This is not the post that most of us expect to write as business owners. After working hard to de-centre myself as the face of the business and instead celebrate the teamwork running such a business takes, I felt it was important to write personally here. I am writing to let you know that as of 25th June 2021, we will no longer be selling physical products at Ysolda.com. We’re not closing completely and patterns and other digital content will remain available.
This isn’t a decision that I’ve taken lightly. Building an online store has meant employing a larger team, renting warehouse space and studios, and setting up all of the structures a retail business requires. There are members of our team who have been with me since I first started self-publishing books, and that I, and the business, would not be where we are now without. We’ve also been lucky enough to collaborate with freelancers all over the world whose expertise and perspectives have made the business stronger and more vibrant. There are many others who have jumped in and worked a few hours, or days, to get us through busy events, pop-ups, open studios and sales weeks. This decision comes with the knowledge that these structures must now be wound down, team members looked after as we say goodbye and of course, thinking of what you, our customers would want.
So Why Now?
As makers ourselves, each team member has loved the challenge of sourcing products, collaborating with producers, and tying a neat bow around a project idea so that we can provide the yarn, tool or pattern you need to fuel your own creativity. Over the last fourteen months this has become increasingly challenging to deliver to the standard we feel customers deserve. The combined effect of the global pandemic and Brexit on our supply chain means that, as you may have noticed, we’ve been unable to restock a huge percentage of our range.
Adding new products, without losing what makes us special, means doing so slowly whilst being mindful of not introducing competition to other independent stores we know are also facing the same challenges. We pride ourselves on taking the time to invest in the stories of our products and develop those projects. Pivoting to a different range of products, on the scale necessary, isn’t a quick or easy solution.
I’m incredibly proud of how our team has responded to these challenges, and I’m grateful for both how fortunate we’ve been and for the support we’ve received from customers all over the world. With sharpened focus we’ve been carefully tracking our numbers, finding ways to be more efficient, seeking experienced advice, and, ultimately, taking a hard, honest look at what’s working. We’ve planned, we’ve pivoted and now we can see that there needs to be a bigger change altogether.
Closing this chapter with intention means that my business will be able to meet its financial obligations and to pay my team the redundancy payments they deserve.
On both a personal, and professional level, being able to see what comes next requires taking some time to process and reflect on what serves me and my community best. I began designing and blogging 16 years ago, on the cusp of adulthood, and this business, in all its different phases, has been my life. I know that it has meant a lot to so many of you to see an openly queer, outspoken woman business owner finding success and creating their own path, and I don’t take the responsibility of that lightly. Earlier this year, I was also officially diagnosed with ADHD, and suggested Autism. Gaining understanding of my neurodiversity has been both a positive experience, and a lot to process.
As I’ve considered the possible paths for my own business, I’ve really appreciated other small business owners who have shared their stories and questioned how to build a small business without perpetuating harmful structures. I particularly appreciated this post from Sancho’s, and the timely reminder that “independent businesses can’t and shouldn’t behave like multinational chains”. In order to create more ethical futures where people, and especially marginalised people, are placed ahead of capitalist supremacy, we need to move with intention. If we can’t do that in our personal businesses, we risk emulating the corporate practices we’re resisting as makers.
What This Means
Over the next few weeks, my team and I are hoping to send you out the last of our available products and spend time sharing what makes our remaining stock special with you. Products will be available to buy but only whilst stocks last. Once items are gone, we will not be restocking them.
We’ve created a special update this coming Wednesday at 2pm (BST) with something that works a lot like a care package as a thank you to the many of you have been loyal customers over the years. These will be hand picked by our team and I will share more details in the newsletter announcement on Wednesday. (You can sign up here if you want to be sure to mark this ending with us.)
After the 25th June, we’ll continue to sell and support digital patterns, our Knitwork community and our free tutorials will remain online. My team will be considerably smaller and I’ll be taking some much needed time off with my family and loved ones.
What Happens Next?
I appreciate your patience as I take this time to remap what my knitting business will look like in the future. I’m sure many of you have practical questions and that’s why we’ve pulled together all the questions and answers we could think of on this page. Please do reach out by emailing us at email@example.com if there’s something we haven’t covered here.
I want to personally thank all of our customers for your support and enthusiasm for everything we’ve worked on over the last few years. Your creativity has been hugely inspiring and a constant source of joy every time one of us (me especially) finds a knitting project tagged on social media and gleefully shares with the rest of the team. It has been such a privilege to be the small business owner folks choose to get their making supplies from.