A Day in the Life of an Artisan Weaver.
With the changing economy, small business is on the rise. Perhaps you have considered owning your own business or becoming an entrepreneur. For this week’s article, I thought that I would keep a journal and and share with you a day in the life of an artisan.
I operate a small weaving and spinning business, selling products through wholesale, mail order and retail. I also raise angora rabbits so one of the first tasks of the day is to visit with them. Angora rabbits shed their fur every couple of months, so one of them usually is in need of grooming.
During the summer months, my studio is open to the public. This means that at any time, someone may drop by. This morning the first customers arrived at my door at 8:30 a.m.
As my days are quite busy, I don’t have a lot of time to sit down and spin, but I have found that even short bits of spinning time during the day can add up to quite a bit of production. During the summer months, my spinning wheel sits on the porch. Whenever I have a few minutes, I sit down, spin a bit and enjoy the view of the lake and mountains around me.
I have been spinning a wool and angora blend of yarn that is now ready to be dyed. I heat up the dye pots and put the yarn in.
I just finished a blanket warp last night. I cut it off the loom and inevitably there are a few broken threads that need repairing.
Although I would like to be in the studio, producing, when you run a small business, you really do have to everything, including the marketing, selling and other paperwork. I find that I spend quite a bit of time at my computer. I check for messages and email every few hours. I have been developing a new product line that requires new labels. In order to cut down on costs, I have done the design myself. This is now ready to take to the printers.
I will be doing a sales trip to meet with some of my customers. Before I go, I make some phone calls to arrange a time to meet with them in advance. I am also considering whether to do a trade show to increase business.
I think for a weaver or any crafts person, the hardest part is not in making the product, but trying to find the right market.
I am planning a new project and find that I am running short of supplies, so have to place an order.
The yarn that has been in the dye pot is now ready and needs to be rinsed. I hang the skeins outside to dry. As this is a home-based business, there are always tasks to be done. My children have dentist appointments today. We live outside of town, so I try to arrange my time to reduce the number trips to town. While they are at the dentist, I drop the designs off at the printer, do the banking and grocery shopping.
After lunch, I get back to doing the finishing on the blankets. I braid the ends and check the blanket over again carefully looking for skips and any other errors that may have occurred. Then it is ready for fulling.
It is not all work – there is a bit of time for fun during the day. It is hot and sunny so it’s definitely time for a swim in our glacier cold lake.
I do most of the finishing and sewing and labelling of the products myself. Occasionally, for large orders, I contract out some of the work. This evening, some products require hemming.
While I work on the finishing touches to this article, more visitors to the studio drop by. Today, I have had tourists from across the country, Victoria, BC to Charlottetown, PEI.
The yarn I dyed this morning is now dry and waiting to be knit. I think I will watch a movie and knit myself a sweater.
Craft Business Books
The Handmade Marketplace, 2nd Edition: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online
Grow Your Handmade Business: How to Envision, Develop, and Sustain a Successful Creative Business
Art Money & Success
Sewing to Sell – The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Craft Business: Bonus – 16 Starter Projects • How to Sell Locally & Online