I started my little shop with no business experience at all. I listened to everyone in how my business should be run. I brought in expensive overseas yarns and brands. Yarns I had never knitted with myself, as I couldn’t justify paying the money for them.
Yarns and needles with the marketing hype and social media must have mentality. The mentality of more. Something that just isn’t me.
I looked at what wasn’t offered in the market here and aimed to stock it. I read Janine Allis’s book. And gulped at the thought of mortgaging my home to set up a business. I really did start to think being in business was about risking everything to make ‘success’. I tried to put on the airs and graces of an up market shop.
It wasn’t me and that’s the reason I struggled so hard. I’m not an up market type of person. I may be a descendant of royalty but at heart I’m a Welsh peasant and rather proud to be a working class gal, who had the privilege of going to university under the ‘free’ education policy of the Whitlam government.
I always felt the need to give back that privilege by working in remote communities. I’ve always seen my education as a privilege few get and need to use it to benefit others.
Heart based businesses are about basing your business on your values. My values are kindness, compassion, inclusion, love, family. You’ll notice there’s nothing in those that is money based and that’s a reason I never was going to be successful as an up market type of yarn shop. Pushing the high priced overseas yarns because they make more profit than the local yarns.
There’s nothing wrong in having the value of making money. For me it has not and never been a highly held value. I’m happy to have a roof over my head, food on the table and a little extra for helping the kids out. With the house paid off and no debt apart from the business overdraft I’m in a privileged position indeed.
In the end ditching the overseas brands and focusing on my values has made me much happier. I’m wealthier in other ways than money. I feel more connected to my community (customers) as they too share my values. They love their Australian yarns and brands, yarns from their childhood too. I’ve connected with local farmers who too share my values and have now produced their own beautiful yarn, which I will have the privilege of stocking. Yarn produced in Australia, by Australians. Yarn grown by a farming family, who’s values include family, healthy animals, leaving the world a better place for their children and grandchildren and their land.
As I reflect on my six years of being in business. The highs and the lows are there, the times I have wanted to give up because I was comparing my success to the values of others. In what has a been a very difficult 18 months indeed, I’ve found my tribe. I’ve appreciated my landlord’s generosity in helping me and my local community who support me by popping in with a kind word, a cup of coffee and a listening ear.
I have lost customers and friends their values aren’t mine and although sad it has opened up opportunities for others who do share my values to come into my life. Change can be a painful process. I do believe out of our challenges comes our greatest growth. A better knowledge of self and a clarity to what really is important.
Thank you to my wonderful community ❤️