This Kickstarter campaign is for yarn-lovers, artists, and dreamers alike! As you probably know, either from personal experience, or from popular wisdom, starting a business is a risky proposition. When you quit your job and hand in that steady paycheck for the chance at living the dream, you had better be ready to fall flat on your face. I know, because I've spent most of my life either running my own small businesses (working as a barista or a waitress to stay afloat), or working for other small-business owners (everything from wooden cutting-board makers to scientific glassblowers). It is a big risk, and you trade security for freedom (and a whole lot of work).
When I quit my job to start Round Mountain Fibers 2 years ago, I decided that this was my last hurrah. If this business didn't work, I'd get a real job, and never look back. I took everything I learned in the industry (for more on that, read this interview.), and everything I learned from years of self-employment and working for small-business owners, and applied it to my new business plan. And it worked! All those years of just breaking even, all those years of working on behalf of other small business owners, finally paid off! I broke even. I started to make a profit. And I made a name for myself and my brand.
Round Mountain Fibers is a boutique wholesale fiber-arts studio, limiting its offerings to 75 LYSs (Local Yarn Shops) across the country. This ensures that I can focus on the things I love (designing and dyeing yarn), and it gives my customers access to an exclusive product, one which is only available through their shops. This exclusivity has served me well, and I believe it is a big part of why my business has been so successful. In addition, I offer limited edition colors through a monthly club subscription, where my stores commit to purchasing a fixed number of skeins in the exclusive club colorways each month. Club has been a huge success. It allows me to play with new colors, and ensures a steady source of income in addition to regular wholesale orders for my fixed collection colors. It gives my customers a new and exciting product to feature each month, and it gives their customers access to exclusive, and coveted limited-edition colorways.
Round Mountain Fibers consists of myself, one full time employee, and a summer intern. This setup works really well for us, and by capping the number of stores we sell to, we probably won't have to increase our workforce (as we are constantly making improvements in our process in order to increase efficiency). Our new studio will allow us to do our job with greater ease and increased efficiency.
Currently, we work out of a 16' by 22' studio which we converted out of our one-car garage. It is a beautiful space we renovated ourselves (my partner has 30 years of experience as a carpenter, and we both know our way around basic basic wiring and plumbing). It has served us well, but we have outgrown that space, and are constantly going in and out to our rented shipping container which we affectionately call the Annex. Also, we have to haul water to the studio, as it doesn't have running water. This is especially challenging in the winter, since we are liable to have sub-freezing temperatures for 3 months out of the year.
It is our goal to move our studio into our walk-out basement, a space 3 times the size of our current studio, with running water! Your contribution will give us the funds we need to renovate this new space. Renovations will include:
- Running a new power feed, and wiring the space with grounded plugs and plenty of energy-efficient lighting.
- Pouring a concrete floor with energy-efficient radiant heat.
- Replacing the 1950s era garage door and single-pane windows with a double pane energy-efficient glass roll-up door and new double pane windows, to allow plenty of natural light to enter the space.
- Installing a large commercial sink.
By contributing to our campaign, you are not only helping a small woman-owned-and-operated business in Vermont to thrive, you are contributing over 75 other small businesses: From the farmers here in the US who grow the Merino wool for our base, to the small, family-owned mill in Pennsylvania that spins our yarn, to the 75 Local Yarn Shops across the country that sell our yarn, to the garment designers and crafts-people who use our yarn in their products!
What's in it for you? A delicious 100% US grown Merino yarn in bouncy fingering weight, hand-dyed by us in an exclusive limited-edition colorway especially designed for this Kickstarter campaign!
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge is getting the funding together so that we can complete the project in time during our relatively short building season. I am confident in our ability to renovate the space as the renovation of our current studio went off without a hitch, and was a bit more complicated than this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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