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All our Hard Work is Paying Off!

Wall of woven art and weaving looms and tools

You have heard it before. Small businesses are struggling to deal with the new normal are looking for new ways to adapt in these trying times.

So here is my take on it.

It has taken me months to adapt to the effects of the Coronavirus and the disruption to my business. With 95% of my business originating from our popular in-studio weaving workshops and weaving experiences, The Oxford Weaving Studio needed to find ways to adapt or become redundant in these trying times.

Now I wish I could have said that I did so quickly, but with home-schooling and managing a household of 5 (my mother-in-law was in lockdown with us) and my studio space locked down, I was struggling for space (both literal and figurative).

So I did the best that I could. I dragged as much stuff as I could into 3 car-loads (big looms, little looms, ALOT of my yarn, tools and notes) and set up in a room at home. Now in fairness, this room isn’t that small. But when you’ve become accustomed to a nice space and have everything to hand, working in a small, overloaded space is not great for creativity. But I managed, as this was where I escaped from the craziness of the real world.

And so I taught myself macrame techniques, experimented on a new loom I had wanted to try for 2 years to create new work, learned how to film and edit videos of me weaving and teaching and re-kindled my love of yarn dyeing as I finally prioritised creativity over running a business. I like to think this intense period was actually a return to who I am as a designer, so I reflect on this time fondly (and quickly forget the days where a G&T might have solved most problems).

Now this doesn’t feel like much, but most of this happened in a 6-week period of isolation. The rest of the time was spent sticking my head in the sand about how to react. But thankfully I am not really one to dwell on the negative stuff. In truth, I quite like a challenge. So in between the home stuff and the creative stuff, I did find time for the business stuff. Which brings us to where I am now.

This Saturday I am finally shouting out about the culmination of all the soul-searching during lockdown and the hard work through the summer months where I moved my studio from home, started again and learned how to adapt my business.

Thankfully the message hasn’t changed. I am still really passionate about weaving and helping others to learn too. So all the changes I’ve put in place in the studio and online are about helping others to access the tools they need to learn. From kits with clearer instructions (working on that one), weaving videos (more in progress), looms, tools and yarns that are easier to purchase and actually in stock, new dates for in-studio workshops and a whole host of new products in the pipeline, I feel like I have finally gotten back on track.

Although I still have a long way to go, I am celebrating this weekend with the launch of my new Saturday Shop, as I am now opening my doors to the public every Saturday from 12-5pm. This new retail experience will also be following online as I update my website weekly with the new products and try to clarify my message (a website re-design is also actually in progress, but these things take time!).

So if you’re into celebrating, please join me in the studio this Saturday (at a safe distance, with masks on and a glass of prosecco) or online at 2pm via Instagram Live (@oxfordweavingstudio) to clink glasses. I think this is a fitting victory for another small business and a story I hope to keep re-writing.

Cass

PS. If you want to come along on Saturday, book your visit here. Can't wait to see you!

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