Things are changing rapidly, and this is an incredibly stressful, uncertain time for everyone but I want to take a moment to be transparent with where we’re at. My priorities right now are to keep our staff safe and healthy, while we figure out how to keep going as a business. As a mostly online only business we’re in a stronger position than many small businesses in this industry, in that our income isn’t reliant on in person events, workshops, or brick and mortar sales. I’m thinking of everyone who is in that position and has had to close a large part of their operations. Margins are small for everyone in the knitting industry, and we don’t have a huge cushion, so we are looking at how to keep the online store operational for as long as possible, in order to keep paying our team as normal. There currently aren’t any details available, but tonight we did see news that there might be some government support available.
Staff who are able to work at home, or who need to self isolate for their own or family members health, are doing so. At the studio, we’re fortunate to have several separate spaces, and we’re rearranging schedules for the work that does need to be done in the studio so that we can maintain social distance. All frequently touched items are being regularly disinfected and we’re asking staff and any necessary visitors to wash their hands on arrival.
To keep working safely, and to reduce the pressure we’re putting on other services who visit our space, we’ll be moving to shipping twice a week from next week (week beginning March 23rd). We plan to ship orders on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m not sure how long this will be in place for and it’s likely to change at fairly short notice. Your orders right now are making a big difference to how much of a cushion we have to weather this and to help support our team.
Some of our suppliers are still shipping, but we’re expecting that our current stock will largely be what we have for the next few months – if you’re thinking of stocking up on yarn or things to read, spending some time browsing what we have available if we don’t have what you were came for will be very much appreciated. You might find some gems you didn’t know we had too – sometimes I do! If there is something that you wanted that we’re out of stock of taking the time to fill out your email and request a back in stock notification will also help us figure out where we are if and when we’re able to restock. If you’d like to support us but don’t need yarn right now, a gift card for the future or purchasing patterns and ebooks helps us build a financial cushion without packing orders. Someone bought a gift card earlier this week and I burst into tears, it felt like such a meaningful message of "I want you to be here in a few months”.
As more of us work from home, and as we try to find ways that we can support the knitting community and other affected businesses, you might notice things look a bit different here. We’re hoping to share useful tips for improving your own craft skills, crafting and learning with kids, and virtually sharing your skills with friends, for those of you who are self-isolating at home. We can’t afford to offer all patterns for free, although we love that some designers are doing so, but we will be doing some flash sales and sharing lots of free content to help you build your skills.
I know for many of you, working from home is a privilege you don’t have, and it must be difficult to see people sharing ways to handle doing so. We also want to be mindful that, for many in the disabled and chronically ill community, isolation at home is already a daily reality and it must be challenging to suddenly see people complaining about doing so temporarily. We’re looking at ways to build community virtually in the short term, but also at how that could feed into what we do long term. Thinking of a more accessible future for this little business is giving me a thread of hope that there might be a future for it.
There’s also political action there: it’s horrifyingly clear that we need a social safety net, so that people don’t have to choose between putting their lives at risk and keeping their jobs and homes. Big businesses need to do the right thing and close stores while continuing to pay employees, but we also need something at the government level to ensure that individuals are financially able to follow safety guidelines. Many other small businesses are in the position we are: people are being asked to stay home, but there’s nothing mandatory that would allow businesses to make insurance claims.
For now, we’re still here, we’re grateful for your support, and we hope we can support you, and the rest of our communities, too. Content might start to look a little cosy as we now work from home. You might see family members beginning to appear more, especially as we try to work around our families and keep children entertained. This is us, being there and showing up in the way we can. We are all in this together.
Ysolda designs knitting patterns, spent years teaching at events and loves to find new yarns and books to share.
The final pattern in the Colourwork Club, the Broughton Mittens, is now available. I designed this pattern to be a small project that would stretch your colourwork skills and I hope you enjoy it. We’ll be sharing step-by-step tutorials on the blog over the next couple of weeks if you’re feeling a little intimidated by the directions.