Tanis Fiber Arts has been in business for six years now. Man how things have changed! I knew I should have taken photo evidence of my first TFA setup. It didn't seem photo-worthy at the time, but I'd like to have them now. In our tiny apartment, on the weekends, I'd dye yarn in our kitchen and hang my skeins to dry on our doorknobs. I opened an etsy
shop and slowly but surely things started to sell. Soon after I started getting wholesale accounts. Selling my yarns to LYS's around the country was a huge thrill and a big step for tiny TFA. I used to borrow Chris' skateboard to push my big boxes of yarn to the post office. That is what I really wish I had a photo of. I used the skateboard-as-dolly method for years!
For a few years we were eagerly taking on any new stores that would have us, but now, as you may have noticed, TFA has scaled back and we are a mainly online business, with only 4 shops
currently stocking our yarns. A while back, When Chris and I made the decision to stay small and build our studio in the back yard, rather than expand into a rental space and hire staff, we knew that meant that we were limiting the volume we would be able to produce. We do not want to be production dyers, never having time to do anything creative because we are always struggling just to keep up. The past few years
have been bananas. It felt like we had lost sight of our goals. We kept looking for ways to find more time to be creative without taking time away from working on orders for our customers but it just didn't work.
So here we are now. Still working hard, dyeing as much yarn as we can, but trying to do so in a way that works for us as a family. We build in time to work on Club colourways, Etsy updates, patterns and kits. All aspects of the business that I love the most but have found it difficult to find time for when it felt as though we were always treading water. This transition to a more scaled back production approach has gradually been happening over the past year or so. When we found out that we had a baby on the way we started planning accordingly. It's been a tough change, I hate disappointing the knitter's who can no longer find my yarns on the shelves of their LYS's, but I know that it was the right decision for us.
I took that photo of Chris and Rowan the other day, Chris was taking pictures of me in my Oshima and Rowan was doing his best to knock the camera out of his hands. Rowan certainly adds his own brand of challenge to our daily tasks at TFA, but knowing that we've built our family business around our life as a family makes me feel good about the tough decisions that come with it.
I get the occasional email from a knitter asking if we're still in business since their LYS no longer stocks our yarns, so I thought that it was about time that I address the changes that have gradually been happening behind the scenes. Thanks to everyone for bearing with us during this transition. We're working on lots of new and exciting projects these days, so it seems as though my plan for a more creative life is working!