Why does a (reasonably) sane person leave a (theoretically) stable job to pursue a project like this?
And why would someone open a yarn shop in a place that used to have a yarn shop, and doesn’t now?
As I am sure you are all aware, there is a lot of change and uncertainty within the USPS right now. I honestly hope it adapts, and endures, and thrives–because I think there is enormous value in UNIVERSAL service. That said, the changes that are happening in Kittitas County–a place I love and have embraced as home–mean that there are likely to be fewer postal jobs of the type I have aspired to here. In a huge organization, the ways that change trickles from top to bottom can be particularly nerve-wracking. You’re never sure about what’s going to happen next. Looking at my situation, I had to evaluate what the prospects were (keeping in mind that I could be wrong), and think about how much stress and uncertainty I could cope with if I stayed with the postal service.
I started considering other options. I thought hard about the aspects of my job that I truly loved, what frustrated me, and what was missing. I wasn’t initially planning to start a business, but the idea wiggled into my mind like a tadpole, and it grew legs.
Despite being a card-carrying introvert, I LOVE customer service. I blow it occasionally, but I try to make things right. When people talk about the challenge of working with “the public,” I laugh. That is NOT the hard part of my job. Over time, I figured out a couple of things. 1) There isn’t any compelling reason to inflict my problems on a customer. And 2) It really doesn’t take any more energy to be patient and compassionate than it does to be frustrated. I like to help if I can.
I also like administrative work–bookkeeping and all of the miscellaneous tasks that keep an operation in motion. It’s always been part of my work life, and I’m that part of the team at home, too.
The two major pieces that were missing were autonomy and creativity.
The fact that this venture has the potential to bring those key elements together offsets the risk involved. Our health insurance won’t be as good, I won’t get paid every other Friday, and there is the possibility that it just might not work. But I know that it calls on the best of my strengths, and that I’m willing to work really, really hard to make it thrive.
That brings me to the second question: why Ellensburg? The simplest answer is that I miss The Dancing Ewe. It was a beautiful place, and a terrific resource. I wasn’t able to shop there as often as I’d have liked because I live in Roslyn and my hours made it difficult, but I was there enough to know what we lost when Cathy closed the shop. I’m not trying to replicate it, but The Dancing Ewe was the kind of place all of us fiber folk needed, and I think we still do. I’ll need to reach as many knitters and crocheters in Central Washington as I can, and make it easy for travelers to find us, too. My goal is for Yarn Folk to be a destination, a place of true fiber-y goodness.
Just a few ideas I wanted to share. If you have thoughts, Spritey is all ears!