Rachel Kluesner, a Shrewsbury resident who describes herself as an “indie dyer” of yarns, was selling her wares at the Missouri History Museum a few years ago when Brian Pelletier, owner of Kakao Chocolate, asked to buy a one-of-a-kind color that matched his company’s logo.
Pelletier’s mother knit the yarn into what he calls his “chocolate scarf,” which he now wears “all the time,” Kluesner said.
Later, Traveling Tea owner Katerie Meyer asked Kluesner for two unique yarn colors, one to match her own shop’s logo and another as a gift for Queen’s Cuisine owner Jane Muscroft.
To keep the gift a secret from Muscroft, Kluesner sold the custom yarn online under the name “Queen’s Tea.” The color was so popular with her other customers, Kluesner had to call Meyer and confess her unique color wasn’t so unique anymore.
“This one color took off, and the more I got to thinking about it, I thought, you know, if Jane (Muscroft of Queen’s Cuisine)’s color is really popular, maybe I should do Brian (Pelletier of Kakao)’s color,’” she said.
Kluesner now sells four custom yarns inspired by local businesses: Kakao (which sells the yarn it inspired in the Maplewood store), Queen’s Cuisine, Traveling tea and Pudd’nhead Books, a Webster Groves bookshop Kluesner frequents.
“It just sort of got going by making connections,” she said. “That’s always been my marketing strategy, personal connection. I like to do business with people that I know. And I probably would not have thought to do it if Brian had not come over and picked yarn up from my table two years ago.”
Find Kluesner’s yarn inspired by a local business at Ewe Knit Yarns, where 15 percent of the stock is already gone, according to the store's Facebook page.