When I quit my “grown-up” job last fall, the intention was to begin work right away on my business plan for my new dream: a mini woollen mill. Now, you might not understand what I mean by “woollen mill” or maybe it’s just the “mini” part that you’re unclear on, so I thought I’d explain a bit more about that.
You see, I have some wonderful amazing (because neither of those adjectives does them justice on their own) friends who live in Belfast, PE. They manufacture fibre processing equipment and ship it all over the world. Yeah, like ALL OVER. As of this writing, their products sit in 190 different mills in 30+ different countries. There’s a waiting list for new equipment.
Their products are in such high demand not because they have reinvented the wheel (fibre processing hasn’t changed in any major way since it was first mechanized) but because they’ve made it smaller. Much smaller. Like double-car garage smaller. And it’s all electronically controlled, so speeds and tensions can be easily adjusted. And they did this in order to make fibre milling an attainable, sustainable option for small remote rural communities. Communities like North Ronaldsay. Pretty cool, right?
Well, here on PEI, we have a pretty healthy fibre animal population (and growing, I hope) and we could use some more diversity, industry-wise. So, that, combined with a lot of other motivations, led me to consider this as a viable new business opportunity. I’m a pretty ambitious person, so while this little miniature business of mine will keep me busy for a while, I’ll be looking for a bigger challenge in a few years. I got a part-time job working in the mill store over at Belfast Mini Mills last summer (and again this summer) and have been learning as much about the process as possible ever since.
Which leads me to my current state. Though I’ve been mulling over the process, I didn’t actually start that business plan last autumn. Whoops. Well, what can I say? It’s a difficult process and it’s a huge investment (time-wise AND money-wise), so I’m taking my time. But I’m happy to announce that I have started. I’m a walking-talking-market-research-machine. The thoughts zinging around in my noggin are dizzying. Not much of anything else going on at the moment, I’m afraid. Not even any knitting to show you: it’s all Holiday gift knitting, so it’s top secret. You’ll have to be satisfied with the photo above of paintings I completed a couple of weeks ago. They’re being framed as I’m typing this, so they’re not ready for the shop yet.
Wow, not very exciting, eh? I know. Sorry. I’ll do better.