Friday, January 18, 2008

A Business is More Than Selling Stuff

It's so easy to become overwhelmed.

As I look in my studio at all the boxes of yarn and notions for the business, I'm blown away. Why? A lot of reasons. Setting up this shop has renewed my faith in womankind and knitters in particular.

Of course, there's the being overwhelmed of having so much to do now that I've entered the home stretch of opening the business. Filing, tagging with inventory numbers, logging everything in the computer and my ledger, pricing, photography - for obvious reasons, those are all things that had to wait until the last couple of weeks to do. I'm not complaining - it's given me a focus, something to take my mind away from the past and all that's gone and never to return. It's also given me the opportunity to give some indies more exposure to the world at large, and by looking at the countries who have people reading my blogs, I'm blessed to be able to do that.

There's the feeling of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of other things that need to be done - swap socks, test knitting, the TKGA Masters Program - but those things are being worked on as I can. The swap socks and test knitting, because other people are relying on me for them, are at the top of that list. Other things can wait. I'm truly blessed to have a husband who not only supports me emotionally, financially, as the guy who lifts heavy packages and moves stuff around - but who also takes time out of his 80-hour work week to write a custom website for me and straighten up the house. He wants me to concentrate on what I'm doing with the business and my other activities. He doesn't even ask me to cook dinner. After all these years of being together, we've truly become one. We do for each other, back and forth. The last time, it was my turn to stand by him. Now he's standing by me. I can't imagine life without him. In fact, I wouldn't want life without him. I love him more now than I ever have.

But I think the thing that overwhelms me the most is the trust so many people have placed in me and the shop. They're trusting me with their work. They're trusting me with the responsibility of selling their work at a fair price. They're trusting me with paying them promptly and keeping them up to date with what's going on with their inventory. Most of all, they're trusting me with their dreams, their hopes for more exposure, their needs and wants to have their work in a shop where people can look and buy. They're trusting me with helping them build up their own shops and perhaps becoming major names in the knitting world. They're trusting me with their future, and I can't - and won't - let any of them down.

It's a heavy thing, this opening a shop. A lot of people have written to me saying that if they had the money, they'd open a shop in a heartbeat. I don't think they realize just what is at stake. It's not just the money - I'm doing this for about $2,000 or so, thanks to the many generous people who are selling on a consignment basis. I can afford to lose the cash I've paid out, but I'm at the end of my budget. There is so much more than that. It's the human equation that's the mind-boggling part.

I'm flabbergasted that people who have never met me - who only know me through my blogs or not at all - are willing to send me thousands of dollars of inventory because I felt drawn to do this. I have a lady from Australia who is sending me a boatload of yarn of all types, and she even asked me if I would like exclusive colorways dyed. It's proven to me that people are inherently good, that they still trust, that they're willing to help a chubby bald woman realize her dream. In turn, maybe I can help them realize theirs. No matter what happens, it's an awesome thing. It's powerful. It's a blessing.

This also marks a turning point in my life. As I said, the shop is providing me focus and helping me with my grief. It's working, too. It's showing me that I'm strong, that I've been through the loss of a home already (due to divorce) and though it might take some time, I'll get another one. I've survived deaths, both natural and by suicide. I've gained so much weight that it's actually doubled since I met Mark all those years ago, and he still loves me no matter what I look like. I've been faced with my own mortality and the knowledge that it most likely will be painful and drawn-out. If I can survive all that and still pass for 15 years younger than I am, I can do anything. Well, I'll never be an astronaut, but I now have my confidence back and am getting better day by day.

I got my business cards yesterday, so I guess everything is real. There's nothing like seeing a business card with your own logo and name to make things concrete. I also have magnets and pens. The pens were a bit pricey, so I only got 10 of those. I'll give those to some special people. The magnets will go in the orders until I run out. It's amazing to me that I've pulled this off in less than three months. I'm pretty damned proud of myself and will be bursting at the seams when I open the doors. Soon. Very soon. I wish we could have a party to celebrate. You all have no idea how difficult it is for me to not say anything about my vendors, what I'm carrying, what my logo looks like, what my website addy is. But for once in my life, I'm keeping everything under wraps. I think it's more fun that way.

I had intended to take some pictures of new yarn that came in, but I'm just too tired to do it. I'll try and get the yarn review site updated again before I leave for Folsom, but I have to write that newsletter article and have it submitted by Sunday. Time is running short, and I have to prioritize. The review site will be here when I get home on Monday.

And to all those vendors, those ladies, who have helped me make my vision a reality: Thank you. Thank you for giving me my life back, for making me well, for trusting me, for being a part of something which I think is right and good and real and what I'm meant to do, for standing beside me as we all embark on this new journey together. You are family. You are special. I love each and every one of you.

Thank you.


Marin (AntiM) said...

I may be the tiniest bit in love with your husband right now myself. Anybody that does that much for you is good in my book.

SwissKnits! said...

I know I keep saying the same ole thing...
"I'm so excited for you!!!"

I, for one, cannot wait to go shopping!


Martina said...

I know this is going to be your year, Keeping busy always helps me not to dwell on the past, I'm sure it will contine to help you.


Laura Neal said...

That is so sweet! I would put my trust in you any day of the week. I know your shop is going to be a huge success! I love your can do attitude even when you are feeling pretty rotten. I am not the trusting type but, something about you says, this one is special! Does your hubby have a brother? I have some nieces who are single and looking for a few good men! :^D

Rabbitch said...

More importantly, does your hubby have a sister? I'm looking to jump the fence, myself.

Megann said...

I'm so glad that you are feeling strong and confident! You really are a very special person.

Anni said...

You're a wonderful lady and your husband sounds wonderful too. I'm so excited about the shop. Can't wait till it opens to see what you've got. It's a real inspiration to see what you're doing even with the health problems you face. I know only too well how hard it is.