We talked tech about naming sheep. Let’s talk shop about naming colorways. How does a fiber artist name their colorways and how does it impact their sales?
Amavelwynd, another fiber artist and live streamer, has some great fiber names and I asked her where she gets her inspiration. She asks her audience to pick the names for her. “I’m horrible at names but then I ended up with purple gradients named after McDonald’s mascots, like the twilight Grimace rolags,” she adds. In addition to seeking help from her audience, she also peruses Google looking for pictures in similar colors and goes. Amavelwynd’s shop is very new, so she’s not sure how names will impact her sales.
Sea Glass from Amavelwynd — I’m not going to lie, her rolags are beautiful, long, and the silver sparkle she uses is to die for. Sea Glass is one she Googled until she found the perfect name. I bought some of this colorway, even though I have a very similar colorway in my own shop. Why? The name caught my imagination. I love blues, greens and yellows, but the name made the sale for me. I paired Sea Glass with another colorway called Watermelon Tourmaline. The sound of that alone feels sparkly and special.
Amavelwynd also names some of her colors after fandoms, like her Groot rolags from Guardians of the Galaxy. Because her audience is strongly pop culture based, these items are also hot sellers. It helps that she has a great eye for color!
Hellchick of Glorious Grazers, also a live stream sensation, raises alpacas and incorporates their fiber into her products and colorways. She says, “Like [Amavelwynd], I tend to ask people on stream, but otherwise, I usually just go with something from nature.”
Peacock Benz , while visually the most different in these three examples, Hellchick brings the same general colors together beautifully. I can’t tell you how I’ve drooled over these batts.
By incorporating the name of the alpaca whose fiber is included in the batt, Hellchick creates a personal connection between the buyer and the herd. Natural colors are animal name + fiber content; Benz Silk Blend, for example. She talks about her individual alpacas on stream and viewers have a picture of each animal’s personality. Buying one of her batts is like getting a letter or a birthday card from a friend; the personality shines through.
For myself, I struggle to name colors. Part of me wishes the colors could just speak for themselves! But when a customer looks at a listing, the name is every bit as important as the picture.
Look familiar? This colorway is called Fairies for one reason; it was made to go into the fairy-themed Phat Fiber box a while back. Each month, these boxes have a different theme and when I’ve participated, I don’t branch too far from the theme for my colorway name.
These colorways stay as made-to-order items in my shop. Other colorways, I let my community of viewers name, much like Amavelwynd and these always sell better than the themed rolags because I make them in collaboration with my viewers. Ultimately, I’ve begun to almost entirely rely on my community to help me determine what goes into my shop. I still guide the process, but I’ve given up much of the power and that has taken off some of the pressure of developing new shop stock and allowed me to focus on my creative process outside of the retail world.
From these three examples, I can extrapolate a few commonalities to consider when naming new products.
- Names must resonate with your audience, so it is important to know who your audience is. Who is buying your products? What do they like? What is important to them?
- Go to the source… if you don’t know what your audience fancies, ask them. Let them be part of the process. If they’re invested in the process, they’re more likely to be invested in the finished product.
- Imagination is key; not your imagination, but your customer’s. If the name of your product doesn’t paint a picture in your audience’s mind, they’re not going to buy it.
- Community Connection is probably the most important piece in naming, whether you name your products or your customers do. We don’t work in big box stores. We are individual artists and craftspersons. Our customers want to build a relationship with us and our products should be centered around that relationship.