The end of October is the end of the Summer tourist season for our handmade business of soapmaking.
It is also the beginning of holiday madness as we and the temporary elves prepare orders to be shipped out until just a few days before Christmas. We’re not unusual. Many of us with seasonal businesses actually have many ‘seasons’ throughout the year, with different markets, customers, products, sales and workload. The end of one ‘season’ isn’t the end of the business year. It simply marks the next phase of business activity.
For our friends in the fiber world, their season is full speed ahead. Each October we are a vendor at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair outside of Asheville, North Carolina, now the third largest fiber event in the USA. Last weekend was actually our 11th year participating in the festival, which celebrates all the wool bearing animals (llamas, alpacas, cashmere goats, angora rabbits and every breed of sheep), their wool, and the spinners, dyers, and knitters of that wool.
An article I found this week on the seasonal business of knitting focuses on the seasonal aspects of the final product: those beautifully colored skeins of luxurious yarn sold in retail shops. But wool and fiber is not just a Fall and Winter business. It’s the other seasons of the year when fiber farmers continuously care for the animals that provide the wool ultimately shorn and spun. I can’t help but think of all their hard work – all year round – when I read about knitting as a seasonal business.
For farmers and rural business owners, the handmade fiber industry is a twelve-month devotion to duty.