“Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.”
—ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD
When I look at our island shop (and its online annex), I’m struck by how fortunate I am to work with such wonderful people every day. And then I marvel at the beautiful and inspiring things on our shelves. And the wonderful people who provide all the things we bring to you. Even after all these years, opening a box from UPS still sets my heart aflutter.
We retailers love the hunt for a good idea. We catch glimpses and get clues from our trade shows, sales reps, customers, magazines, Google, Pinterest, and just walking around. We follow the breadcrumbs, we do our research, we reach out to makers, and we love it just as much when something wonderful lands in our laps!
We want to know all about the sources of the raw materials, as well as the origins of the idea. Who cared enough to create this beautiful thing? Was it conceived yesterday or long ago? Either way, connecting with the folks who make what we offer is one of the most satisfying parts of what we do (besides knitting, of course!). We have many suppliers who we have counted on since we opened nearly eighteen years ago; they’ve offered us commitment, continuity, encouragement, and support through the ups and downs of small business life.
Our goal when we’re sourcing new products is not to have some of everything (after all, these days everything is available everywhere!), but to edit, commit, and work together with makers we know and trust. One of a retailer’s saddest moments is when a favorite find is unavailable or slips away—like the demise of English potteries or the closing of mills—which is why, when we find a friend, we do our best to support their success and longevity.
I looked at an old photo recently (well, actually it was a copy of a copy of an old photo) that was of a corner bakery in Essex, England, circa 1880. There was a horse-drawn cart on the cobbled street and the name on the awning was Hutchin. Apparently, being a shopkeeper is in my blood. My father sailed to Canada as a six-month-old nearly ninety years ago with his mum, two sisters, and a brother. When I think of that journey, and when I think of the daily efforts of life in that 19th-century bakeshop, I am so grateful.
P.S. This year, we’re trying out a combined Spring/Summer season that encompasses four months. That means there will be even more interim news to catch up on in the shop, in our emails, and on our website. We hope you’ll keep in touch.
P.P.S. Don’t forget to peruse our Spring/Summer 2018 Newsletter, if you haven’t already received one in the mail!