When I sat down to write this post, I knew I wanted to share things but wasn't sure if they were appropriate. I want to share how it feels to run a small business in an age of uncertainty. In the last few years, we have all had significant challenges, from a global pandemic to Brexit and an economic crisis. I've had personal challenges too. But instead of letting these things impact me and my business, I have tried hard to keep positive, work harder, and, more importantly, enjoy every moment.
When deciding what to offer in my shop, it has to meet specific criteria. I purchase only from companies where animal and people welfare is a priority. I chose yarn from small suppliers over big companies. I like to seek out new things but only by trying them first to make sure you'll love them as much as I do! When I started Tangled Yarn in 2011, my mantra was I would only stock those yarns I would use myself, and it's still this today, eleven years on!
The arrival of Brexit did hit us hard; there's no denying it. There have been times when I've wondered how and if we could weather the storm. So I started looking at it from a different perspective. Rather than seeing the negative, I saw an opportunity to offer my UK customers more European yarns.
We have more recently specialised in Europeon yarn brands
One of the biggest things to impact small businesses is having the ability to have a wide and varied range. I know this because whenever my husband visits, he says, "You've got a lot of wool, Rachel." Typically my reply is, "Hey, I'm a yarn shop; of course I have." I'm also a knitter and rather partial to beautiful knitting yarn; what can I say? I know you can relate! Joking aside, he's right. From time to time, you have to be ruthless and say goodbye to old favourites to make room for new things. This has always been challenging, but for sustainability and survival, it must be done.
It's that time of year again; Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers are landing in everyone's inbox. As a small business, this weekend can be pretty stressful. This is why this year, I have pledged to support Colour Friday. Colour Friday was started last year by Holly Tucker MBE to promote small businesses. The founder of Not On The High Street and Holly & Co., Holly is passionate about empowering others to turn what they love into profitable businesses. She is encouraging us all to shop small as we fast approach Christmas. Rather than offering a store-wide discount, I'm offering savings on carefully hand-picked beauties, so go and check those out.
As a small business, I love showcasing other small businesses. Here are a few of my favourite small businesses you can show some love to this Colour Friday.
Tilly Flop Designs
Behind Tilly Flop, graphic designer Julie is also a prolific knitter and sewer. Julie has combined her love of sewing, knitting and graphics to create a range of greeting cards, temporary tattoos, car stickers, tea towels and prints. More recently, she has added a project planner to her range and the most divine candle, which smells out of this world!
Amy has set aside the nine to five to follow her dream!
Her hand-dyed yarn is inspired by the places she has visited and is all named using ///what3words. You can find Amy on Instagram @mamieandflorrie and to peruse her colourful hand dyed yarn in her online shop here. You can also find her at Maker's Markets in and around Manchester.
Hoop & Fred
The lovely Stephanie is a Manchester-based embroidery designer.
Stephanie offers embroidery kits and downloadable PDF patterns inspired by the natural and the man(chester) made through her Etsy shop. She will also join us in 2023 to teach her Mindful Embroidery class.
Without small businesses, life would be rather dull. They bring colour and interest to what would otherwise just be a very beige shopping experience. When you purchase from a small business, you make dreams come true! Each and every order I send out means a great deal to me. It's a parcel of possibilities waiting for you to get creative.
How can you help a small business even when you don't purchase? There are lots of ways you can help.