Black Friday Insanity

We have had a few customers ask how we do it when it comes to our Black Friday Sale. Well, over the years, we have gotten it down to a science. A sweaty, tiring, and fast-paced science but a science, nonetheless. The kitties look like little worker bees for 2 days straight. Everyone knows their task so we turn up the music, pull thousands of skeins of yarn off the shelves, and ship hundreds of orders.

For those of you who don’t know, we sometimes have a Black Friday Sale. It’s a random sale so you don’t know how much of a discount you will receive until you place your order. The percentage-off ranges from 15% – 100%. That’s right, your order could be free! The sale lasts from 9 AM – 4 PM, with a 10K preview starting at 8 AM. To give you perspective, we received 1,651 orders on November 25, 2016.

Now, here are our very general procedures. As the day goes on, it can become a free for all where all hands are on deck & we do whatever needs to get done so we can go enjoy some left-over turkey. Let’s start with a map of the shop.

Preparation

Lindsay is the queen of getting prepared. She starts pre-making and stock piling boxes in August. The warehouse slowly begins to fill up with piles of USPS boxes which we try really hard not to knock over. Lindsay’s learned a few things over her 8 years of Black Fridays. She makes the self-sealing boxes last – the glue releases when the warehouse gets hot in summer. While Lindsay makes boxes, Janine & Tracey make prize packs until their arms hurt. They make at least 100 welcome packets per team and as many yarn lotto bags as they possibly can.
Day 1
Lindsay arrives super early to ship the orders from Wednesday & Thursday to get those out of the way. Then Erin & Dan come in to start the sale and the rest of the kitties arrive at 8. Erin adds the Black Friday rules/information to the main page & then turns the sale on at 8 for 10K Clubbers. I bet that’s the best feeling – like starting trading on Wall Street or pressing the button in Willy Wonka’s glass elevator.
We have a team huddle around 8:30 where Erin assigns us to our stations. We split into pulling, checking, and shipping groups. Erin is in charge of the customer service e-mail, sorting orders into box sizes, and putting out fires like mismatched yarn.
The pullers are generally Jessica, Janine, Tracey, and Jenny. Once Erin sorts the orders into their box sizes, the pullers grab buckets and start zooming around the store & warehouse. By lunch, the shelves have absolutely exploded! It’s so hard to find that one last skein of Candombe on Sock that we have to clear a whole cube and lay out the skeins on the floor. You’d be surprised how skeins can hide!

Emily, Amy, and Kinsey check and pack orders. They put three tables into the Sorting/Packing area to serve as packing stations with tissue paper, lotto cards, and big cups of coffee. We try to designate each table to a different box size because that’s how we pull orders, by size, starting with the largest box size. Once we’ve checked each order for accuracy, added top tissue paper, and made sure any prizes earned are included, the checkers move the boxes into Shipping.

Dan sets up an extra shipping station and mans the shipping office with Lindsay. Dan likes to listen to classic 90s music so he can ship to the beat. Lindsay is an absolute beast on Black Friday. All we hear is shipping labels being continuously printed and her mighty tape gun! Once Dan & Lindsay fill up one cart with orders ready to ship, they start the pile in the back of the warehouse by Bay 1 where your orders await USPS.

At Noon, we break for lunch. Erin buys the kitties pizza from their favorite joint and we all sit in the Knit Night area to chat about anything but yarn! Our feet are killing us by now and, according to a few pedometers, we’ve already taken over 12,000 steps. Then, it’s back to the action! We work our way through the box sizes until the first USPS pick up of the day. We arrange for multiple pick ups in the biggest truck they have!

Day 2
Back at it again! We can usually get through majority of the bigger boxes on the first day so Day 2 is for our “little boxes” and padded envelopes. The padded envelopes are our favorite for 2 reasons: 1. They usually only contain 1-2 skeins so we pull them very quickly 2. We can sit on the floor to pack these since we don’t have to look down into a box to pack them.
We can only get 1 pick up from USPS on Saturday so, whatever we have ready to ship after around 11 AM, Dan has to take to the post office in his big truck. We have to play Tetris to fit as many packages as possible in his truck bed – we even fill up his passenger seat that sometimes has Levi or Molly’s car seat strapped in. Those packages are extra safe!

Then we rest. We go home, pull out our knitting, and couch camp on Sunday only to come back on Monday to try to put the store back together. Once everything is said and done, we only remember how hard we worked and how great it feels to have such an awesome team. We cheer each other on, Erin dances around the store to pep us up, and we all know we can depend on one another to help with anything that needs to be done. We are just a big family!

Fun Facts
In 2016, Erin planned games to keep the kitties on their toes during the sale. She made BINGO cards with spaces like “Mismatched Yarn” and “Packed a Finisher’s Prize,” she hid small trinkets (nail polishes & flashing rings) in random places around the store for the kitties to find, and even did a raffle!

In 2015, we forgot to give USPS the scan sheets which create the tracking numbers for your packages. We had to drive to the post office and track down the truck!

During the very first Black Friday Sale when Erin was still working out of just her bedroom closet, she ran out of tissue paper! She called her Mom hysterically crying because didn’t think she would get more than 40 orders – WRONG!

2016 was the first year that Levi and/or Molly didn’t “attend” the Black Friday Sale. Levi was a great manager at age 2 so he definitely has a future in business!

Dan wear gloves while he ships. The kitties don’t exactly know why but we like it.

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