It can be quite tough being a small business. I'm not looking for sympathy, I love what I do, but when you run your own small business, the learning curve is enormous. In the last two years, I have taught myself basic accounting, developed an order and accounts management system, plodded my way through my tax returns, set up a database, learnt a new illustration programme to chart my patterns, set up two on-line shops and improved my photography and editing skills. All that plus trying to get a handle on a number of ever changing social media platforms. Oh, and the small matter of actually making things. I now pin, tweet, blog, post on Instagram and do battle with Facebook on a regular basis, all in an effort to get seen. I have come to the conclusion that getting seen is the holy grail for small businesses. How very easy it is to vanish into the ether, hours of hard work creating things of beauty that then languish away in some kind of internet understairs cupboard gathering dust. So I am going to be trying in my own little way to hopefully help some of the small businesses I know and love be seen by others. Welcome to my Small Business Saturday Shout Out. Every Saturday (or as many of them as I can), I will do a short review of one of my own personal favourite small businesses. Why not check them out for yourself? Go over to their pages, have a nose, immerse yourself in the loveliness. The creativity hiding away in this country is astonishing and deserves to be celebrated.
So for my very first review post, I would like to introduce you to Dye Candy.
Dye Candy is an Indie yarn dying business run by the hilarious and slightly irreverent Lindsay Hutchinson. I will post all of the links to her various pages at the bottom of this post. Before I go any further though, I do need to declare an interest - as some of you may know, for the last year I have been lucky enough to design monthly patterns for Hutch. Dye Candy have a number of monthly yarn clubs - you pay a subscription and receive a surprise box of yarn, and other goodies through your door once a month. Your postman will swiftly become your new best friend. One of these clubs is called the Candygram. Lindsay will choose a theme for the month and everything in your lovely squishy box will be based on that theme. Previous themes have included horror, the Amazon, Easter, summer and birthday celebrations - they have resulted in (amongst other things) the Aftermath and Club Tropicana patterns, patterns for waterlily coasters, Easter gift eggs and birthday cakes.
Club Tropicana summer cowl in hand dyed neon merino yarn
The Candygram is not the only club Hutch runs. Currently she also has a One Of A Kind and a Sock club and does frequent retro and kitsch boxes - 80's and 90's, My Little Ponies and Disney Princesses for example. Hutch's yarn is always colourful. She has a distinctive palette and style of combining colour which, in my opinion, makes her yarn instantly recognisable. She also has an excellent inherent understanding of how to balance the colour on the yarn. Both of the yarns in the Aftermath and Club Tropicana photos were dyed by her specifically for these projects after we had discussed ideas for the pattern; both turned out exactly as I had envisaged. When a yarn and pattern work together in harmony, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts (and generally result in me doing a little jig of joy around my living room!). On a personal level, I also completely love the creative challenge of being hit with a totally different theme each month and hope our collaboration will continue for a long while yet.
The Aftermath Shawl in a graduated hand dyed merino yarn, in the 'Lava' Colourway
So yes, quite obviously in this instance I am biased. But there is no denying that Lindsay's yarns make a statement. They are sometimes outrageous, sometimes a little bonkers and always fabulous. I am proud to own quite a heap of it.
Camel stitch Christmas tree in the colourway 'The Iron Lady'
You can find Dye Candy in the following places: