First, I'm sorry to have missed Mindful Monday...let's call today Tardy Tuesday. I've been busy getting everything in order to sell the Project Peace bags. What a journey. I know it seems like a simple thing...get some bags screen printed and sell them in an online shop. Yup, that sums it up. But what happened in between creating this wonderful idea and writing this blog post has taken a couple of months to work through.
They need to be "ethically sourced" said someone. "They can't come from a place that doesn't practice fair labor" said another. "Organic, sustainable, low carbon foot print are all worthy descriptors for a bag that promotes peace." It was honestly a bit mind boggling. I searched high and low for the right bag. I ran into poor quality (fabric and work product), customs issues (costs, high carbon foot print), fair trade concerns, high prices for bags, and a lot of concern that I didn't really know what the final product would look like. My head was spinning.
After exhausting my abilities I came home from yoga one day and told my husband "I think I figured it out; Gamma needs to make the bags." He said "funny, you should say that, I was going to tell you that as well." Gamma, my mum, has become "grey grandmother" (read the Three Sisters story from 12/20 and 12/21). She opened her own peaceful "sweatshop" and made every bag. I must say they are the finest quality project bags I've ever seen. Each stitch is sewn with love and peace. The fabric is not organic as I had to make a decision on my priorities (because that's ultimately what ethically sourced means). I prioritized quality and knowing where the bags were made.
I knew that I wanted this bag to be special. I wanted people to open their package and know that it embodies peace. From the bag to the packaging, it's all about peace. I didn't want anyone to open the bag and think "hmm, ok that's just another bag."
So, that's not the end of the story because as it turns out that part was perhaps the "simple" one. I'm happy to say that The Healthy Knitter is now an official business...I've been to the accountant, opened a bank account, been to the County Courthouse to record my business name and then tackled developing an online shop. Keep in mind...I'm both a scientist and creative...nowhere in my being has there been any flicker of a business-self. But you've all helped me climb a huge mountain and today I feel truly amazed at what's been accomplished.
The "store" is open. Click on the "Project Peace bags" link at the top of the webpage. The photos are marginal but that will get better. I'll ship world wide. I've added in for VAT and GST tax for people living in countries I thought might purchase a bag. For Iowa folks, you'll see a tax charge as well. I've attempted to keep shipping and handling costs minimal. Right now there are 110 bags available for purchase. My mum and I decided to see how this went before making more. So, if we run out I'll consider how to proceed.
I can't thank you all enough for leading me down this path, this path of peace. I've tackled a lot of tasks I never thought possible. I've felt really challenged, uncomfortable, frustrated, yet never did I throw in the towel. How could I? Because sometimes striving for what you want takes you out of the comfort zone.
The store will grow. I've already ordered more Project Peace items that I'll add to the store. Next week, I'll have wooden rulers (just a few) with Project Peace artwork and some custom buttons and stitch markers with a knitted peace symbol. Watch for more items to be added to the store.
Thanks for your patience. Thanks for your commitment to peace. Thanks for being on this adventure together.
More items will be added to the store as I proceed. Let me know what types of things you'd be interested in. I'm looking into different bag types, some stickers, pins, and maybe even t-shirts. I'd love your feedback.
Don't forget that pre-orders for the mystery knitalong and walkalong will begin next week.
Next tuesday is March 21....equinox. Please remember to knit in peace on this very special day. Perhaps spread a little peace to a friend, neighbor or stranger in need or maybe this is you.
I'm a bit delinquent on the surprise I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It got a little pushed to the side as I worked through the bags, dealt with work, sick kids, oh, and don't forget about those caffeine withdrawal headaches.
Speaking of those headaches, you'll be happy to know that after a week it subsided and was so worth it. Honestly, many of my middle-aged aches and pains have diminished. Seriously. I did add back in a cup of decaf here and there because I really enjoy my morning ritual and find simple pleasures in wrapping my hands around a cup of coffee.
Ok, so I'll send out a Project Peace bag to anyone (world wide) if you leave a comment with an idea for how we can create more peace...inner peace, in your community, country, or internationally. If you have any links for resources, include them in your comment. Please leave your Ravelry ID (if you have one) in your comment. Entries close on sunday 3/19 at 11:59 pm. I'll announce the winner on next week's blog post.
Mindful tip #11
What have you been wanting to tackle that seems a little out of reach? What's stopping you? Take a few minutes today and reflect on something you've wanted to do but had lots of reasons it won't work. Why can't it work? I challenge you to think of how to make it work rather than why it won't.