Setting up shop pre opening
It seems like a year ago, but Convent & Chapel Wool Shop has just clocked up three years since opening in November 2014. And what a great three years they’ve been, with hopefully many more on the horizon.
The before – we thought this was good
The now – overflowing with Hedgehog Fibres
We’ve met so many new people and feel like we’re establishing ourselves as part of a vibrant and thriving community. It’s been fun to look back on old photos and see how much we’ve changed. We thought we’d kicked off with lots of stock in the shop but now we can see how much we’ve expanded our range and pretty much managed to insulate the building with yarn from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.
It’s been a learning and growing experience for us, providing us with another career along with a change of lifestyle from Sydney to the real rural country at our prime. What a change from a corporate career to a professional knitter!
We’ve had lots of comments along the way:
“Why would you open a wool shop in such a small town?” Because we live here.
“It’s a dying art” – Umm, no. It’s always been really popular and even moreso now with the internet.
“I think it would ruin it for me – making my hobby my job” – We’d much rather work at something we love.
OK, so maybe not everyone would do this, but it’s working for us and we love it when visitors are surprised and delighted when they enter our world.
There’s been so many highlights, including our love for participating in Shows, with one of the best being Gemma scooping the pool at last year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show . Winning the Fine Lace category, being in the Cabinet of Excellence and taking out the Margot Chick Award, something we’ve both long coveted, was pretty amazing.
We’d hate to guess how many kilometres of yarn we’ve knitted during that time and have lost count of the Rylstone Ridge and Louee Lace scarves, not to mention Kandos Classic and Rylstone Ribbed Beanies.
We’ve also been supported by some wonderful suppliers – both locally and internationally – that we’ve formed great relationships with. We’ve been to fibre festivals, done classes and exhibitions – things five years ago that would never have been on our horizons.
As for the future, our lovely landlords (the Rylstone & District Historical Society who own the Bridge View Inn) have kindly given us permission to use part of the hallway as a gallery, so we can set up permanent exhibitions. We also have exciting new arrivals on the horizon and, of course, lots more knitting. Our list of patterns and yarns we want to try never gets any shorter.
It’s important to us and other retailers, who take the risk and make the commitment to a small independent bricks and mortar shop, that we have your support. There are lots of challenges in business today, competing with the big name retailers and small online businesses. However we believe that businesses who can still offer shopfronts and personal service have an important role to play. We also try to give our online customers a great experience and feel we know many of them personally.
So thank you to everyone who has been part of our journey so far. We feel like it’s still near the start and looking forward to every step to come.
Now part of the Rylstone streetscape