Welcome, welcome. Grab a cup o’ tea and let’s have a chit chat.
The hubby and I went to Austin over the holidays to plan out Expression Fiber Arts 2016. Yes, we actually planned out the whole year.
We are just a small startup company of course, but we broke everything down into categories: finances, marketing, customer service and operations. And then proceeded to fill in all the blanks.
We procured the most awesomest of hotels (seriously, my fave hotel EVER and I’ve stayed in a lot: W Austin) and proceeded to hole up in the room or by the fire in the “living rooms” downstairs and plan, scheme, sort, organize and strategize. Mostly in pajamas:
Seriously, look at this fireplace. It is EVERYTHING. I must have one in my next house. Look at those balls!
This was our view from our room. GORGEOUS.
The reason we chose Austin for our business planning getaway, was because it was the other contender when we were deciding to move down from Alaska. We narrowed it down to Charlotte or Austin. And to be honest, we could have been happy in either place! Just turns out, we chose Charlotte (it really just FELT right… the minute we flew in, it felt like home) and we didn’t even get a chance to visit Austin before moving. So this was our first hello! Pretty jelly of that beautiful waterfront, I am.
We found another fireplace! Glorious. I was having serious hair issues, lemme tell ya.
We did manage to get out a bit and see the city for about half a day. This park was across the street from us:
We found a coffee shop/cafe:
I do love me some coffee.
We found desserts! Turns out they were awful, but the excitement of buying them and walking all the way back to the hotel in anticipation, through the blistery cold was worth it.
We found an escape room and had the most riotous, grand time trying to solve the puzzles and escape from the room. If your city has an escape room, go find it and DO IT.
We worked out. These are definitely some of my best photos. Don’t I look bootiful???? LOL!
I’ve always hated HATED HATED (with a passionate hate) working out. I did it ONLY to look better, I just didn’t enjoy the process and I felt like it didn’t do any good except bulk me up and make me feel fatter.
So at the beginning of last year when everybody was making resolutions to start eating healthy and working out, I stopped. I made a resolution to learn to love my body. All the soft and jiggly parts. My broken out, pasty pale skin. My droopy bum. And I stopped working out. I ate whatever I wanted. All year. I might have worked out 5 times during the year. If that.
And I did learn. I learned to absolutely think I’m delicious. I love me. I love my body. I’m so grateful for a body that moves and works as it should. I have legs that move me around the room! How crazy is that! And arms and hands and fingers that can crochet and knit and write and type and eat and fix my hair and text my mom and family and friends. Amazing.
Late November, I think it was, I read the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed.
First of all, excellent book. Go read it right now. It completely changed my thinking about working out, pushing your body to the next level, etc. I realized what a ninny I’d been. An hour in the gym and I used to whine and complain. And here she is, trekking alone across snow and ice and extreme desert heat, with dangers right and left, lugging a huge backpack for months on end.
My mind shifted. It really changed me.
December 1st, Tim and I started working out 5-6 days a week. And haven’t stopped since. Even on our holiday break. (Okay, I took a couple days off around Christmas to sit with my mom by the fire.)
My best face ever. HAHA!!!
And you know, I am noticing a difference. I am lifting heavier weights every week. I can SEE muscles popping up. And mostly, I just feel incredible. I have more energy. I am proud of myself. It feels good.
In case you’re wondering, we’re currently working through Jamie Eason’s free 12 week program on BodyBuilding.com
Yes, we work out together. We work together. We sleep together. We spend nearly every minute of every day together. People have asked, do you not get SICK of each other?
Nope. We communicate. We fuss if need be and apologize usually in about 15 minutes and then laugh it out. We let the other be themselves. We debate life issues and morality and social inequality and politics. We discuss the books we’ve read. Even after almost 5 years together, it just gets better and better.
So what exactly did we plan? What goodies do we have in store for you?
Most of it is not super exciting to read about, lemme tell ya. My job is to take care of all the administrative stuff in the background, and just let you watch the magic unfold each day: new colors, new kits, new patterns, etc.
This year we hope to offer:
-More patterns. Mostly free, a few paid ones. Crochet and knit. You know I love both.
-More kits. These are some of our top sellers. I get it. You like kits. We’ll make more!
-More YouTube videos. (We’re nearing 100,000 YouTube subscribers. WHAT? How did that even happen?) I get multiple emails every day from wonderful, delicious people telling me that they learned to knit or crochet or spin because of our videos. This means the world to me. I know what an exciting, life-altering thing it can be to have a craft you are proud of and enjoy doing. I especially love hearing that little kids, (6 and 7 years old sometimes) are learning to knit and crochet because of the videos. So cool.
-More blog posts. Oh my LORD. I have been so remiss in writing and keeping you up to date! This post is the first of many more to come.
-New yarn colors. Der. As always.
-Wholesale. Yes, we will begin wholesaling to yarn shops soon. We’ve been busy for the past few weeks secretly getting the wholesale site designed and ready to go.
-New yarn bases. More freebies! More giant yarn giveaways!
-And lots more.
To make all this happen, we’re going to be working more.
We’re now getting up at 5:30 and starting to work around 6 most days. We work 7 days a week. No days off. I’m usually falling into bed around 8 or 8:30, but sometimes even earlier. I require lots and lots of sleep!
Owning your business is so great on so many levels, but it’s not like most people think.
Unlike a job, you can’t just walk away and forget about it. On Christmas Eve, for example, when my blog was down (wasn’t even showing up) and I really needed it to be functioning for someone who was writing a review about our site, I spent over an hour on the phone with my blog host trying to figure out the problem. We did and a day later the blog was live again. Whew.
Just when you get all the emails and facebook messages and youtube comments and instagram questions and pinterest comments and blog comments answered, more pop up. You’re never done.
Just when you’ve planned everything to a T and feel amazing, you’ll wake up the next day and realize you forgot to take pictures for the yarn you need to post that day. Gahhhhh.
If you do decide to start your own business (which I’m so excited about!) just know most of your time will not be spent doing that thing that you love. Most of your time will be spent running the business, so make sure you know BUSINESS and marketing and operations and how to negotiate with suppliers and how to find inspiration when someone chews you out via email and how to continually grow and expand as a person because you never stop, you never reach the top, you never quit learning and taking that scary leap to the next level.
Life is grand with a capital G.
Keep in touch. I’ll be announcing a new GOOOORGWAH pattern on Friday, so do check back for info on that. It’s a lovely crocheted poncho that you’ll just die over. It’s stunning.
Have a fabulous day, my dahling!