psst - there is a promo code at the bottom of this blog post! Read on.
Well, hello there! If you're reading this that means two things: A) you've found me! The TFA blog has moved. The old blogspot blog still exists, but I will no longer be updating it, all the action is going to happen here from now on. So, lets all go ahead and update our bookmark bars or favourites lists or wherever it is that we follow blogs with the new blog address: www.tanisfiberarts.com/blog
Ok, so we're all updated? Good. On to thing #2 that you've probably already noticed: there have been some pretty major changes happening over here at the online home of Tanis Fiber Arts. We've got a jazzy new look, and I'm pretty pumped about it! Hopefully when you clicked over here and saw it you thought "wow! pretty!" and not "oh no! change!" But if you are in the second camp of people who don't like change, fear not, everything still functions exactly the same way. The site is still organized by colour, (and we've still got that glorious colours gallery for your viewing pleasure!) layout and content is all the same (with a few new things added in!) and all of the changes are improvements.
I feel like its only appropriate to say a fond farewell to the old TFA site. Chris and I built that site from scratch and it has served us well. But over the years, it has become obvious that it was starting to cramp our style. There are lots of things that a busy online business needs from it's website that the old site just wasn't providing. The two major issues were the fact that updating the old site was painful. It was complicated, involved several software programs and took more time than I have available. Which is why it remained unchanged, un-updated, for long periods of time. That always kinda bummed me out because I felt like in order to keep it fresh it needed to move forward with us. This new website is a breeze to update, which will hopefully result in a more dynamic, exciting site.
The second big thorn in my side was the shopping cart/paypal experience. Using paypal was a great way to get our foot in the door, but it has become very limiting. No promo codes, limited ways to define the shipping charges, taxes… and don't even get me started on the back-end. It doesn't provide detailed reports of transactions, meaning that every month I would make a spreadsheet breaking down all the sales, products, taxes… and I'm sure I made mistakes, it was the world's worst system. Lots of very smart people can do very impressive things with paypal, but I am not one of them! The new merchant processing system and shopping cart is a huge improvement. On my end, keeping track of orders is much simpler, which frankly, would have been enough to convince me to make the switch. But for you, I am super giddy about the way the shopping cart is presented! As you add items to your cart you get this nifty little shopping cart icon that appears in the top right corner, and the best part? The shopping cart shows thumbnails of the items that it contains. So, if you want to see how Gold, Seabreeze and Plum look together? Add them all to your cart and take a peek!
Super cool right? There are a few other positive changes, the images for example. Now almost all the images are enlargeable! Which, to me, is kind of essential for a yarn site. You now get to see the skeins in all their glory! What else, oh the patterns page - huge improvement. The old patterns page was basically just a place where I put a bunch of small images of my patterns with links to Ravelry. Since I wasn't able to sell digital downloads directly through my site, it was the best I could offer. But now that I can, it opens up a world of possibilities! The images enlarge, and there is basically no limit to the number of images I can include, so you can see lots of detail for each pattern, and you can purchase them directly through the site along with the yarn needed for your project, all in one simple transaction. Of course, if you prefer to keep all of your patterns organized in your Ravelry library, there are still links to the Ravelry pattern pages for each pattern.
The kits! I've got the same kits as before, with a new hero shot for the TFA Palettes (shown above) which I am completely obsessed with. But this new system will make it much easier for me to add new kits in the future. And when I do, they might look a little something like this:
I just keep staring at that page. So much lovely colour! The Eventide Shawl kit is different from my other kits because it includes full skeins of yarn. My other kits all focus on patterns that required small bits of multiple colours, which are very labour intensive but proportionally awesome and therefore worth it. I hope to add more kits, in both styles, in the future. Because who doesn't love a kit? I've got lots to say about my new Eventide Shawl pattern, my new Amber Label yarn base and of course my new colours! But those posts will come later on this week. Too much NEW news in one blog post and my head might just explode.
I sincerely hope that you all enjoy the new site. Chris and I have worked extremely hard on it to try and make it the best yarn shopping experience we can. At the risk of patting myself on the back a little too enthusiastically, I have to admit that I am extremely proud of this site. I do not consider myself a very technical person, I only just recently learnt how to connect my computer to my tv so I can watch a movie through it… what? So the fact that we built this site all on our own feels like a huge accomplishment. Hands down, this sort of experience is exactly what I love so much about owning my own small business. I get to be a little bit of everything: dyer, designer, graphic artist, photographer, web designer… so many new hats to wear and so much to learn and experiment with. I very often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, like last night for instance when I was writing code to transfer the TFA domain from my old site to this one, it was all fingers crossed and hoping for the best! But with enough time, research and tutorials viewed, you really can pull off just about anything. I really love that we were able to build this all ourselves, because it means that every single link, word, image and decision was made purposefully by us and is exactly how we want it.
If you've managed to read through all of this, thanks for taking the time to let me go on and on! This feels like a fresh start, and that's always a good thing.
To celebrate the launch of the new site and to flex my new shopping cart's muscles I'm offering free shipping all week (until 11:59 EST Sunday April 27th) with the promo code: freeshipping.