To say this year hasn’t gone as expected is a bit of an understatement.
I began 2019 thinking I knew how my year was going to pan out. I had some plans for Outlaw which I was excited about. New yarns and loads of new colours! Plus a birthday party to plan. Five years feels like big milestone to reach. Most small businesses don’t make it that far.
Bandit arrived early and I was happy to be showing off my new brand, and we’d just had our first major yarn event for the year which is always fun. It’s great to catch up with people when you haven’t seen them for a few months. I was looking forward to the weather getting colder and working on things as per usual.
Then on 15 March the terrorist attack happened in Christchurch.
I still don’t have enough words/any words/the right words to be able to speak about something so horrifying.
The truth is that it stopped me in my tracks completely. In life and in business. For the first time since I started Outlaw I didn’t have a plan to go forward and for the first time I didn’t know if I wanted to. I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I didn’t know if there was a reason to keep going. I was already struggling with the issues of consumerism and how to balance the need to make money to pay the bills, against my views on sustainability. Have we turned crafting into fast fashion? Have I lost sight of all the reasons we started Outlaw in the first place?
I thought about closing Outlaw down. I thought about how I was too tired, too sick, too heartbroken to carry on, and it felt like everywhere I looked in the community I saw the same thing. I have spent the last few weeks going around in circles, trying to decide what to do next.
Whenever I make a decision about Outlaw, I try to ask myself, “who benefits from this?”. If the answer is only me, then it’s the wrong answer. It’s never been just about making money.
Last week I finally realised that turning my back and closing Outlaw serves no one. That serving people is the reason Outlaw exists, and the best way to do that is to level up.
Our community has faced so much sorrow in the last few years. We need to hold on to the things that bring us some comfort and joy. I can’t fix the world, but I can try to create a space in it for people to come together and heal.
So, I am creating actual physical space for my community here in Christchurch. A place to come together, and learn and teach, and yes, to shop. (Because the shopping part will put the roof over our heads, and keep the lights on). This decision is not about building an empire, it’s about building a community. This is my way to give back to the people that welcomed me here when I knew no one, and offered me their friendship and support. In the last 6 years we have laughed together and cried together, sharing our joy and our sorrow and I am grateful for them every day.
I posted a song by Dave Dobbyn in my Ravelry group a month ago. It seems especially fitting today.
“Welcome home, see I made a space for you now,
Welcome home from the bottom of our hearts”.
Kia kaha Christchurch xxx