Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely time over the festive period and managed to relax and spend time with loved ones.
I have a lot to talk about so here is the breakdown if you want to skip ahead:
We have been in our new shop space for nearly six months now and are changing things up slightly so that we can be more accessible to our customers when you need us.
We will now be open with core hours every day that do not require an appointment slot – no need to book, just turn up, ring the buzzer and we will let you in!
And we will now be open slightly earlier and later in the day, but these slots will require a pre-booked appointment. We will review this after a few months and if these different timings work better for customers, then we can amend our core hours to include them.
We will be holding an open day on the first Saturday of every month, starting with Saturday 8th January. You can expect special offers and events, lots of fabric, talks from experts and the odd workshop or demonstration.
Community is a big part of why I started the business in the first place, so these monthly events are a chance to really build on the wonderfully creative bunch that we have in Bristol, learn more about fabric and sewing and meet new friends!
We have changed our Thursday Night Sewing Club to run fortnightly, rather than weekly. We have also changed the way you can book it, so it is now found under our Workshops tab on the website.
We will be running our beginners sewing workshops and 121 lessons and we will also be holding at least one in depth workshop per month that will be focused on skills building. In January we have a bodice and sleeve fitting workshop and in February, we are focusing on creating perfectly fitting trouser blocks.
I think we all expected 2021 to be a bigger, brighter year, after spending most of 2020 home alone and in a state of panic but I personally found 2021 to be much harder from a business perspective. We remained closed until Mid April and then when we opened our doors to the public again, there was so much uncertainty that did not allow for any kind of planning. Despite being able to open the shop though, we were still unable to run workshops for quite a while, meaning that we lost that revenue stream.
As the pandemic dragged on and on indefinitely, it really took a toll on people’s mental health. And the constant stream of bad news around the economy and fuel prices etc has done little to get people spending their hard earned cash.
Due to a big decline in sales, there have been times over the past six months when I wondered if the business would make it into the New Year. It was very hard not to take that personally, but having spoken to lots of other small business owners, I know that this is something that is affecting people across the board.
That being said, we are determined to start the year strong and really try and make a go of things. Sewing is such a wonderful and uplifting hobby and there’s nothing more cheering than pairing up the perfect fabric and pattern and creating an outfit to make you look and feel good.
I am very proud of how I have adapted to make the best of the uncertainty we have been faced with over the past couple of years. As we were unable to run many in-person events, I took to zoom to run virtual shopping sessions and online parties. We also moved to our new premises, which gives me more flexibility with how I run the business.
But we still need your support – we need you to come to events, both in store and online, we need you to tell all your friends about us and keep shouting the message that we should be supporting small local businesses!