Each summer spinners around the world come together for a three-week-long event called Tour de Fleece. As the bicycle wheels spin in the Tour de France, their spinning wheels create skeins of beautiful yarn and, as a shop owner, you have the opportunity to get involved in the excitement.
What is the Tour de Fleece?
In 2006 knitter and spinner Star Athena created the Tour de Fleece to encourage spinners to set goals for their art during the Tour de France bicycle race. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, July 6 through Sunday, July 28,
Tour de Fleece includes a thriving Ravelry Group with over 9,000 members. Visit the group to view “spinning teams” and begin your own. There you’ll also be able to learn the details and “rules” of Tour de Fleece. More information can also be found on the Interweave website.
Similar to sewing’s Me Made May, Tour participants set their own goals and challenges and monitor their own achievements. Teams are formed on Ravelry, Facebook, and other social media platforms where participants seek support, find inspiration and, in some cases, have an opportunity to win prizes. Tour de Fleece is a great time to boost fiber and equipment sales in your shop, build community, and personally involve spinners in your business, whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or an online shop.
Ideas for Your Tour de Fleece Promotions
Spinning is a hands-on, touchy-feely art with lots of emotional, community, and creative appeal. Consider these creative ideas to grow your customer base over the course of this special event:
- Be present and visible with Tour de Fleece information and ideas on social media. Write a short blog post describing the event, feature Tour de Fleece in your emails, and post inspirational images of fiber, spun yarn and spinners on Instagram. Create a Tour de Fleece landing page for your email newsletter and link it on your homepage. Think about a daily fiber, spinning tip, dyeing or technique tweet, a weekly interactive Facebook Live or YouTube videos to show your enthusiasm for Tour de Fleece.
- Host Tour de Fleece Spin-Ins. Encourage those who have put spinning aside or are new to spinning with a beginner night that includes expert helpers. Hold a weekly spin-in at your business, community center or a park and offer door prizes, tip sheets and spinning games (longest yard, fastest spinning, etc.). If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, hold open spin days or a late night spin with snacks, fun goals, prizes, and an event only discount during the meet-up.
- Form a Tour de Fleece Team. Offer a drawing for those using your own Tour de Fleece hashtag. Encourage team members to post their goals and follow-up with progress reports and images. For exposure and ideas, search Tour de Fleece on social media and join the Tour de Fleece Ravelry Group and Tour de Fleece Facebook Group. For more team inspiration check out the Spinfoolish and Twisted Spinners Tour de Fleece Facebook Groups.
- Create a Tour de Fleece presence for your business. Make shareable memes, tip sheets, fiber properties sheets or free/nominal fee patterns for handspun yarn. Be sure to include your business logo and contact info! In your brick and mortar store, create a display of Tour de Fleece fibers, a bicycle adorned with fleece and flyers explaining the event and your shop’s involvement. Post bicycle cut-outs in the store or images on your site to call attention to suggested Tour de Fleece fibers and products. Build a physical bulletin board with participant pictures and commitments or an online image gallery. Offer a reward for bringing in “update” pictures. Online, add Tour de Fleece as a keyword to products you are selling during the event.
Above all, make it fun. View Tour de Fleece as an opportunity to get creative with your marketing and engage a new audience, or reengage your existing audience, in the art and craft of spinning. Once their wheels are turning they’ll likely return for more.
Annette Millard is an enthusiastic, long-time spinner and loves the feel of fiber in her hands. She was given her first spinning wheel for her 21st birthday and hasn’t stopped since. Along with spinning, she spends most of her life involved in sewing, textile arts and writing and has a background in retail marketing. Housework? What’s that?! You can see more of Annette’s adventure on her blog at www.sewfullife.com