Important Announcement and an Opportunity
When God closes a door…
Five years ago, I was working in my studio at the Pendleton Art Center when I got a text message from the then-owner of Fibergé, Norma Lawrence. The text said, “Hi! Would you have any interest in owning Fibergé?” Curious and maybe even a bit excited about what that would mean, we scheduled a lunch to discuss details. She filled me in that she had been offered a job out of state and she needed to close her little shop on Vine Street. She didn’t want the fruit of her years of labor to die, but she knew she needed to be done. God was closing a door. When original owner of Fibergé, Vickie Leopold, needed to close the door, Norma had the opportunity to keep it open. It looked like I had a similar opportunity, and after a lot of consideration I decided to go for it. At that point in my life, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to build something I was passionate about while still being present with my husband and two school-aged children.
I began looking at retail spaces in Pleasant Ridge, a vibrant up-and-coming neighborhood that I still call home. I met a commercial real estate broker, found the perfect space, and wrote a letter of intent for a lease; I also chose an architect and hired a contractor, so the ball was already rolling. Shortly before signing the lease, I found out I was expecting Shop Baby 1.0. I didn’t know how I would make it work, but I knew I could take the baby to work with me and I would just figure it out somehow. Things didn’t happen the way I’d planned since city permits take forever and life happens (like the baby coming 6 weeks early, the day before the yarn market trade show, in fact, with a NICU stay), but I kept trucking. Buildout was underway, and a day before the flooring was installed, friends and family came to the space to write blessings and prayers on the floors with permanent markers. A week later, on September 19, 2015, I opened Fibergé: Knits + Bolts with a sweet little 3.5-month old in tow and the rest of my family holding the ceremonial ribbon that I cut. I was finally re-opening the door.
I learned a LOT in my first year of business. I’d never owned a retail business before, so I absorbed every new piece of information I could. I fell many times, but resolved to get back up. If I tried an idea that didn’t work, I tried something different. That’s the fun of entrepreneurship, right? Keep innovating. The shop was another one of my babies and I wanted to do everything I could to nurture it so it would grow. Two years in, I felt like I was hitting my stride and the shop was gaining momentum. I was planning events for the following year, dreaming up pattern designs, and was thrown for a gigantic loop when I found out Shop Baby 2.0 was on his way! After the shock settled, I said, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I’m just going to do it.” I was so thankful to have had a supportive staff and a successful pregnancy, even with the stress of business ownership and strictly managing my Type 1 diabetes to keep the baby healthy.
Most of the year following my little guy’s birth I was in a postpartum depression fog and I felt more and more exhausted as time went on. After awhile, my family was getting my worst and my shop wasn’t getting much more due to my lack of headspace (and, who am I kidding, sleep). I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was going. I didn’t want to close my shop because it was work I felt called to do, and I loved going into work every day, but I felt worn down. I wondered if someone would be willing to come alongside of me to help carry the load and “co-parent” my “baby” so I could rest, be more present with my family, and actually do my job well. I began discussing partnership with a very talented woman I adored, and after working together for several months, we decided to make our partnership official. Things seemed to be looking up and I was elated at the possibility of having some more time, energy, and headspace. Two months into the partnership, however, we realized that it wasn’t working, so we made the painful decision to dissolve our partnership.
Here’s where I am now, post-partnership dissolution: I feel like God’s closing the door for me owning and operating my beloved shop. I’m exhausted and as a sweet friend reminded me, I cannot give out of an empty body. I’m in a completely different situation now than when the shop opened, having two more children than I did when I started. In this stage of life, my husband and kids need me to be more present with them, and there’s no amount of yarn or fabric that can buy back this precious time. It may sound silly, but I keep thinking back to when I graduated from high school and college. Despite feeling some sad emotions, a graduation ceremony is not called a “final ceremony” or “ending ceremony,” it’s called a commencement ceremony. Life is just beginning after the tassel is turned. I believe this is a commencement opportunity for Fiberge. It needs someone who will continue to nurture people in their creative ventures and provide top quality textiles. All that to say, as I prepare to come home to my family, I’m presenting an opportunity for someone to keep the door open.
Under previous ownership, Fiberge only carried yarn, but because sewing made me equally happy as knitting, I decided to add fabric. My vision for the shop was to create a community of crafters. It was important to me to create a warm, inviting environment, a creative safe haven. I wanted people to feel encouraged when they dropped stitches or had to use their seam ripper. If I could use something as minuscule as textiles to connect with people, I was all in. If people walked into my shop sad or grumpy, but left with a little more pep in their step, I considered the day to be a successful one. It didn’t hurt that I had a couple of sweet, cheerful babies in the shop to soften people, but that’s beside the point. ;-)
People may say that closing a business equals failure, but I refuse to believe that. I was able to watch people build their skill in the safety of my shop. While knitting or sewing, people opened up and started to share their lives with me. They told me they kept returning because they felt inspired and welcomed. I’ve heard many call the shop their happy place (it’s mine, too). People met around the knitting table and many found their “tribe.” I consider all these things to be a sign of success. Did I do everything perfectly? Nope. But I do believe the shop was/is successful. If anything, I hope I’ve been able to change the view on motherhood and business ownership—I nursed my babies while winding yarn and I have zero regrets.
If you are interested in owning Fibergé and inheriting a flagship status with Quince and Company yarn, which is quite a feat, I invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and share this with people who may be interested. I will consider and discuss all proposals, but want to leave it in the hands of someone who has a heart for equal parts textiles and building community. If I am unable to find someone to own and operate this special place, I plan to close the doors for good on May 28. Hours will change a bit to accommodate my kids’ schedules, but I’ll send clear communication on the specific open times.
It’s said that when God closes a door, sometimes he opens a window (thank you, Oscar Hammerstein). But I think sometimes you just open it again because, well, it’s a door.
It’s been a pleasure to instruct, serve, and share life with you over the last 3 years and 9 months, with the love of the craft as our common ground.
Much love and warm blessings to you,