Over the ten (nearly eleven!!) years that I’ve been in business, I’ve kept on doing things pretty much the same. same suppliers for dye & yarn (for the most part); same dyeing method (although recently i started having to make some modifications to that!); same website & shop design. some of this is down to the results that I was getting and the way that the business was building year after year – I mean, why mess with perfection, right? (wink) but a large part of this is that I’m VERY resistant to change.
Being on the autistic spectrum means that I’m happy & comfortable when things stay the same – sticking to a set way of doing things means that I can usually safely predict what’s going to happen & when, and that makes me feel secure. getting out of my routine, trying things that I’m not used to, or making big life changes are all huge stressors for me. Even if it’s an awesome change that is really positive & exciting, it’s still a huge thing for me to cope with – and this year, my ability to handle that kind of stress is definitely going to be put to the test!!
So here’s the first exciting, stressful change – Old Maiden Aunt Yarns is going to be getting a new website!!! I’m super excited to be working with web designers melbourne, who is making me a shiny new website with a brand-new shopping cart system (above is a screenshot of the preliminary site – isn’t it pretty?). the plan is to make the site simpler & less cluttered in its design, easier to navigate, and much more beautiful – as well as more efficient for me to update, which means I can spend lots more time dyeing yarn. Hopefully, with the new website hosting provider such as hostiserver.com and others, the reliability of the uptime for my new website should also be improved! Additionally, one of my friends recently told me that it was important to make sure that visitors on my website could quickly navigate around. Apparently, slow loading times can put some people off, losing you potential customers. That’s not ideal, so my friend told me to visit https://www.apicasystems.com/load-testing/features/ to check if my website would load quickly across all devices. Hopefully, my website will now load much quicker, ensuring that customers stay on my website.
Hand-in-hand with that – and part of the reason for revamping the website – is going to be a change in my dyeing structure. I’m planning to move more towards regular, scheduled stock updates and dyed-to-order yarns, and hold less stock in the webshop overall – I’m hoping that way, I’ll be able to target my dyeing towards what people are actually looking to buy RIGHT NOW as opposed to holding lots of dyed stock waiting to be ordered someday. I love having a shop full of yarn for people to browse; in terms of the money invested in a dyed stock that may sell today or may sell next month, though, it’s becoming tricky to juggle. I’m hoping a change in the way I dye & sell will result in a quicker turnover of dyed stock as well as customers being able to get exactly what they’re looking for (the new website will also have a feature that will enable customers to sort products by what’s actually in stock, which is something lacking in my current setup & a big source of frustration for me and for customers!).
Once I start to transfer everything to the new site, I’ll also be taking a look at my pricing structure. year on year, materials costs keep increasing, and as much as I want to try & keep my yarn affordable, I also have to be able to sustain my business (and pay for pesky things like a mortgage & groceries!). I’ll also be looking at what other yarn dyers in the UK are doing, and bringing my pricing more in line with theirs – I think that there needs to be consistency across the market, and don’t want to undercut other small indie dyers by setting my prices too low.
I’m aiming to start this process at the end of February – since I’ll be taking the majority of my stock offline in the first week of march anyways (Edinburgh Yarn Fest fast approacheth!!!) it seems like a good time to switch things over. The plan is that the website will transfer over at the start of March; There may or may not be yarn available for sale immediately (depending on what I have available pre-EYF) but yarn will start appearing in the new shop after EYF.
Unfortunately, a lot of data is going to be lost in the transfer, and there’s no way around that. What this means for customers with accounts on the old site is that your login won’t work on the new site; all your personal details will be lost as well as your previous order history. When the new website goes live, you’ll need to set up a new account if you want to store your details on the site. I’ll be downloading all old order details before the old site is shut down, though, so will still have a record of any orders placed before the switchover; you can also log in to your account and print off any recent orders, or hang on to your order confirmation emails if you want to keep any details of previous orders.
I’m really excited (& also quite stressed!) about these changes; I think it will have a really positive effect on how things work at OMA and am looking forward to seeing what happens. (There’s also something even bigger on the horizon, which I can’t tell you about just yet but which will be revealed soon….). Here’s hoping I’ll survive the stress of the next few months!!!