Local Yarn from Happy Sheep | Grown, Spun & Dyed in Central Germany

Journal

on transparency and building a business

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It's been a little over a year since we took our very first fleeces to the mill. It's been about a year and a half since I first had the original seed of the idea that would grow into this yarn company. It's been 8 months since we launched and sold out in under a week. And to be honest, I've hit a rough patch. 

Maybe it's just something that all small business owners deal with. Or maybe it's just my own insecurities- imposter syndrome fighting it's way back in to haunt me again. Or maybe- maybe it's something to actually pay attention to. A wake up call of sorts, alerting me to what I already knew - that the way I've been doing things for the past weeks and months is not sustainable for me or our family. That something has to change.

I want to address a few things here, following a few questions and comments I've gotten over the past few weeks (both on social media and IRL) as I've been sharing about our travel plans and the fact that our shop is closed over the summer. There are several reasons for this. The first is quite simply that we've run out of product. While we're in the process of developing both a second batch of Origin as well as some new bases, we do have to wait for sheep to be shorn and mills to process our fleeces. So that's the first reason. 

The second is a little more complicated.

At this point, neither myself or my business partner Marty have personally made any money off of this venture. And of course- OF COURSE, we're not in it for the money. I don't think it's a secret that many of us in the fiber industry are here because it's a passion. In addition to being a small business owner,  I'm a  stay-at-home mama with a day job (I work flexible hours, from home for a knitwear publishing company which I absolutely love by the way). I have commitments to my community and household which all place demands on my time. And as much as I love what we're doing here at r&s, and true though it may be that I'm not doing this for the money, the reality is that it's not all that sustainable for my family the way things are set up right now. Too many long hours, not enough childcare, high levels of stress, and very little quality time spent with my husband. All with no financial payback. To be completely and utterly honest.

I guess the best and worst thing about having your own business is that it's all you- all the time. On good days, you GET to make all the decisions, create what you love and make the kind of difference in the world that you want to. On the worst days you HAVE to do all this. There's no one else to call the shots or cushion your fall or pay the bills. 

I have no answers at this point. But I just know that I need a break. We're in the process of expanding this business and hope to get it to the point soon where we can actually offer ourselves (and our families and partners) financial compensation for the hours we've poured into getting this thing going. But we're just not there yet. And until we get there (or until I magically figure out the key to this whole work-life balance thing) things might be a little quiet around here. 

As always, if you have any thoughts or questions please don't hesitate to reach out! If you're a creative or small business owner who's also struggling- just know you're not alone. I see you and am rooting for you. After all, we're all in this together. 

Ruth Werwai1 Comment