Happy New Year folks! I’ve spent the last couple of weeks planning out what I want to achieve with The Haberdasher Bee this year and so I thought this was a good way of laying things out. Lots of people make resolutions this time of year, but I try to set myself goals instead – I feel like they’re somehow more realistic than a resolution, and are certainly more flexible.
Sewing and crochet pattern releases
You may have seen me mention in one or two blog and Instagram posts that I’m currently undertaking a course in pattern cutting. Alongside this, I’m also teaching myself to design my own crochet patterns. The goal here is to begin releasing my own patterns for sewists and crocheters, and this will be done as Stonewear Patterns. Stonewear will be a brand of The Haberdasher Bee and – initially at least – you’ll only be able to purchase patterns directly from my haberdashery shop.
These will all be PDF patterns, though I may do printed patterns or copy shop options in future. I haven’t got it set up yet, but there will be a dedicated website for Stonewear Patterns where you can learn more about adjusting them to fit your body, or the person you’re making them for. I’m aiming to make my patterns as inclusive as I can – so while no design will fit every single body type or shape straight off the page, you’ll have all the information you’ll need to tailor the patterns to the person you’re making for (including how to work out what alterations you need to make in the first place).
So, why Stonewear? Well, I find that a lot of patterns – both sewing and crochet – just don’t fit with what I like to wear or make, and I know I can’t be the only person who feels this way. So Stonewear is literally what I’d like to wear (Stone is my surname, after all), plus I liked the play on words with stoneware pottery; it’s generally seen as both a practical, everyday type of pottery and something which is a little more classy than a mug from Ikea. That’s the sort of patterns I want to create – practical and wearable everyday, yet with a touch of class and elegance to them.
I’m generally a trousers and top person, so while there will be one or two dresses, skirts or blouses released, you can be sure there’ll also be plenty of comfortable, everyday clothes too – t-shirts, knit jackets, trousers, that kind of thing. My goal is to design as many of my sewing patterns as possible to be minimal waste patterns – and I’ll be trying to design my crochet patterns so that you have the least amount of yarn leftover as possible too.
I’m not going for full zero waste design, simply because I don’t think it’s achievable for all the ideas I have and so minimal waste is a goal I feel I can reach. If you aren’t sure what minimal waste patterns are, they aim to produce the least amount of waste material, with all the waste in useable shapes and sizes, so you have scraps that you can easily turn into something else.
If you want to be the first to know when things get going with my pattern designs, go follow the Stonewear Patterns Instagram account, as I’ll start posting things on there specifically about the patterns I’m designing and releasing. I’ll be in need of pattern testers for both sewing and crochet soon enough and I’ll be putting call outs up on Instagram as well as in my newsletter (more on that below), so they’re the best places to keep in the loop if you’re interested in trying out my patterns before anyone else.
Being present at crafting shows
I visited the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate for the first time in November with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and was, frankly, horrified at the sheer amount of plastic present. The stuff was everywhere – from entire stalls containing plastic packaged products, to having to tell more than one seller multiple times that we didn’t want or need a plastic bag. I initially came home feeling a little deflated by it, but the next day I drew up a plan for exhibiting in November 2022.
I’m therefore working towards having my own stall at the Knitting and Stitching Show this year (it will likely be just Harrogate at this stage, though it depends on how much it is to go to the London show too). As part of that, I have a list of products that I want to stock by the time the show comes around, so that there’s no real excuse to go and buy the plastic covered versions. I will also ensure that those who can’t make it to the show don’t miss out on any offers I decide to run by also running them online.
As a result of this plan, be prepared for lots of new items to pop up in the shop over the coming year – making it easier for everyone to be more sustainable in your crafting is the core principal of this business, and I’m aware that currently my stock range is a little limited.
New product releases
As mentioned above, I’ve got a LOT of new products planned for this year – both own brand ones and items sourced from other manufacturers. I’ll be staggering these throughout the year to keep it manageable, but they’re a nice mix of things for sewing, pattern drafting, knitting and crocheting. As it stands, I’m planning on releasing three new products this month (you may see sneaky previews on Instagram), and I have several products that are already designed and are just waiting to be manufactured.
I’m also aiming to gradually increase the volume of some stock items that I already have – such as my range of scissors – so that they don’t go out of stock as quickly.
Move into a proper business space
I’d love to move the business into a proper, commercial office space this year. It would mean I can offer local collection for those crafters who are in the Manchester area, plus it would give me more space and better organisation for all of my stock – at present, the business is squished into a small room in my house and it’s just not ideal for trying to store or access stock easily.
The reality, though, is that until the business gets properly off the ground, it’s going to be difficult for me to do this. Working from home may be cramped, but the space is free and it doesn’t cost me any extra in utility bills either. So while I’d love to get a commercial space for The Haberdasher Bee this year, I really need to ensure the business has a self-sustaining income that can support the additional costs that a commercial address would require.
It’s still something to work towards though – if you don’t reach for the moon, you’ll never get to the stars!
Making 2022 greener for everyone
Lastly, I’ll be producing lots of content aimed at helping you to be more sustainable while you craft. Lots of people want to live more sustainably but feel intimidated by the idea and just don’t know where to start, so I’m working on producing more blogs and videos with tips about how to make your crafting more sustainable. It’s not as daunting as you may think and just requires a slight alteration in your shopping and making habits to set you on your way. Once you get going, you’ll soon be looking at more ways to make your whole life more sustainable – but like anything else, it’s getting started which is the hardest part.
As part of this, I’m starting a newsletter chock full of sustainability tips, news about new pattern or product releases, as well as important info about what’s happening here at The Haberdasher Bee. I absolutely detest spammy newsletters, so this will be carefully curated and released once a month – no more, no less. I will be posting some of this on The Haberdasher Bee’s Instagram page, but the newsletter will enable me to present all related and relevant content in one place for you. You can sign up for this below!
The newsletter means that I can move away from Instagram being my main method of marketing and engaging with other crafters. I’m not a fan of “the Metaverse” and the damage it does to our mental health and social anxieties, therefore the less I have to worry about Instagram, the better – plus as I’m strictly limiting the newsletter to be once a month, I’ll have more time to plan and curate the content that I’ll be including.
"That's all, folks!"
So those are my goals for The Haberdasher Bee in 2022.
I might not be able to reach all of them, or I may surprise myself and go far beyond what I anticipated I could do this year – who knows! But what I like about goals rather than resolutions (as I said at the start) is that they can be flexible. You can’t hope to predict everything that’ll happen in any given timeframe – some other things may crop up which are more pressing or a better fit for the business than I had thought – but you can adapt your plans to fit around and include these things too.