Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 coming to a close but what a ride

I am still amazed at who much I have learned this past year related to selling my merchandise.  In talking with a friend this week I realized that my business has allowed me to use that private college degree earned so long ago!

I feel so blessed to have met some many fellow fiber artists, retailers and ranchers this year.  My hand spun yarn continues to find good homes through Wild Yarns, my rovings are doing well at the Recycled Lamb shop, the Renaissance Festival will always hold a special place in my memory and we can't forget the online mediums.  Just when I was going to give up on eBay I sold a set of fiber, Etsy views drastically dropped in December but I am told this in normal and I just discovered a new online medium "Bonanza" this week.

In talking to my online accounting software vendor "Outright" last week, it really hit home on how much I have learned and grown with my business in 2011.  Still have so much to learn - isn't that the case with all business ventures!  The one thought provoking question from the session was "Do you sell on Etsy to build locally or sell locally to build Etsy?"  I would love to truly have an online presence backed with a few local outlets.  In reality in 2011, I have done much better locally than online though.  It is my first full year in business and what has happened this year is not predicative to what the next 5 years will be.  After all my products have reached Thailand, UK and several states in the U.S. including Hawaii.  I haven't broken into South America, Canada or Russia yet but 2012 is upon us and those regions could be in the future!

I have done some spinning during my break and will have one child's hat finished today.  I promise to post pictures soon - you can always check out my twitter account (@nashc7) for update info on the shop and me!  Yes I am on Twitter and I really like it.  My followers continue to grow especially from the UK.  Technology definitely has its advantages in making the world seem not so large and allowing those of us with similar passions to connect.  Networking events have been fun and educational - it is always nice to interact with others who share your passion.  Face to face connections can not be beat though but when that isn't possible I head to the Internet.

I want to close 2011 with thanks to all of my customers, Twitter/Facebook followers, retailers and vendors for being a part of my life and helping to fuel my passion for natural fibers!  My 2012 bless each of you with joy, peace and a sense of fulfillment!
Updating tags on Etsy and raising prices on select knitwear today

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 is almost gone

It is quickly approaching the holiday season and I am excited to be off from the day job starting on Tuesday until the new year.  Lots of projects will be completed like the son's Christmas present (I HOPE) and the spinning of yarn.  Today I am embarking on one of my 2012 goals which is to move the hand spun yarn from Etsy to the Wild Yarn store to sell.  I am letting the listings expire on the site especially the one with low views/favorites and moving them to a local venue. I will be measuring scarves at the ranch and probably pulling 2 or more to list on Etsy.  Can't have all of new merchandise in one location especially since I am pulling the yarn items from the Etsy site.

I have such a busy day today but can't complain as I was a bum on Saturday.  Reversal of a normal weekend for me but the college kid came home yesterday so the routine was a bit out of focus.  We finished Christmas shopping for the family and bought food for the kiddo to eat during his month's stay at home.  I did miss not having him home for Thanksgiving but I am sure we will settle back into a routine fairly quickly.  The cats are enjoying having him back home too.

I promised coworkers that I would bake banana bread for their holiday gift and I actually got up in time this morning to put the ingredients into the bread machine.  The smell of bread is wafting through the house this morning.  Of course I totally believe in multi-tasking (what female doesn't) so while the bread is baking I updated the yarn labels for the product going to Wild Yarns.  I have checked the Etsy store (very sad  - low views) and am writing this week's blog - HA!

My day is looking very full today.  I am heading out soon to the ranch for a few hours of spinning, knitting and selling.  Supposed to network with other crafters around 2 p.m. and have a holiday party this evening.  I would like to drop off the yarn at my LYS today but it might be on Tuesday.  The goal is not to stress - that is what the day job is for.  My Shetland wool baby hat is finished and I am progressing on the kid's alpaca hat which should also be finished today.  Liking kids hats as they don't take too much time but we all know that I get bored with repetitive projects so we shall see.  I really need to make more fingerless gloves over the holidays too!

Still would like to make sticky buns but not sure if time will allow for this as the dough has to rise for about an hour or so.  Perhaps sticky buns will be on to do list for Friday so I can bring them to my sisters on Christmas.  Well I am off to finish prep for the visit at the ranch and I probably won't touch base till after Christmas. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why natural fibers?

Before I even started this journey to sell my handmade items I was working with natural fibers.  When I taught myself to knit several years ago it was with forest green Red Heart yarn which I never quite made anything out of.  I think this was eventually donated to one of senior centers here in Denver.  I discovered the shop Showers of Flowers which had a huge showroom of all kinds of yarn.  Pillows, shawls and sweaters were made using non natural fiber yarns in a variety of weights and colors.  At that time I wasn't even aware of natural fibers but more concerned with cost/yardage for projects.

Then I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and I purchased a spinning and a CVM wool fleece.  My next step was attending the Western Stock Show were I met the alpaca ranchers and my dear friends at Ancient Treasures Alpaca Ranch in Arvada, CO.  I  have participated in shearing day for several years now and have skirted fleeces the past 2 seasons.  It has and continues to be a great learning experience for me and gazing at the alpacas in their pastures is just so peaceful.

So why is it that I focus on natural fibers you ask?  For me it is a means to support ranchers and small markets throughout the U.S. and world.  My journey into spinning natural fibers has introduced me to several sheep ranchers and alpaca/llama ranchers within the western U.S. face to face.  When I took up spinning cotton I gained such an appreciation of our ancestors and a better understanding of the cotton gins importance.  There are so many fibers (animals and plants) to explore and spin.  The groups on Ravelry who spin various fleeces per month have been a huge source of information for me and fan base for my work.

For me the niche of natural fibers places me amongst a caring group of people who love animals and enjoy working with their hands.  They are forthcoming with advice, understanding of trials and tribulations and confidence builders on new journeys with fiber.  In our societal "Green Environment" focus working with these fibers fits just right in while helping to maintain bloodlines/crops for future generations to explore. 

What are your favorite types of yarn to work with?  Do you lean towards a specific brand or manufacturer?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No sales thus far in December but my online views are improving on Etsy. Working on Christmas gifts vs. stock in the shop.