many different hats to wear. And I just remember that first year, feeling like I was just treading water, and just trying to survive it. As I’ve gone along, I’ve learned so much. And I just feel like I could have learned so much more, so much faster. I would have gotten to where I am now so much faster if I’d had help to begin with.

And I really honestly mean that. I’m not just saying it. It really is true that if I had found you guys sooner, I would just be so much further along right now than I am. I’m happy that I am where I am, but I would’ve gotten here sooner for sure.

Because you can’t know everything, and there are certain things that I was good at and other things that I had to figure out and it would’ve been so nice to have somebody to help guide me through all of that.

I’ve just been so grateful, I feel like you’re on my team, you’re supporting me and if I have questions or, the thing I always tell people about the RETAILMavens is you have so many ideas. It’s not just the nuts and bolts, which are there too, which is really helpful, but there are these other fun ideas. I’m not doing it on my own anymore. I’ve got support. And if I get stuck, if I need some help there’s people to ask.

So all of that just feels so helpful. Because running a business on your own can be so lonely.

Cathy:
Right. Gosh, thank you so much for saying that. That’s exactly how we feel about what we do. We really do feel like we’re on the same team. It’s really an honor. We say all the time that we have the best job in the world because it’s just such a blessing

And I just so love your idea of this whole channel of love, and to think that we get to help make that channel wider and bigger so you can share more of your love onto everybody else Thank you. So tell us where everyone can find you!

Sunni: 
Website: https://www.yarn-fun.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Yarnfun
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yarnfun2840

Cathy:
Wonderful. Thank you so very much for sharing all your wisdom with us!
Happy retailing, everybody.

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