Shockingly, Princess Animal is an entire year old. So let’s look back and see what We’ve learned:
1) If you got it, flaunt in. Sure, I thought I was going to open Princess Animal significantly later than i did. But opportunity presented itself, I had the yarn, & I was shockingly able to create the business and start selling within two weeks. Two very painful weeks, but as is apparently true of the pain of childbirth, you totally forget that pain once your wooly child comes into the world.
2) Flooding sucks. So, about a month after I opened, a pipe burst right smack dab above the Princess Animal book table. Destroyed pretty much every book I had in the store. Thought I was finished. Dunzo. Finito Mussolini. I cried. Then, like a ballet dancer in a 1970′s feel-good dance movie, I picked myself right up, used the learnings I had from the first month (and the insurance money) and bought better books. So there, BITCH GODDESS OF FLOODING.
3) E-coli sucks. Enjoyed this pretty little stomach virus about a month and a half into the business. Don’t worry, everything came out okay.
4) Knitting really is sexy. As evidenced by the cracked-out homeless guy who came in to jack off to the knitting books, because he liked “books with pictures of girls in them,” and then asked me if I had any of them Victoria’s Secret catalogues. He was politely booted out.
5) Craft is strong. It’s been incredible to tap into the SF (and elsewhere) craft community, and to see the little Princess Animal community grow from a wee circle to an army of millions. Okay, not millions. Almost hundreds.
6) Gettin’ all hand-dyed with it. I love bringing more and more hand-dyed local indie yarn labels in, and the People love it too! This is going to continue to be part of the Princess Animal Awesomeness Factor.
7) Cash registers are scary. When I started P.A., I never touched one before. It terrified me. Now I’m pretty good with it. See? You can teach an old dog new tricks.
8) Still love knitting. And much better at it. One of my fears is that though making it my work, I was going to loathe knitting. No. If anything, Princess Animal made me love it more. It’s an amazing stress reducer and boredom reducer. And my skills have skyrocketed. Now it’s an addiction. But listen, it’s way better than heroin, or eating chalk.
9) I still love cable. Given my extremely altered lifestyle (I jumped from corporate creative director to the lucrative world of crafting), one would think I would give up my TV habit and sit in my hovel eating dry ramen. No. I can’t give up cable. Must knit…to…cable. Give me liberty or give me death. Just don’t give me life without Weeds.
10) It’s good to be the Princess. Many, many people have come up to me and said “Wow, you’re my hero! You gave up your lucrative job to service the community with your rock ‘n roll craft store.” Now, I don’t use the word “hero” lightly, but apparently these people do. This was invariably said on a day when sales were low, my mood was low, and I was not looking forward to paying rent. Let me tell y’all here and now, running your own craft shop is hard, and I have yet to seal away all my earnings in my solid-gold safe. In fact, I’ve failed to even pay myself yet. So, hero? Um, no. Dumb-ass who decided to give up a good paying job for what’s essentially a hobby? Yes. But…I wouldn’t trade it for the world (though if some lovely benefactor wants to drop dinero on me with no stipulation, go for it!). In general, I’m much happier, though there have been low blue rough days. But it’s so cool to see people come back, a lot, because they like the stuff they bought the last time, and the time before that. And to have people say how much they appreciate that Princess Animal is around. And to meet new friends and new crafters (who often have become friends), and to develop an even deeper, nerdier appreciation of this world we call craft, and to understand why hand-crafting is an ever-more important part of people’s lives. That’s a subject I could go on and on about, and likely will.
But for now, dear friends, stay the course & keep on crafting. And come to the party on Saturday. It’ll be off the hook, and the needle.
Next up: the low-down on our upcoming classes, including our transforming pics into stitches embroidery class with Rebecca Rindquist in October. And, yup, a visit with the doyenne of DIY, Debbie Stoller. That’s happening in early November, & there’s gonna be a class, and you’ll want to be there.