At the beginning of each new year (decade?), I look back on the past year at what I accomplished or didn't accomplish, and think about what I might do in the coming year to improve and grow my business. Dunroamin Farm Design was born about 10 years ago. At the time I was making jewelry and hooking rugs. I did a couple of local craft fairs each year with my friend, sharing a table and enjoying one another's company. As my eyesight has gotten worse, I transitioned from jewelry making to creating felted wool accessories. For a couple of years I had an Etsy shop, but that never really did anything, so I let it go. Five years ago, I was accepted as a member of a cooperative gallery and gift shop near my home. The beginning was rough. I was barely selling enough to cover my monthly rent, but within a couple of years I learned to diversify my offerings and found the "sweet spot" for pricing in this market. My biggest sellers at Sawmill River Arts Gallery are my small-scale framed 2-dimensional needle felted landscapes, which have captivated customers from all over the country and even the world. I know that some of these have made their way as gifts to China and Afghanistan! I continue to introduce new images and reproduce the perennially popular ones. Even the repeat images are unique and individually felted by hand.
Last year I felt I was ready to grow my business with small group workshops, and for that, I rented two different studio spaces over the course of 2019. The workshops didn't pan out but I did make use of the time at the studio and had my most productive year ever. I let my lease(s) go but feel that that was a positive experience that I may one day attempt again. I'm back in my small home studio in the basement which challenges me in many ways (lack of storage, temperature, light, to name a few), but I have to admit it's nice to be able to throw in a load of laundry or take the dog out on a whim, and I'm not taking up precious time commuting.
This year I look forward to teaching more wet felting classes at Wool-ology and continuing to increase my involvement at the gorgeous DVAA Gallery and Gift Shop. I feel that I have a lot to offer at this point in my career and want to give back. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunities that have come my way.
One thing I did not expect to do in 2020 was to create a brand new website, but here it is! Earlier this month I got my first quarterly bill from my previous web host (that I had been with for many years) and was shocked that the price had increased by 50% for no apparent reason. I was not upgrading or getting any additional services, so I frantically started looking around at other website companies. I transferred my domain to Weebly and was up and running in a couple of hours! I'm feeling really good about the switch and would love to hear any feedback about the website in the comments.
Chris Pellerin is a former environmental engineer, currently living a charmed life as a fiber artist, organic gardener, and goat farmer in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. She has a supportive husband, son, and dog whom she loves very much (the husband and son, too!) this is where she will post news about Dunroamin Farm Design and life in general.