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Iowa State University Book Store Spreads Creativity with Pinterest Projects

Posted by Stephanie Kubas on 4/29/13 11:00 PM
Topics: social media, college store stories

We all know that college students love their social media, and Pinterest, the fastest growing social network in history, is quickly becoming their most-visited platform. One of the most commonly pinned items among the demographic is craft projects, and many students spend countless hours filling their boards with creative ideas.

Recognizing this trend, the staff at Iowa State University Book Store devised a way to bring the fun of Pinterest into their store.

The store demonstrated how to create five unique styles of scarves, using just a t-shirt!

“Pinterest Parties are huge right now, so we thought, why not turn that concept into something we could host in the store?” explained Amy DeLashmutt, Marketing & Customer Service Manager. “We were already looking for ways to add value to our current programs and this fit perfectly with our Art Club.”

Primarily a discount based program, the Art Club builds loyalty with customers through savings, but the store’s end goal was to develop loyalty through behavior as well. By offering more hands-on craft projects, their hope was to ultimately increase the value of membership.

“We want to give people an outlet to create the projects that they may have pinned on Pinterest, but have not had the time or the know-how to actually complete,” DeLashmutt said.

Their first Pinterest Project has direct tie in to the store. Attendees had the opportunity to design a T-shirt scarf, based on five unique styles demonstrated by Iowa State University Bookstore Event Coordinator, Laura Shelton.

“It was a really cool way to give new purpose to a T-shirt,” she added. “It’s ideal for those times when you find a design you like on clearance, but they only have a 2X available and you wear a Medium. Or, when you have an old shirt you love that doesn’t fit well anymore. It’s very versatile!”

With a workshop area set up in a prominent area of the store, attendees had plenty of space to complete their creation. Best of all, the location drew attention from other shoppers who were browsing the store.

“We had a lot of people stop and ask what we were doing; I think that interest will only help expand our future Pinterest Projects,” she said.

There was no time limit to the project, so participants could create as many scarves as they liked and work at their own pace. Best of all, the materials required were all provided by the store – free of charge!

“We’re planning to host a different Pinterest Project each month, and the cost will vary depending on the materials used,” she explained. “Not all of them will be free, but because we could supply the materials needed for this project relatively easily, there was no fee involved.”

To keep the cost at a minimum, the store capped the event at 15 attendees and encouraged potential participants to sign up in advance.

“We had nine people attend our first event and we were really happy with that,” she described. “There was a very healthy balance between students, community members and even children, which is what we wanted.”

In fact, DeLashmutt herself was in attendance with her daughter!

“It was a really fun to be the customer and view the event from that perspective,” she said. “It was a great mommy-daughter date; she had a blast!”

Because of its success, the store plans to offer a new Pinterest Project in May. Just in time for Mother’s Day, this project will be geared toward jewelry with attendees learning how to make unique earring displays seen on the site. From there, they plan to use their staff’s unique talents to guide their choice of project each month.

“Through this event, we’ve realized we have a wealth of information available through our staff members,” DeLashmutt described. “We’d like to rotate which employee leads the Pinterest Project every so often so that everyone has a chance to share their skills and teach something that they're passionate about.”

With endless possibilities for Pinterest Projects, both DeLashmutt and her staff are eager to see how it evolves.

“It’s such a fun way to help our customers express themselves creatively and the fact that they can walk away with a handmade project at the end of the day is great,” she said. “I’m so excited for future events and to see how this develops over time; I think it will be very successful!”

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