Heya folks, here’s a big update on where we’re at.
Just before Frolic we were 3 weeks out on our very latest order. We had one week to prepare for Frolic itself and there was a tragic, young, death in the family of our assistant dyers, leading to them leaving us before we had planned for it. Without my assistants, one 40 skein dye run takes 12 hours of girl power. I put it in and we got to frolic and wingspan landed and we sold far, far more than we expected to. Aviary and the wooly mammoths had already done well, and wingspan put us over the edge. At the moment it’s looking like 8-10 weeks to get fully caught up.
I have done everything I can to adjust to this unexpected turn of events; I obtained a new studio space, hired a new dye assistant, hired a customer service manager to make sure everyone was being heard, hired a developer to automate part of our process, and ordered enough new equipment to double our daily yield. During this process I am still dyeing every single day. I scaled back the store to inventory only, I cancelled our booths at Festival Twist, the Kawartha Festival, Barrie’s Fiber Spirit festival, and possibly even Kitchener Waterloo.
That means we have committed to a massive space and a five year lease with no current revenue, and no guarantee that the sales will come when we reopen. That’s terrifying, but it’s the risk we took to expedite our timelines. Every day that we do not promote, produce and sell we are losing market share. I remind myself that no small company becomes a big company without going through what we’re going through, but the fact remains that it’s scary stuff.
We have been open from the moment we went viral; if you feel that the wait is too long you are 100% entitled to a full refund on the yarn. If you are alright with waiting then you have our undying gratitude and know that we are working as hard as we can.
Yes, Italy was poorly timed for us. Those tickets had been booked for a year and a half, since the day a dear friend got engaged. There were those who made it pretty clear that we had no business going, but we were not about to drop out on her wedding and, I promise you, we were wracked with guilt every day. To the point where I was very sick. If you’ve never tried to clean partially digested carpaccio out of a bidet I don’t recommend it.
As of the time of this writing we’ve been home 5 days. We’ve cleaned the space, laid down sub floor, primed and painted and gotten about a third of the way through the main floor. We’ve purchased and assembled furniture and begun to plan a space that will not only serve a functional purpose, but give our customers a place to come see us in person, pick up orders, enjoy knit nights with us, browse samples and swatches, and become part of our community.
The internet is a hard country. Lots of folks have encouraged me to look after myself, to take things at a reasonable pace. I love every single one of you. Lots of other dyers have sent messages of love and support for which I am immeasurably grateful. It won’t surprise you to hear that there are also angry people; who I encourage to reach out to us for full refunds. There are also cruel people who resort to accusations and name calling. They are more than welcome to get their orders cancelled and refunded.
We do not invest much in advertising. Public opinion and the feedback we get online is everything to us. When that tide turns against us because of events out of our control we do our best to communicate, to resolve, and to expedite. We are only a four person business, not a big machine, and we are doing our absolute best.
If you have a concern, please, please reach out to us by email so we can find a way to make it right rather than bring us down publicly within the online community. As we see time and time again, the opinions of the online world can make or break businesses, lives and people. I will be perfectly frank and vulnerable here and tell you that all the commitments I’ve made recently have scared the daylights out of me, and I need to believe that our community will back us when we are ready to return.
Thank you for reading this far. Thank you for sticking with us this far.
I promise the future holds fun things if we can just get though this.