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Business Planning

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Business Planning

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:

austin texas

Seriously, look at this fireplace. It is EVERYTHING. I must have one in my next house. Look at those balls!

And they served little spa waters, infused with cucumbers, oranges, mint and other delicious wonders.

austin texas

austin texas

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.

austin texas

We found another fireplace! Glorious. I was having serious hair issues, lemme tell ya.

austin texas
austin texas
austin texas

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:

austin texas

We found a coffee shop/cafe:

austin texas

Hair issues again:

austin texas

I do love me some coffee.

austin texas

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.

austin texas

austin texas

austin texas

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.

austin texas

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.)

austin texas

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.

austin texas

In case you’re wondering, we’re currently working through Jamie Eason’s free 12 week program on BodyBuilding.com

austin texas

austin texas

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!

XOXO

Chandi

By | 2017-09-04T14:04:49+00:00 January 13th, 2016|Life Musings, Travel Updates|23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Claudia January 13, 2016 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Wow! You were really busy in Austin. Not just on your business plans but also on taking care of yourself with treats, workouts, and a walk in the park. I am really looking forward to what all you are going to drop on us!

  2. Margaret January 14, 2016 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Excellent post, Chandi! Love getting to know you just a little better. You are so much more organized than my sister and I are with our business. But you have inspired me / us!

    Best wishes for all your plans to be a success!

  3. Marti January 14, 2016 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I commend you for running such a great business. I love your yarns, the colors, and your beautiful and colorful inspirational pictures. I do enjoy all your youTube videos. I get inspired by your patterns then come up with my own. Keep your patterns coming.

  4. Dawne January 14, 2016 at 12:58 am - Reply

    Chandi and Hubby. I loved reading your blog post, it really gives me an idea of all you do to sustain your dream and I applaud your “go get it” spirit. Hand created items such as your yarn are always more expensive, but oh so worth it when you can splurge. I found myself justifying the splurge to my hubby by telling him I was supporting local artists and local economies. Your yarn is forever called “that economy stimulating yarn” in my house. Haha! Keep dreaming!

  5. Teresa January 14, 2016 at 1:30 am - Reply

    Very inspiring! Keep up the good work!

  6. Marion January 14, 2016 at 1:37 am - Reply

    As always inspiring and mood-lifting to read your blog. I just received two gorgeous skeins of yaksilk, and a couple of surprise skeins – too lovely for words all of them. Keep up your great, if wallet-breaking, work 🙂

  7. Deanna January 14, 2016 at 1:56 am - Reply

    Chandi…this is awesome! It’s so inspiring to read and know that you are real. A real person who followed her dreams and works to get there. I love your yarns and yes, I am one of those who learned to knit from your videos! As well as my 10 yr old son! Keep going knowing that your story is inspiring and helps others plan out their dreams too!

  8. Melysa January 14, 2016 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Chandi and Hubby, I learned to knit and crochet thanks to your youtube videos. Thank you so much! I always wanted to learn, and a year later, I’m going strong. I look forward to your emails featuring your gorgeous yarn bases. I enjoy your patterns. But above all, I LOVE YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR WHAT YOU DO. Your passion astounds me! Keep doing what you do, and keep loving it! All my love to both of you. Have a great 2016!

  9. Anne Westbrook January 14, 2016 at 2:54 am - Reply

    It seems that you had a fun and productive trip. I look forward to the upcoming year!

  10. Stacy January 14, 2016 at 3:48 am - Reply

    Chandi: Loved this blog post. Thanks for sharing! I love all of your ideas for 2016 and especially am looking forward to the wholesale portion as I work towards starting my Etsy site for handwoven items, mostly made from your gorgeous yarns!! Thanks to you Tim for what you do!!!

  11. Dorothy January 14, 2016 at 10:07 am - Reply

    You do such a fabulous job. You are right, you cannot walk away. I had a business for four years, my time was never my own. Do I wish I could go back again! Yes! Business people stand out in the crowd. Wish you had chosen Texas for your base, I live an hour away from Austin. I would have been helping you. It has been my dream to have a needlework based business for years, but the economy has kept me from taking that step. Maybe sometime in the next two years when things are better.

  12. Savannah January 14, 2016 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I just wanted to say I am thrilled for you that you took a year to fall in love with your body and then went back to working it because it FEELS good as opposed to this thing you had to do. Well done on taking the time and getting to a place where caring for your body is enjoyable and not drudgery.

    Looking forward to seeing what ye have for us this year 🙂

    Best wishes x

  13. Karen January 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    You have inspired me from day one over a year ago. Love everything about Expression Fiber Arts! Of course, you and Tim ARE EFA! Thanks for being so genuine.

    Karen (a better knitter via Chandi)!

  14. Maria January 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    You and Tim are kick*** I love expression fiber arts. I love reading your blog and photography are amazing. Thank you for sharing your business practices beautiful yarns and your spirit. I just wanted you to know it inspires me and brings me happiness. Thank you!

  15. Paula January 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Wow! I could never keep up with you! I do hope among any new yarn basis you decide to use, you will consider those of us allergic to animal yarns.

  16. Lori-Lynette January 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    I am glad you do manage to work and play and not screw up your day. As far as you and hubs, it you have a strong relationship and can let each other, you can be hang out all the time and cherish the moments…while being human. Proud of you girl and am lookin forward to the new year with the new tips, tricks and goodies!!!!

    • Chandi January 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Thank you!!

      • Stacey January 27, 2016 at 5:14 am - Reply

        Chandi, i couldnt find where to write to you hence my comment here. I just watched your tutorial on no crochet hook needed rug that you did-AMAZING!!! My question is, where in the world would i find that type of wool? I’ve never seen it
        Stacey

        • Chandi January 28, 2016 at 2:37 pm - Reply

          You can google the search term “roving” and some links should pop up. You can also check out ravelry.com and that should be helpful also!

  17. Deborah Eagles January 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Chandi it is always good to hear what you and your sweetie are up to!! It’s also wonderful to see how seriously you take your business!! All the power to you for that. Also great to see that you know how to balance your life, work and family. Shows you are a thinking woman in the best way. Love the photo shots, they are personal and fun, never lose that side of yourself. Looking forward to all that you are bringing on in the upcoming year. Love, love , love all those luscious colors!!!!! Ciao bella!!

  18. Catherine January 20, 2016 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    You and hubby are soooo cute together! Love reading your notes to us, and hope you don’t get too busy when you open wholesale to do the little things that are gaining you true groupies and that keep you two happy. Welcome to the east coast, though with the snow coming, you may feel like you are back in Alaska! ❤️

  19. Kirsten Lindgren January 24, 2016 at 3:37 am - Reply

    I’ve been poking around on the site for a little bit now but never had a chance to dig and read some history. Thanks for sharing all the you do and “putting it out there” for our viewing and enjoyment. FYI I love the calendar on the side of the blog. So helpful when catching up. Cheers.

  20. Teri A February 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    What a great post Chandi! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I’ve watched you on instagram for a while and can see how hard you work. And it’s so true that running a business requires long hours.

    I’ll want to order wholesale for my shop when you are ready.

    Here’s to a fantastic 2016!

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