We’re a couple months into 2021, and this year has already been more tumultuous than we’d hoped. However, we do see some pinpricks of light at the end of the tunnel (needle-felting pun intended). As has been the case for so many this year, Bossy Feltworks’ path took some unexpected turns.
Summer 2020 was the first summer in 14 years that we were not at the Orcas Island Farmers Market. It has always been a cornerstone of our Bossy year -- catching up with island friends, and enjoying both returning summer visitors and new customers. As we contemplated what a pandemic-safe farmer’s market would look like, a masked, sanitized and crowd-controlled Bossy Booth sounded like a lot more work than fun. And, while handmade cuteness is definitely a joy-giver, it is not an “essential item”. We three felt compelled to pursue choices which bolstered our community in more concrete ways, namely supporting island kids and providing local food for our neighbors.
We were very fortunate to be in positions where we could make that decision and still know we could make ends meet. This was the first summer when we each had a full-time job in addition to Bossy. Kari was endlessly problem solving and preparing Salmonberry School for in-person learning in the fall. Amy was working long days with husband Eric on Lum Farm, having moved their operation to Coffelt Farm Preserve. This transition was successful enough that Mandy joined the crew, managing the farm stand, marketing, and helping with chores. Over the summer, we worked together one afternoon a week filling our modest number of online orders, keeping our local bookstore stocked with a small assortment, and working in advance on Christmas ornaments.
In early fall, we all looked back and didn’t know how we would have pulled off a farmer’s market season, pandemic or not. More on that later….
The toaster we got Kari for Christmas came with a self-care guide that we now refer to often.
Our holiday season was a total surprise -- our Etsy shop had its biggest year ever. We honestly did not see that coming! With an epic eight weeks of sales underway, we were scrambling, working our other jobs and also packing and shipping, something we’d been able to hire out in prior years. In lieu of our cancelled local holiday event, we hosted two weekends of a “Wooly Winter Pop Up” outdoors and distanced at the Lum Farm. There were some looong days in there, but we did it -- and it felt like one of our biggest accomplishments to date. We very much appreciate everyone’s support, as well as patience when we periodically closed our shop to catch up with orders. We sure were biting our nails over the overtaxed postal system and the late delivery of many packages.
After the holidays, we put our shop on hiatus and paused to take some deep breaths. We’ve done some deep thinking about both 2021 and our longer term goals for Bossy’s Feltworks. What’s true is that we three still really love the craft of needle felting, and want to keep it up! We love our “Bossy Clubhouse”, the studio and shipping space that we have rented for the past 9 years. And we love working together in this business.
There’s one big change that we have agreed upon. Bossy’s Feltworks won’t be returning to the Orcas Island Farmers Market. We have realized that with all our other commitments, we simply don’t have the bandwidth to devote every Saturday to a booth. We hadn’t expected to “retire” from the farmer’s market cold turkey -- it’s always been a harbinger of joy for us. But in our need to simplify and downsize, ending our farmer’s market participation became the clear answer.
This change is made possible partly because we have other great avenues for selling our needle felt. We will continue to have a limited assortment at Darvill’s Bookshop in Eastsound. Our Etsy shop will continue, with an emphasis on the holidays. And we will expand our wooly offerings at the Farm Stand at Lum Farm, keeping Bossy product in stock year-round.
Of course so much more has happened, because even in a pandemic, life continues all of its “normal” ups and downs and rites of passage. We are eternally grateful for Bossy and the friendship that has kept us strong for 15 years. We have definitely leaned on each other during these times. We hope that you also have had good friends (and crafting) to help you weather this storm. May you also be seeing the pinpricks of light at the end of the tunnel!
Sending lots of wooly love,
Amy, Kari and Mandy