It's time to say farewell ...
Ten years ago this October, I arrived back in New Zealand with a plan. I planned to start dyeing yarn, with the goal to use the funds generated to open a yarn shop.
At that time, our local options were limited. The number of indie dyers were few, and i’d frequently walk in to my then LYS and back out again empty handed. Being in the UK and travelling Europe opened my eyes to what a yarn shop could be. I was determined to build in their mould, a place centred around people and the yarns crafters would delight in.
Fun times in Petone
Even then, I knew this wouldn’t be my forever job. I didn’t have an exit plan, aside from ‘well if it doesn’t work i’ll sell everything’. I had very little to lose except time. When I started I didn’t really think that much about making money, except needing to pay myself enough to cover rent and food. My growth plan was to push everything as far as I could without borrowing much and in turn increasing the risk level.
The last few years I have often thought about what’s next. I’ve gone from a shop with barely any stock to shelves packed full. From it being just me and the support of friends and family to a number of staff.
Our first Grand Arcade Store window
Every time I mulled over closing up, I kept getting stuck on one single point: what about the customers? Where will they go for company, yarn fumes and care? I feel a responsibility to everyone who feels at home at Holland Road Yarn Co, those of you who have shared your difficulties and joys with us. It’s an enormous privilege and I have a duty of care.
This year I have been thinking about closing more often than not. Particularly with all the discussions around anti-racism and diversity in the knitting community, it’s really struck me that I have more I want to offer the world. As I hear arguments that we aren’t doing enough to take care of marginalised groups in our community, I agree absolutely. It’s time for things to change.
So I’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to change. I have skills that can be used for deeper and more meaningful change than I could ever hope to achieve through supplying you with yarn. It no longer sits comfortably with me to encourage consumerism in a world that is in climate crisis, where we should be making do with what we have, being more thoughtful in our buying, and considering the impact our lifestyles have on the world.
It also comes down to some pretty hard facts: running a retail business means I never get time off. It demands being constantly available on social media, working every single day, and always having to-do lists running through my head. The impact it has had on my relationships and my mental health has been severe.
Packing in to Lyall Bay with Elliott
So, what's next?
Business as usual for the moment! Come and see me at Knit August Nights this weekend if you're coming, I can't wait to see you!
I will be finishing up dyeing Knitsch, unless the mood to throw colour around strikes me. If you want some - get it while you can.
Once i'm back from KAN and had some recovery time, we will start up with some sales. Before that, you can let us know if you have any special requests, particularly for Brooklyn Tweed and Cascade. The last orders for those will be sent off on 4 September, so get in touch if they are on your to-knit list.
The plan is to be all finished up on 13 October. I will continue on with some yarn online, namely Scheepjes, Lopi and Quince & Co. So HRYC will still be around, just a bit smaller and less visible.
I want to thank each and every one of the people who has walked through the shop door, either in-person or online since 2011. You have enriched my life in ways I can't even begin to communicate, and I won't ever forget it.
PS Craft Camp and Knitters Dinners will continue! Because we still need to hang out <3