Over the Christmas holidays we were chatting as a family about our move to Wales. We were trying to work out how long we'd been living here, and indulging in the usual family disputes about such basic trivia.
Final piece of evidence, perfect for halting a younger brother in his tracks, was the date I opened my Etsy Shop, 25th April 2011.
I then realised that meant Hilltop Cloud turns 5 this year.
5.... 5 whole years of doing this. I still can't quite wrap my head around it.
I started out with a vague idea, spent a chunk of money from my final pay check as a teacher, evolving ever since.
In some ways I feel very lucky to have got to this point. I get to do a job I love, and I make a decent living doing it. Then my inner feminist snaps in to place and tells me to not be so wishy-washy. I work hard, I've developed a lot of skill at what I do, and I'm good at running a business. This didn't all happen by accident!
I've been pretty privileged to have some awesome role models amongst the wool-world. Natalie Fergie from The Yarn Yard patiently answered so many of my questions, and encouraged me to find my own path. Since then I feel lucky that my virtual office is filled with some of the most talented, clever, inspirational business women around. It feels so very good to know that I can be part of a community that supports each other, and want each other to do well.
Since Christmas I've been planning various ways to celebrate. The biggest thing is the In5pire challenge running over on the Ravelry Group. I've always been a big cheerleader for using up fibre, and not letting it sit in stashes spoiling. Right from the beginning I've ben a fan of using images to help inspiration flow (I even teach classes on it now!), and this challenge combines both those elements.
It's unlikely that I'll ever get to meet all my customers, but in threads like this one it feels like we're getting to meet up. It's like a giant spinning guild meeting, or an online version of a spinning retreat. It's a giant party featuring all of our favourite crafts, and it lasts until June!
I also wanted to create something to commemorate the occasion, things that are useful items in their own right, but also beautiful and unique. So there's a very small number of 5th anniversary goodies available to buy if you'd like something to remind you that you've been part of something that's hopefully been about more than selling things.
You lovely people are part of this. Yes you buy things, but I hope our relationship is about more than that. When we all talk, online or at shows, we pass on knowledge, spark new ideas, and have fun.
I'll finish this post in the way I end the club letters.
With great joy and thankfulness,