You spoke, we listened: Changes coming in 2019!

Hello lovely friends! Before properly starting this blog post, I’d love to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s supported our work this past year. I can’t believe it’s almost the holiday season, and I’m in the middle of planning 2019 already. The year feels like a blur, in both good and bad ways, and I can only express my heartfelt gratitude for every single order, every single mention on Instagram, every lovely email and compliment we’ve gotten over the past 11 months.

A few weeks ago, I asked you to weigh in on a couple of thoughts I was pondering for our direction 2019. Something I’m perpetually struggling with is balancing my own creative vision for HLH Designs with what you lovelies want and need from us, and, truth be told, sometimes this has gone extremely well, and other times, not so much. So for next year, I decided that I wanted to ask you directly what you want - and wow, you did deliver.

I was really excited to see very clear tendencies for most answers of our customer survey, and I’d love to share them with you here and talk a bit about what that means for HLH Designs in 2019. Buckle up, grab a cup of tea, and let’s chat!

  1. You want core colors, supplemented by seasonally available special colors.

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Almost 62% confirmed a gut feeling I’ve been honing for quite a while: That offering a set of core colors that are always available and adding seasonal colors for a few months to the line-up would be more in line with our values as a company and the way you like to shop.

While there were a few people who like the frequent changes in our color line-up, the vast majority mentioned that you like to ponder your purchases, and feel turned off by the prospect of having to buy something right this second because it might not be available anymore in the future.

This is something I’ve been pondering over the past few months, too. Switching out colors every few months feels at odds with my desire to advocate for mindful consumption, for taking your time to deliberate whether you really need something, for slower and more deliberate purchase decisions.

So! In January 2019, we’re going to introduce our set of signature colors. We’re going to start with 3 colors, mostly neutrals, which are going to be always available in the shop (pending inventory levels, of course, but we’ll restock them often should they sell out!).

2. You want constant availability of bags instead of shop updates.

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Hand in hand with your desire for signature colors comes this next result: Constant availability of bags in the shop instead of shop updates. This is also something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and the main reason I haven’t done it yet is because, frankly, shop updates always trigger sales and constant availability of bags has usually resulted in lower monthly revenue. Case in point: I’ve had the shop almost fully stocked for the majority of fall, and I really only see an influx of sales when there’s a new addition (e.g. a collaboration).

But: How to market this is my problem, not yours, and your preference is so clear that I decided to do the following:

  • The signature colors are always available in the shop (pending stock levels, as explained above).

  • Any special seasonal colors we’re doing are going to be launched at a set shop update date, and we’ll restock them whenever they run out.

  • Any collaborations or special kits will be stocked during set shop updates.

  • We’ll proactively communicate the restock and shop update dates on the website, in our newsletter, and on Instagram.

I hope this marries the best of both worlds!

3. You love yarn and bag kits (but they don’t sell that well anymore…)

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One of the most interesting results of the survey was this: 45% of you prefer yarn & bag kits, followed by 30% who prefer bags with custom-dyed fabrics. (Note that you couldn’t select more than one option.) Printed fabric bags are your least favorites, which I would have guessed based on how little we sold of the pre-order print bags this year.

But! I thought that for sure you’d prefer the custom-dyed fabric options over the kits, because the yarn and bag kits we’ve done this year have been selling quite slowly, especially compared to 2017, and the custom-dyed bags have been flying off the shelves whenever we offered them.

What to do with this result, then? I’ll try and balance both, and keep doing kits as well as custom-dyed bags. I love the latter because it allows me to play with fabric that I usually don’t get to play with, but I also love showcasing yarn dyers you might not have heard of before (which is a big plus as you told me in the survey!).

4. We’re doing a community-designed bag!

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Ohhh, this is going to be SO GOOD. I already have the plan for the design options that I want you to vote for / against written up, and I was so glad that over 70% of you loved this idea.

We’re kicking this off in January, and I can’t wait to see whether you love the participation and implementation of this idea, and whether we might even do it again after the first round!

5. We won’t offer a bag subscription (no surprise here).

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Truth be told, I didn’t think this idea would fly, and you definitely confirmed that gut feeling of mine. A bag subscription seems to be not your first priority, and while I love thinking about subscription ideas, I yet have to come across one that feels accessible enough and adds enough value to your life to make it happen. If you have ideas / wishes, do let me know!

So - that’s it, those are the results from our customer survey. I had a few open-ended questions in there with regards to which companies you’d like to see us collaborate with and which magazines you read, which are definitely going to inform who I approach for collabs next year and where I want to place our products.

I hope you liked this little glimpse into the decision making process for our 2019! I was so happy to see so many of you reply to the customer survey, and I feel a bit calmer and more confident about next year, knowing that the really big decisions for us are rooted in your answers. Onwards and upwards!