April 26, 2011

Goodbye from me...

The shop is now closed for handover, and due to re-open under Sarah's very capable stewardship next week. Thank you all so much for your support and friendship over the past five years.

This blog will cease to be; however I have started a new one, for my personal and knitting ramblings. (I've also imported most of this blog's archives to the new place.) I'm also a keen though intermittent Twitterer (@woollythinker) and love Pinterest and of course Ravelry. Although I expect to be keeping a low profile online for a bit, as I revel in the novelty of not needing to be plugged in all the time! (I do honestly love social media – but a break is good too.)

Sarah is sure to be starting a new shop blog soon, so watch this space.

April 18, 2011

Introductions, and handover details

After Open House, the cat is now out of the bag – your new Purlescence hostess is Sarah Lewis (sarah1703 on Ravelry), and her lovely partner Jonathan.

I'm sure everyone who was able to meet her on Saturday will agree, Sarah is a warm and delightful person and fully capable of taking the Purlescence baton and running with it... as it were. She has solid business nous, as well as the all important knitting addict gene, and is well equipped to keep you all in cashmere. But you'll have a chance to judge for yourselves soon enough, since handover is nigh. In fact it's scheduled for end of this month.

The shop will be closed from Tuesday 27 April for final orders, stocktake etc, and should re-open around the end of the following week (watch the front page and/or Ravelry for more specific timing). The website will be the same, the stock will be the same, everything will be the same – although exciting new stuff is sure to follow.

Thanks to my always lovely guests for coming to welcome Sarah and Jonathan, and for another great afternoon.

PS I'm soooo sorry – I meant to take a photo and forgot!

April 13, 2011

I'm famous!

Well, hardly, but I feel famous because I've been interviewed! Thanks to Kate – Ravelry's greentrianglegirl – for my moment in the spotlight. (Her blog is lovely, by the way. I imagine the new podcast is just as good, only I'm a reader by nature, not a listener, so I haven't yet given it a whirl.)

There's a special offer in there too...

April 04, 2011

Greetings from the new owner

No, we're not unveiling the mystery woman just yet, but she does have something to say...

"Hello Robynn,

"I can’t tell you how excited we both are at the prospect of taking over Purlescence. Having been a loyal customer for a number of years I’m confident we’re in a good position to build on what you’ve done so far.

"We’ve spent a lot of time together over the past couple of months, and I think we can safely say that we have very similar taste in products and share an understanding of the importance of excellent customer service.

"Of course we have our own plans for moving Purlescence forward, but have no immediate plans to change the basics, and will do our very best to ensure that we continue the providing the products and service which your customers have come to expect.

"We have lots of ideas for exciting new products to add to the Purlescence store in the coming months, and are always keen to hear more.

"Oh – and we’re looking forward to coming along to the open day on the 16th April to say hello to everyone! We’ll start as we mean to go on and bring cake!!"

So there you go. I'm sure you'll agree that a woman who understands the importance of cake is the Right Sort. (Btw, by "we both" she refers to herself and her husband and business partner. Whom I've also met, and is also a jolly good chap.)

March 28, 2011

Open House + meet the new owner + sad news from Ed

Well now. You know I said the January Open House was the last ever? And you know how you all joked, that day, that there would be a “really really last ever” repeat performance – indeed, a series of repeats, as done by those permanent CLOSING SALE!!! shops?

You’re half right. This one definitely is the last ever. No, totally. Because handover is nigh; but new stuff has arrived meanwhile, so naturally you’ll want to fondle the spring order from Handmaiden, and these cute new pattern holders, and grab the last ever Jenkins circulars (see below)…

Oh and you might want to meet the new owner while you’re here? Maybe? If you’re at all curious?

Thought so.

It’s happening on Saturday 16 April, as always from 3pm till 6pm, and there will be cake . After January’s crazy mob I’ll do my very best to ensure there is LOTS of cake ! Please email (contact AT purlescence.co.uk) for address and phone details if you haven’t been before. Very much looking forward to seeing you all there, and making some vital introductions.

Now the "see below" part: sad news for fans of Ed’s perfectly smooth, beautifully pointy lace needles – in the face of steady cost increases and production difficulties, he’s decided to stop making them. We’ve just unpacked the last ever box of these beauties (not our last ever box from Jenkins, though, we will still be carrying his gorgeous crochet tools!) – that’s the last ones available anywhere in the world, as he stopped supplying anyone else some time ago. Better complete your collection while you can.

March 11, 2011

Why the handover is good news for you

A number of people have said to me, in various places, things like "How sad that you're selling, Purlescence won't be the same without you." Now, I do take this as a compliment. And indeed, in some ways, it is sad. I am sad to be letting go of my baby! I've been working on this shop for more than five years, building it up from nothing, plotting and dreaming over where to take it and how to make it better... It is, as you can imagine, a very personal venture and has a lot of my soul in it. So deciding to sell was hard. Plus, running the shop has kept me in touch with so many lovely people – my customers, my suppliers – who share my joy in knitting and in beautiful things, and while I'm not exactly going to abandon the internet, there's no doubt that my interactions with you all will be different, and probably (in most cases) far fewer.

But I am utterly, completely convinced that this change is a Good Thing (TM) not only for me personally, but for the business, and hence, for my customers. Here's why – the brutal honesty version.

One of the reasons I decided to sell up was that for the past couple of years, I just haven't been able to do justice to Purlescence. There are of course many amazing women who do a spectacular job of running a business while raising a baby, but for me, it's been hard. I've been able to keep things ticking over – purchases get sent out, queries get answered, stock gets ordered – but I felt that wasn't enough. The shop deserves to be thriving, not just surviving, and for that, I needed much more time and energy than my gorgeous baby allowed me. The baby factor meant that I didn't have the concentrated time and mental clarity to plan properly, to promote new products, even to deliver great customer service – in most cases I think I did okay, but every time a difficult baby day prevented me from getting to the post office, well, that was a problem. And while I wasn't able to put my full energy into the shop, I didn't stop dreaming about what I felt Purlescence should be. The discrepancy between those dreams, and the just-good-enough reality, was intensely frustrating.

So when I put Purlescence on the market, I said I was looking for "Someone with a passion like my own for knitting, for handmade goods and customer service, and with the time and energy to build on what I’ve started, and make it even better" – and I meant it. I wasn't at all sure I'd get it, of course. But you know what? I do believe that's exactly what I did get.

The thing is, I don't have to say that. I have no vested interest in puffing up the new owner to you. We have a deal, and once handover is concluded, it's out of my hands (sniff!). If I weren't sure she was going to do a good job, I guess I would be a lot more restrained in my comments. But I have every reason to believe that she will do brilliantly. I've seen evidence of energy and passion in abundance, plus a very solid business mind and customer service ethic. And she just plain gets it.

So when I look ahead a year or so, I think I'm going to be sad, oh yes. I'm going to be gnashing my teeth and tearing my hair. Because Purlescence is going to be going from strength to strength, without me, growing in ways that I'd hoped for and ways I couldn't have imagined on my own, and my ego will be taking a huge bruising.

But that's the kind of sadness that'll make me very happy.

February 24, 2011

The news you've all been waiting for

I’m thrilled to let you all know that Purlescence is now sold, subject to contract.

The wheels of bureaucracy grind slow, so handover won’t happen till at least April. It’s a bit premature to actually introduce the new owner just yet, but proper introductions will be made in due course. For now, I’ll just say that I am really very pleased with the buyer. In our discussions so far I’ve been impressed with her professionalism, her passion and her commitment to customer service… plus, we seem to share a certain aesthetic sensibility. And I just plain like her. I believe I will be leaving you (and my baby) in very good hands and am looking forward to becoming a loyal customer.

Meanwhile, we will be working very closely to ensure a smooth transition. Stay tuned for further news!