Sunday, January 18, 2009

Help A Friend To Live A Dream

Photo of the Artist as a Photographer


Dear friends,

I'm writing to ask for your help in starting a new weaving business. After years of helping other people and "doing it myself", I've come to place where I need the support of my community to get me over a hump and into the next phase of my life. I need to borrow $1,000 in total to finish paying for a new loom. Any portion of this that you could loan me would be a big help. Even if you're not able to help with money, perhaps reading the rest of this letter will spark ideas that might help in other ways.
We've known each other for years. In that time, you've seen me move through a number of jobs: Visual Effects Software Developer, Sanctuary Caretaker, Spinner and Knitter, Spiritual Consultant, Database Developer, Landscaper. Throughout all these changes, there is one thread that has remained unbroken: a passion for fibercrafts. For over ten years spinning, knitting, and weaving have been my means of relaxing, focusing my attention, and sharing my gifts with my friends.
Last Summer, I decided to transform this passion into a full-time vocation. With ten years of business experience since my last attempt at a spinning and knitting business, I knew that I had to approach this venture carefully. As you can probably guess, it's not easy to make a living as a craftsperson in any sort of economy.
I spent many hours calculating the potential of dozens of business ideas and worked with a few knowledgeable consultants to develop a comprehensive business plan. I was ready last September with a beautiful plan, a complete market analysis and 5-year cash flow projection when pow! The banking industry all-but-collapsed.
Here's a quick synopsis of the plan: get a production weaving loom and use it to work for established designers and weavers while I design and build my own product line. Then, set up a business weaving gorgeous one-of-a-kind outerwear accessories: scarves, shawls, and more. Develop and launch a marketing plan to get these products into high-end boutiques in the San Francisco Bay Area. Foster close relationships with a few outlets and develop custom products to meet their specific needs. Create a separate line of merchandise that enables participation in carefully chosen craft shows. That's three income streams in one: weave for other designers, local stores, craft shows.
The bleak economy has helped in one big way. The company that makes the loom has slashed their prices to unprecedented levels, cheaper than I have found even for unsupported used equipment on the open market. I have ordered and partially paid for this production loom, which the factory will have ready for delivery in the first week of February. I now have two weeks to come up with the final payment.
This is where I need help. I can't think of a way to earn this money on my own in the short time frame that I have, so I need to borrow it. I have thought of three ways to handle the repayment of any money that is loaned to me:
1. Treat it as a loan. I can make a firm commitment to a payback schedule beginning in August of this year.
2. Treat it as a down-payment on a weaving commission. Let's get together and review samples of the work I've been producing on my current loom. You can peruse the notebook of color samples that I've fastidiously developed over the past 10 years, and let me use my new loom to make you something beautiful and unique. I can weave all sorts of things:
- Delicate silk scarves, hand dyed using Japanese Shibori techniques.
- Durable and luxurious hemp or linen yardage for ritual garments
- Household linens: cotton kitchen towels and napkins, place mats, table runners
- Wool blankets
- Wool rugs, up to 60" wide
- The sky's the limit, really. Our imagination is the only real barrier.
- Poke around on and look for Blog Stuff. There are interesting pictures of my weaving and the process.
3. Treat it as a donation to the Wolf Creek Sanctuary. Rather than pay people back directly, I can pay it forward, helping to support the sacred land that is such an important part of our community. I can make sure that they provide you a receipt for this tax-deductible donation.
I need to come up with $1,000 in the next few weeks. Can you loan me any part of it? Do you know of someone else who might be in a place to give me a hand? I appreciate your generosity.
Thanks for your time. May the universe shower blessings upon you and yours!
Blossom Merz