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, cat, 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.