A lot of things have been changing recently here at Old Maiden Aunt – first there were the dyeing method experiments (which so far, are working pretty well), then the new website (which is still in progress, with lots more yarn still to be uploaded). And you would think that for someone who really REALLY doesn’t like change, that would be enough – right?
WRONG – because this coming month will see the biggest change of all….
That’s right – as you may have seen me hinting on Instagram, i’m building a studio in my garden!!!! (well, I’m not building it personally, that would be ridiculous – some very excellent builders are doing that bit). In the photo above, I’m standing on the brand new foundation; the build itself starts next week (eeeeeee!!) and they estimate that it will take three weeks to complete. I am looking at separate storage sheds to keep any of the overflow from my office in, which means I get to keep all my work and equipment close to me without overfilling my space!
as this is a home studio space at the bottom of my garden, it will be a closed workspace – local planning permission regulations for this kind of home workspace state that it’s not allowed to be open to visitors. this means that once I move into the new studio space, my focus will be on selling online and at selected shows/trunk shows, as well as possibly looking into the option of taking on a few more stockists. I’ll be giving up my fantastic Craft Town space at Studio 30 (so if you’re looking for studio space to rent, this one will be free soon!), and will no longer have my own retail space for customers to visit; i also won’t be offering any more dyeing workshops.
That being said I cannot wait to see how it all comes together. I have never been able to use my garden space for much, so I am excited to finally be able to put it to good use. Plus, I have also started looking at some composite decking boards online. I want to create a small area with a table and chairs so I can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine while I work. It is going to look incredible!
As excited as I am to be able to use my garden for work purposes, I do wish that I had the chance to use my garden, well, as a garden. Nothing beats being able to host family BBQs in the sun and gardening your own plants and vegetables. It’s something that I always wished I could do. My friend recently renovated her garden and used someone similar to this greenbank landscaping company, and let me just tell you, it looks like they’ve done a fabulous job. I even feel a bit jealous. I’m sure she’ll be spending most of her time in her garden now. I would too if I had the chance. But I can’t wait to actually convert this space into something that I would use to help with my business success.
Anyway, I know that this might come as a disappointment to some customers; I also know that some of you might see this as a weird step backward in terms of business growth/progression. when I (accidentally) started OMA as a business all those years ago, it was never my intention to run a yarn shop – having retail premises adds a very different layer to a business, and it’s not really something that I ever expected to be doing. I do really love some aspects of it – the Craft Town support and community are absolutely brilliant (especially when I took on my very first small studio space), and it’s really lovely to have met so many online customers at the Studio 30 space, lots of whom have traveled quite some distance especially to come & see me. overall, though, the studio visitors make up a very small proportion of my business – I would guess that roughly 85% of my sales are online, and it makes sense for me to focus on that, as well as branch out into thinking about a few more shows to still be able to meet up with customers in person. However, as so many of my sales are online, I do want to focus on making that my main priority. Currently, I’m pretty busy with orders, but if I want to make this a proper career, I probably need to take some more work on. Whilst I’m not ready to do that yet, one of my friends did tell me about the different SEO services that companies like Victorious offer. Apparently, SEO helps businesses to enhance their online marketing, ensuring that they are ranking higher online, and getting more customers. For those interested, you can check this out on Victorious’ website. Hopefully, that will help me build my business even more in the future. I’m quite happy with business at the minute, but I might want more in the future!
like a lot of us self-employed crafty folk, I started working on my own for a reason. I’ve posted before about being on the autistic spectrum, and for me, that plays an overwhelming part in why I work the way I do and how I’ve managed to thrive in this kind of self-employment. I really don’t fit well into a traditional kind of workplace, and often struggle with sticking to specific hours – even the minimal opening hours I have at Studio 30 are sometimes tricky if I’m feeling especially autistic. I also find it difficult to switch my focus between tasks, so if I’m in the middle of something and a customer comes in, it can take me a while to “reset” & figure out what I was doing. it’s a hard thing to juggle, as I do love meeting customers and having that social contact, so I think having the closed studio space but perhaps taking on more shows/trunk shows might be a good way to find that balance.
I’m really excited (and UNBELIEVABLY STRESSED) about this next step in my business – at the moment I’m awake most nights planning & replanning the internal layout of the new workspace, and once the actual build starts and the layout is set, I’m sure I’ll find something else to stay awake worrying about! if you still want to come find my yarns in person, you can visit Studio 30 up until the end of April; after that, I’ll be at Woollinn in Dublin in May (at Ysolda’s stand!). I’ll also be looking into other shows or trunk shows at yarn shops in the future (so if there’s a show you think I should know about or an LYS that wants to host a trunk show, get in touch!).
the Studio 30 space will remain open throughout April; I’ll still be here working as much as I can and sticking as much as possible to my regular opening hours (Thursdays & Fridays 11-3 and Saturdays 12-4). I’ve never been involved in a building project before though, & have no idea what to expect or how much I’ll need to be on-site, so if you are planning a Studio 30 visit please get in touch first just in case something weird is happening! as of the end of April, my Studio 30 space will be closed and I’ll be starting to move everything into the new space; after that, Old Maiden Aunt Yarns will no longer have a shop/studio that you can visit.
in the meantime, I’ll no doubt be Instagramming the heck out of the new studio build, so if you’d like to see the chaos that used to be my back garden, you can check it out. thanks for sticking with me, and here’s to the next step!!!