Wednesday, March 02, 2011

a leap of faith

today i did something very exciting, and terrifying, and mind-consuming (it's literally all i can think about at the moment!) - i looked at a new studio space.

new studio? photo 1
front room, taken from the front door

it's rented by the same fantastic initiative that i rent my current space from, and is literally just up the road from where i am now - but it's SO different. for a start, it's HUGE.

new studio? photo 2
front room, taken from front window corner

it's also been divided into several parts at one point.

new studio? photo 3
desk nook (& doggy den?) with kitchenette & bathroom to the right

originally, this was a shared studio space, so the division was done to make it easier to rent it in two halves rather than as one massive space. but since i'd be renting it on my own, that means i'd end up with this:

new studio? photo 5
back room, taken through the window off the desk nook

check out all the skylights, fans, & heaters - can anyone say "dedicated dye-cooking room"? it would be absolutely perfect for this - a window for keeping an eye on the dyepots, a door that can keep it closed off from the rest of the studio (no more steam everywhere!) and huge amounts of ventilation & natural light. and, i'd also get this:

new studio? photo 4
front room, taken from the desk nook

a HUGE space for prep work, storage, comfy chairs for hanging out & knitting, and of course, shelves & shelves of lovely hand-dyed yarn. (i love how the dog has ended up in both photos - it helps with imagining the scale of the space!!).
it's only recently come available, and there are a few things that i need to figure out before i can make a final decision. some are practical concerns (there are two sinks plumbed in, but they're both teeny-tiny, so i need to know if i can take the massive sink from my current studio - which was installed there especially for me, so i'm hoping i get to take it with me!). and some are a little harder to pin down.
in a way, i'm almost back in the same position as when i first thought about taking on studio space, with the same question - am i really going to be able to sell enough yarn to afford this? in my current studio, i'm restricted as to how much yarn i can make - i have limited counter space for burners & dyepots, and limited floor space for drying racks. i'm frequently getting emails from customers asking when this or that wil be back in stock - obviously, i'm just not keeping up with demand, which makes me think that if i'm able to dye more, i would be able to sell more as well. the new space is double the size of my current space (which, alas, means double the rent!), and with the back room being so perfectly designed for a dye room, i could more than double my output - but will my customers really buy that much yarn?
it's a bit of a leap of faith to take on such a big space - but then, i took the same leap a few years ago, when i moved into the studio that i'm in now. i remember being so worried every month that i wouldn't sell enough yarn to pay my rent - now, i'm worried about not being able to make enough yarn!! i've definitely got a lot to think about.... & i'll keep you posted!

14 comments: said...

Hi Lilith,
This looks like a lovely and ideal space. I empathise with your worries about the rent......but I am making my second 'Old Maiden Aunt' garment, and just LOVE it. Indeed the first, a coraline in the gothic colour is rarely off my back.......not even blocked because as soon it was finished I put it on!! If you have lots of demand now it will surely increase......the yarn is too lovely for people not to buy more....and more......

All the best and good luck with the decision,

Lynne (fairisler on ravelry)

Helen said...

Woo! Lilith, that looks awesome. Somehow, I don't think you'll have a problem selling enough yarn. Seriously, I was down in London at the weekend with some Ravellers, and your name was spoken in the same vein as Wollmeise (no pressure hahaha) so GO FOR IT!!!
I just wish I was still up there, I'd help you move in! Which unit is it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lilith
It seems to me that demand for your yarn will just keep growing, because it is so amazing and the word is getting out (including through the KnitSpot blog). So I'm another one who says go for it!

cornemuse said...

It looks absolutely great. If the utter gorgeousness of your sock club yarn is anything to go by, sales will keep soaring. I know I'll be after more Selkie, to name just one. The colours and texture of your product are first class, and no knots, tangles, any of the usual old nonsense. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good luck!

Rikkelondon said...

I'm moving in if you don't!(just kidding:)).

I cannot tell you how many times I (or my Ravelry friends) have been crying over the 'out of stock' item on your website (or at Loop), so something might need to happen (scale to be decided by you:)xx).

I'm a big fan of your yarn and always spreading the word (almost got mugged at yarn stores in the US last time I went there when I wore my Damson knitted in your sublime sport/DK weight - brass taps and oak). Oh...and right now I'm knitting 'The Rikke Hat' in moody (DK/sports again) and you are (hopefully) right now dyeing my next order for Elodie, so I'm right there with you. Oh...and I also forgot to say that I wanted some Dreich in the alpaca/silk/cashmere blend.....xxxxx

Big hugs,
Rikke (rikkelondon on Ravelry)

Signest said...

The space looks really lovely and very... spacious :)
It looks like the perfect opportunity to grow and try new things from where I'm sitting (which is nowhere near reality).
I hope you go for it if it feels right and never actually have to worry about the rent.

Held og lykke!
- Signe

daniele said...

I have one simple statement : my yarn diet works pretty well, except when I see new projects that "must" be knit with your yarn. Then I relapse, again ;0)

doviejay said...

I understand your worries but . . . your stuff is so amazing!!!!!! I don't think you'll have any trouble selling your increased output!

Vicki Knitorious said...

You'll have to show me, when I'm there, so I can peek in the window!!
; )

Lynn Stonehouse said...

I'd buy some yarn! I've looked on your site quite a few times, but was losing interest as almost nothing i like seems to be in stock. Sometimes you just need to go for it, but i can imagine it is a daunting prospect. Good luck, Lynn, (Mudhut on ravelry)

moi said...

Congratulations, Lilith! The space is beautiful and it looks like can be a wonderful, inspirational place to be in. Good luck - you will certainly do well.

Maria said...

yes please!

i'm constantly checking your site to see what i can snag only to discover that so many things are so often out of stock.

and i know my LYS would be interested in wholesale opportunities, which hopefully would help out with the rent.

please please take the space so that i can fill my yarn cubbies with more of your BEAUTIFUL products :-)

Nicki said...

I'd buy more yarn! Seriously, every time I want yarn I go to your site first and what I want is almost always out of stock. If you had more, I'd probably never shop anywhere else again. I've not received a colour I don't like and it's the softest yarn ever :)

I'd really love sweater quantities of the DK yarn too - tried to buy some Gothic through Loop a couple of weeks ago but they only had 2 skeins :( I really want a Coraline in gothic...

And if you ever wanted someone to knit up samples to fill that lovely space, just ask!
(luluminstrel on ravelry)

Emily said...

Hi Lilith!

Your superwash merino 4-ply is my first forage into handpainted yarn. I know I'll come back for more because of the beautiful colours and their subtle changes, and the yarn is so soft and squishy! It's also more reasonably price than a lot of the other handpainted yarn around, and I only have to pay UK postage (and don't have to wait ages). Looks like there are lots more people who think your yarn is great! So if you do feel the studio is right for you then go for it!