Lorajean and I just spoke at the Puddletown Knitter’s Guild about our fibery friendship and collaboration, AND I just released two different shawls as collaborations with other dyers in this uber-talented community, so I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration and how important it is to me and to the businesses I’ve had.
There are some folks who do their best work on their own. Folks who are solopreneuers, who build something all by their lonesomes and run their biz as a one-person show. That’s never been my ideal, because I love working with others. Especially other kick-ass women.
When Twisted, my old yarn shop, was in its infancy, it was the knit-child of two women, working together, inspiring each other and playing off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to create something really amazing. We built a pretty special little yarn shop by working as a team, and I’m super proud of that.
After I left Twisted and began to focus on my design career, I loved being accountable to no one but myself, and having the total freedom to be there for my kiddos and become more involved in their school community was just awesome. But I sure missed the collaboration that was at the heart of my partnership at Twisted. There was this person-sized hole, and, with designing, I wasn’t sure I’d find a way to fill it.
Then I started working more closely with Lorajean, first by accompanying her to trade shows, and helping out in the booth and designing items to showcase to yarn shops. That was fun, and the more time LJ and I spent together, the more time we wanted to spend together, and the more ideas we came up with that were built to underscore how well we fit together.
You see, LJ and I had always been friends. We both started our first businesses at the same time (2007). She was one of the first indie dyers we carried at Twisted, and, as we got to know each other better, we got to liking each other more. Our personalities are a natural fit: we both like so many of the same things (hello, unicorns and rainbows!), but we also have lots of complementary personality traits and strengths. We started working more and more closely with one another, and our businesses became more and more intertwined. And here we are: now, we collaborate on so many things, and have each other to bounce business ideas off of, and it’s so so good. We also collaborate with others, because, although we love each other to bits and pieces, we also love the community we are in, and both believe strongly in a rising-tide-lifting-all-boats way to do business. By working with others, and broadening our reaches, we feel like we can help ensure that our businesses are sustainable, AND do our part to contribute to the sustainability of the industry as a whole. Isn’t that what we all want? For this thing we all love to keep going and going and going, just like the Energizer Bunny? And for all of the fun to be had, and all of the friendships to form, and all of the amazing things to come out of amazing collaborations between and among amazing people.