Well, Butler County has moved into the Yellow Phase of the state's plan for "reopening". We're thankful that we can re-open for in-person sales, but there are still quite a few restrictions and we're still to stay home as much as possible. I know there are good reasons for all the new protocols, but I still struggle every day with how to operate under the required guidelines.
I've been doing what I can to stay positive, but I'll be honest, it's exhausting - and I have some really grumpy days. But that doesn't mean that I think we should rush into reopening things, I'm ok with the steps and stages we're implementing. What I find exhausting is the work involved in running a physical shop on virtual platforms, and trying to integrate the two, as things are constantly changing.
When Darn Yarn opened, I knew online shopping and social media would be important, but I also saw the value in a physical location. For one thing, the fiber arts are very tactile, it's helpful to have a place where you can touch and see the yarns for yourself. Having a place to meet and talk about your fiber projects with others who share your interest is also a big part of what makes any yarn shop a stitcher's oasis.
So, being forced to come to a complete halt, close our doors, and completely change how we do business - while the entire rest of the world was trying to do the same - is tiring. To say the least.
Some of the tasks that are filling my days now, would have always needed doing, even when the shop was only a brick and mortar business with regular hours - checking emails, sorting the mail, paying bills, those sorts of things. But now we add uploading photos and listing items online; posting updates on all the sites; keeping up with which suppliers are shipping, which aren't, and which have changed lead times/offerings; redoing everything (schedules, posts, website info) if there's a sudden change; hosting zoom meetings...
It can feel like an awful lot of busy doing nothing...
So, what does busy doing nothing look like?
Did you notice we've created an online store? It's true. Now that we're in the shop regularly again, we're adding things to it every (business) day. This is incredibly time consuming, as you can probably imagine. Each item needs all it's info entered, including photos and inventory levels. But we keep on trudging through it and will continue to maintain the website for the foreseeable future.
So far we've got all of the periodicals and serial publications listed, a number of the small weaving looms, and quite a few yarns. We're trying to decide if we should list the needles and hooks - it seems simple enough, but figuring out the logistics of it is dizzying. There are just so many factors - brands, size, style, length...
We also cleaned up the website a tad by adding the patterns we offer to the online store. Even though many of them are free, it simplified things by eliminating an additional website page. So yes, the $0 price for most of them is correct!
Our groups and CAL/KALs will be virtual until we move into the Green Phase. I'm just not comfortable hosting them at the shop yet, since it's really hard to help each other from the distance of 6 feet! The way I see it, if we can't yet sit in restaurants, or close enough to get our hair or nails done, than we probably shouldn't be sitting close enough to see each others stitches.
So that means I've been busy hosting Zoom meetings twice a week too. Unlike physical groups, where I could get up and walk away to handle shop related tasks, virtual meetings tie me to the computer. I'm not complaining about the groups, just stating that it's changed how that time is used, it limits my ability to multitask, which adds to my feeling of being busy doing nothing.
So that's where we are - we're all busy doing nothing for the foreseeable future. And most days, that's ok.
If you need to find your next project or restock your stash, we're here Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am - 4 pm. (Wear a mask, stay 6' from others, only 5 in the shop at a time, wash your hands.) We're still offering pick-up orders too. So you're always welcome to call us with your order. And of course, you can always order from our online store.
Keep on stichin' and stay safe out there.