Lion Brand Yarn Company, a Carlstadt-based supplier of premium knitting and craft yarn, announced a 75% increase in e-commerce sales, 25% of which consists of first-time online customers. For the fifth-generation family-owned and operated business, the surge can largely be attributed to proactive social media strategies and virtual events that boosted consumer engagement, most notably “The Shi Show,” a daily web series that celebrated its 100th episode today.
“We thought about the kind of genuine brand messaging and activities we’d want to see during something as scary as a global pandemic, and that’s what we created for our customers,” said Shira Blumenthal, Lion Brand’s Yarn Company brand ambassador, who within weeks of quarantine launched a daily web series, “The Shi Show,” on Facebook Live, which directly linked her to Lion Brand’s clientele.
“It was never about selling yarn,” said Blumenthal, who also hosts the show. “It was about creating a space to provide comfort and connect people through crafting in a time of uncertainty and isolation.”
Since the first of the 100 shows launched on March 19, the series—which is broadcast live on weekdays to Lion Brand’s 600,000-plus Facebook followers—has featured guests ranging from Vanna White and SNL star Melissa Villaseñor to UFC athlete Maurice Greene, all of whom shared their personal stories and passion for crafting with Blumenthal and her audience. It also caught the attention of The TODAY Show, which covered the series earlier this year, and called Blumenthal “a calming presence for her followers.”
As popularity grew, Blumenthal and Lion Brand opted to go bigger, and on April 30, they premiered #StitchAroundTheWorld, a global Zoom event that was also broadcast on the company’s Facebook channel. With hundreds of participants from more than a dozen countries, this became the largest virtual crafting event in history! A second installment, held on June 14, featured Lion Brand consumers as active participants—their knitted and crocheted creations were showcased and prize packages were awarded to the craftiest contestants.
Concurrently, Lion Brand saw a boost in sales including a massive and groundbreaking 75% spike in its e-commerce sales as consumers leaned in on the comfort and satisfaction that the brand and its extensive, colorful portfolio of products provides.
“People want to feel like they’re truly a part of something, and that authentic link has been our key focus,” Blumenthal said. “COVID-19 has impacted daily life for everyone, and as shopping behavior transformed we evolved with them! We’ve pursued honest, inclusive passion projects through social media and beyond, and the response from our customers has been overwhelming.”
Blumenthal and the rest of Lion Brand officially celebrated the 100th episode of the “The Shi Show,” its premiere passion project, with an hour-long reunion show that welcomed back some of the show’s most popular guests. As always, it ensured that viewers and consumers were in on the fun, with Q&As, giveaways, live crafting elements and more. It shed a light on the third year of #HatNotHate, an anti-bullying campaign that Blumenthal founded in the same spirit of community involvement: A cause fueled entirely by crafters’ donations of homemade blue hats.
The news of the 100th episode follows the company’s recent announcement that Chris Mills, a former executive for BIC Corporation, will succeed David Blumenthal as president and CEO of Lion Brand, overseeing all day-to-day operations while expanding the business in the U.S. and abroad.
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