Cashmere, baby camel down, yak, you name it and I have transformed it into beautiful yarn. I just chose fiber that I would want to wear, when deciding what to buy, and when I look back on my 30 years in the fiberarts, one particular person has lovingly been called my "connection" or my "fiber crack dealer". Melissa is a mild mannered, tall drink of water from Wisconsin, with a self-deprecating and easygoing way about life and business. We have become friends over the 10 years that we have known one another and while she kept me in luxury fibers, I was one of her best customers.
I am trying to remember when I got the fateful letter but it must have been at the end of the year. She announced to all of her customers that she was going out of business and for me, a howl went up, just as it did when she stopped carrying yarn. At that earlier time, I begged her to still be my connection to a particular mill and she continued to help me get my very special baby alpaca yarns, which continue to be my best sellers. I can tell you that I contemplated the loss of Melissa's services and realized that we, in the fiber industry, would be down to one major source to choose from, when it came to luxury fiber and that made me a little concerned.
I sent Melissa a mournful email, telling her how sad I was, that she was moving on to something else, while buying what I could of my fiber staples for my spinner/dyer stash. After one of our email exchanges, I got a call. Melissa's slow and distinctive voice came on the phone as I answered and it began...
"Hey, Lisa...somebody suggested that I ask you if you would like to BUY the business", she drawled. "What? Oh, hell no. Yeah, that's what I need at this stage in life; more work", I shot back. "Welllllll, if you change your miiiiiind, let me know. It's just going to Go Away". The longer that I stayed on the phone with her, the more softened I became. I was sure that this would be a ridiculous idea and told her that if she didn't have anyone else who wanted to do this, I would THINK about it. You know, when I tell someone that I will THINK about something, that means that I will try to talk myself out of such a ridiculous notion, because, well, it is...not that crazy.
I mentioned it to Rod and his eyes twinkled just a little, from the increased brain activity. I got more nervous but told Melissa, in a subsequent call, to pitch me a number and I would mull it over. I mulled it over, alright and I REALLY got fidgity as my fight-or-flight instincts kicked in, but I told myself that if I talked to Rod, HE would be the one to tell me that it was a ridiculous idea and I would be off the hook to be lazy into my dotage. Yeah, I'll talk to Rod, he poopoos everything. Uhhh, no. He was talking ME into it. He "knew that I could handle it" and well, the rest is history.
This past week, we exchanged signatures and money and I bought the business formerly known as Peace of Yarn, which will go on in my hands as Weaver Creek Fibers , named after one of the creeks running on this land. It seems kind of fitting and I am getting more relaxed about this whole thing. I am going to make sure that the connection to these fiber goes on for my fellow fiber artisans and fiber shops who sell to the spinning world and NOW I am getting excited in a good way, thinking of all of the possibilities ahead of me.
We did the initial work to set up a temporary landing page for the website and we are busily thinking about all of those pesky business details like cards and bank accounts and spending a pile of money for the initial purchases, while, of course, we are getting ready to pack up the trailer for Stitches West with all of the work that we have done in the Dyeworks since Rhinebeck! It is crazy and exciting, all at the same time.
Hell, this is the stage of life when MOST people begin to think about retirement, but when I think about how all of the things that I have done in my life, it is not surprising that I would never want to quit working at something. Rod retired from Prophane Industries 5 1/2 years ago and has been working harder now than he probably did, as a corporate drone. He may have retired early from that life but keeps busy ALL DAY LONG, so much so that he wonders where the day went, on most occasions. I keep thinking of "crazy" things and as always, my life partner helps to make those crazy ideas a reality.
Thanks to my web-goddess, Holly, for working so tirelessly to get the Weaver Creek Fibers website live, all while taking on the enormous task of helping me to recreate the Dyeworks website, which has been going on, behind the scenes. There will be a whole new look which will be cleaner and easier to navigate, because we are jetisoning my past as a finished goods designer and concentrating on the Here And Now.