When I began Black Trillium back in 2008, I wore all the hats for the business in addition to being a newer mom, wife, and Oregonian. Fast forward through ten years of hand dyeing and living life, and you get two studio moves (across state lines), we added a family member, our list of retailers covers the United States and some of Europe, and we ship from our retail site all over the world every single week. Black Trillium is now four people working out of an independent studio (I do not miss dyeing in my kitchen one bit!). Our list of trade shows includes both the Sock Summits, Black Sheep Gathering, Knot Another Fiber Festival, Stitches West, and Vogue Knitting Live. Everything we've achieved, all of our growth, can be attributed directly to our amazing, crafty audience.
I began 2018 with renewed energy to celebrate the wonderful decade we've spent in business, to continue our outward growth with our brick and mortar stores, and to reach new creative depths in our collaborations with fantastic designers. I think 2018 came online with the intention of challenging me, and I'm a pretty resourceful, stubborn gal with a lot of 'interesting' life experience under my belt.
My first clue was Stitches West. Along with an increase in wool prices in response to higher demand, there are changes going on in the knitting and crochet marketplace, and this year along with a number of other vendors, we felt the shift. Accessibility to classes, yarn, trends and social outlets has become a primarily online activity for our community and I'm 100% on board with this movement. However, it has negatively impacted our brick and mortars, which in turn impacts the wholesale side of Black Trillium Fibres.
Travel has always been difficult for me because I don't sleep well, my eating habits run towards coping rather than nutrition, and my stress level skyrockets. In the last six months, I've had a record number of health challenges that all clearly stem from my travel and stress issues as well as my weight and genetics. Being ill on a regular basis over the last few months brought me one step closer to the realization I was slowly forming.
Then we found out we'd be losing our dyeing studio.
Okay, fine, time to shake things up a bit. My husband and I bought our first house a few years ago thanks to the fact that he does really well at his job, and I'm grateful that we have a sizeable garage where the business can land. Rentals of the commercial and personal variety in our area are scarce and expensive, which means returning Black Trillium to my home. Great for my commute, not so great for logistics. Unfortunately, this move means I have to greatly reduce the hours my employees are working, and the cost for electrical upfit in the new studio space is a sizeable unforeseen expense at our slowest possible time of year.
The list of changes goes on, of course. I need the time enable my body to heal and return to a state that I can live with for the next forty to fifty years without early complications, which means I will not be traveling to trade shows as a vendor for at least a year. Additionally, because I will have reduced production help, I won't be able to continue fulfilling wholesale orders.
You want to know what won't change? The quality of our products, because we love working with our mill for our exclusively spun yarn bases and I enjoy working with color as much as I like knitting or hanging out with my family. Creativity is life for me, and it brings me immeasurable amounts of joy. Our huge catalog of repeatable colors will always be an option, but now I will also have more freedom to experiment and offer one-of-kind combinations to those of you who crave crafting with that sort of thing.
So, in many ways, we're returning to the origins of what Black Trillium Fibres was founded on - a love of color and a commitment to family. I have so many wonderful things planned for the rest of this year, so make sure you're signed up for our mailing list so you can hear about them.
Thanks for reading, and cheers to you!