Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Business or Pleasure

This is something that has been bugging me since Jan. Is all this fiber stuff around me business or pleasure?

I started out eight years ago, by getting a few angora bunnies. I dusted off the untouched Ashford traditional wheel with the intent to learn to spin. At what point did these few innocent hobby type actions turn into Zavagant Fibers?

I do this all the time, turn a hobby into a 'booth' When my daughter was very young, I took up hand smocking. One year at my local city's street fair, I had a big rack of hand smocked dresses for sale. My daughter and I both outgrew smocking.

Then it was quilting. And church bazaars. Any and every type of hand craft, I made, displayed and sold. Right before this spinning hobby, I was selling watercolor paintings (lets just say they were very primitive styled, I am not a good painter)

There is some cycle that happens when I get into a hobby. I learn all I can about that skill, get better than the average crafter (or the fact that no one DOES that craft) and someone pays me to do that for them, and I am off and looking for a full time way to sell it.

So I have been of two minds about this fiber stuff. I love it. I want to continue to love it. I want to share it with many people. I want to provide what they need to enjoy it like I do. It's not about the money, it's the joy of others loving spinning too.

It still ends up being a business, and alot of work. That is why I am off on this tirade today. I looked at the calendar and realized it is now only six weeks until my big yearly booth. I have pounds of angora plucked and graded, now it needs carded, packaged and labelled. This is not the fun part. Combing alpaca is alot of fun, a pleasant way to spend some time on my front porch. Combing pounds of alpaca is no longer fun. I love playing with the dyepots. I have six pounds of white corriedale roving that begs to be dyed. I had a very grand time last year, planning color combinations, and dyeing roving. But I doubt I will have time to do that in any large quantity in six weeks.

That is the difference of course, between the business attitude and hobby attitude. If it is a business, you do it all the time, in large quantities. I work full time, so doing the fiber business all the time is not possible. That alone has kept the business from growing. Over the last six years, as I have added more and more to the booth sales, I rationalized it all by saying I was building a retirement business, that when I quit the full time job, I would do the fiber business full time. But I am at least 15 years away from retirement, and not really ready to juggle the two for that amount of time.

So I am at the point of deciding, do I push to expand the business, or just let it shrink back to the non grandious hobby status. I have always thought the next logical expansion for Zavagant Fibers was a web site. I have been 'looking into' doing that for 15 months now. It just doesn't seem to want to happen. I have decided to cut way back on raising the rabbits, because we do like to travel, and daily care of the rabbits is something that will limit our travel time.

Neither of these are enough reasons alone to say no more business. However it piles up in my mind, to the point I am ready to just say, look, it is time to close this cycle you have once again started, and just sit at home and spin what you want.

Would I miss doing the fiber shows? You bet! Would I miss the thrill of trying to find what entices the fiber buyer to say ahhh I just have to have that? Yep! Do I fold up the Zavagant business cards and call it quits?

I really don't know at this point. I have been cutting back bit by bit, like a junkie easing off his Jones. I may even be to the point I need, just a few rabbits, one booth a year. No website, and word of mouth advertising.

I also think this is why I have been very reluctant to get into serious sewing on my lovely new sewing machine. I can just see the possibilities, quilts, heirloom sewing, christening gowns, lovely pillows...

Anyone need a bridal gown made?

Oh and lets not even think about the Brother Knitting machine, fedexing it's way to me as I type.


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