A few days ago my husband, Scott, said to me, “How many 30 year olds do you think know what a tea towel actually is?”. I sat there thinking as he told me he didn’t know what a tea towel was until I started weaving them (despite the many we have gotten over the years). However, I know what he was getting at. The term ‘tea towel’ may not be as common as it used to be. So I did a quick Google search, and found out that “The tea towel, by any other name, is still a tea towel, and it derives its name from Victorian Era England where the tradition of serving tea in the social setting took off. Teatime went from the simple service of tea and perhaps biscuits to eventually becoming the late afternoon/early evening High Tea, or supper time.” If you’re just dying to know more, you can click the rest of the information here.
Today, tea towels are more often seen as not-so-absorbent towels with cute sayings or pictures. Such as, “I’m outdoorsy in that I like to drink on patios”. I may own that one. They are often used the same as a dish towel because all in all they are seen as regular towels. The tea towels I weave and sell aren’t like the non-absorbent ones with cute sayings. The ones I make are made with 100% cotton, super absorbent, and can be used in the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, wherever!
I realize the term tea towel can seem dated (maybe that's why my husband thinks it’s weird I use that term), but I think it sets it apart from your average dish towel. Tea towels have more sophistication, and if you’re spending $40 on a towel, you better be getting something sophisticated, am I right?
In the end, the term ‘tea towel’ is another name for a regular towel. You can have tea while you use you. You can dry dishes with it. You can use it as a table decoration. You can use it as a hand towel in the bathroom. You can stuff it in your drawer never to be seen again. The possibility are endless.
Thus they make way more than may be needed. Take fashion brands for example, they make thousands of one item, but what if they then only sell hundreds of that item, where do the rest go? A lot go to an incinerator, and a lot just get thrown away. They pollute the Earth with any extra left over clothes they may have. This is not a sustainable model. We are ruining the Earth with this model.
So let’s get back to me and my business. Yes, I would love to have things ready to ship in 2 days. I would love to say that I have a full stock of my collection, and I am ready to send it to you at any minute. But what about the items that might not sell? What would I do with all my excess product? I am not into throwing it away or burning it. So what would I do with it? I can only gift so many tea towels :) After thinking about it, I decided to take a lead from some slow fashion brands that I love. I am creating on an as-needed basis. A made-to-order basis. Yes, for you, the consumer, this is probably annoying. You can’t order a scarf, and get it the next day. And I’ll be honest, that is kind of annoying. But what you can do, is brag to all of your family and friends that the scarf you did buy is ethically made within a brand that cares about sustainability and works toward reducing waste. What you can also say is that, when you buy from me you allow me to create something handmade and unique just for you. Yes, I make multiple of the same color and design, but being handmade each one of the items I produce is one-of-a-kind in its own way.
Wow, what a year 2018 was! First, thank you all for all of your support in 2018! Every like, comment, purchase, it all means so much to me! This weaving business is still so new to me, but it is still very fun to see how far I have come in one year.
Here are some of my favorite highlights of 2018:
I started teaching workshops! The amazing women of Gathered Goods Company, Tara and Nicole, reached out about teaching workshops. This has been such a great way to connect with the community, spread my love of weaving, and help spark creativity in others.
I did more markets! Six markets total. Thanks to all who came out and supported me in-person!
I learned how to use a floor loom! I took the Intro to Floor Loom Weaving class at the Weavers Guild of MN in July. I learned so much! Highly recommend the class!
I made some really great connections in the maker community! Markets are great to meet new and existing customers, but I also love getting to meet other makers. It is one of the best parts of markets!
What's in store for 2019:
More markets! I have some big markets that I am gearing up to apply for!
New products! Along with what I already offer, I will be adding to the lineup. I am planning on woven tote bags, napkins, tea towels, and possibly even clothing. I'm also going to be changing the bags I currently offer. I will be making them more structured, and I will be adding a wristlet strap so you can have your hands free. The sizes may change as well. That is something I am currently trying out. Oh and I'll be making a wall hanging or two as well :) Can't wait for you to see all that is offered in 2019!
More workshops! I’m going to continue to spread the weaving love!
More stockists! I’m really hoping to get my products in more store or do pop-ups in some stores. Due to working outside the home, being a mom and a human who likes to have a some sort of life, I haven’t had the time or energy to reach out to stores yet. I am really hoping to change that this year!
I have some big plans and dreams and goals for 2019! It’s going to be an exciting year, and I can’t wait to share it all with you!
My passion for creating runs deep. I dabbled in different mediums for years, but nothing ever stuck. For years before I found weaving, I craved a creative outlet. Daily. I can still feel that urge to find a creative outlet in my chest. It was a yearning, it was a desire, it was a void.
For years I had known about weaving, but honestly I thought it was a fad, so I never tried it. Then one day in May of 2017, I walked into my neighborhood artisan made shop, and saw a weaving in the flesh (or more accurately, in the fiber). It was way more beautiful and intricate than I imagined weavings could be. I was fascinated. I walked right home and bought a weaving kit on Etsy. Then after my 14 inch BEKA loom and kit arrived, I used free tutorials online to teach myself how to weave.
I was hooked. The meditative nature of under, over, under, over calmed my somewhat anxious personality. The convenience of the small loom allowed me to keep my hands busy while I binged watched Netflix at night. And the joy and therapeutic aspect of creating and making again gave me a high like nothing before. I had found my creative outlet. I had found my thing.
Here is the part where I should say to you, “And the rest is history”. But alas, life is not like the movies. In my case, there have been the highest highs and the lowest lows. There have been fears, tears, and constant worries. There have been amazing opportunities, testimonials, and many new friends made. Weaving has been one of the greatest gifts for me, and I am forever grateful that I stumbled upon it that one day in May.
photos by www.sarahhrudka.com