To recap, here are things we’ve never done before together but have done in the past six months:
Formed an LLC.
Hired an accountant.
Engaged a lawyer.
Rented office space.
Learned Quickbooks. Sort of.
Uttered the word “fulfillment.”
Driven to Pennsylvania to see a yarn warehouse.
Obtained a business license.
For those just joining us, Kay and I are deep into the development of a new website that will launch in late summer. It will still be called Mason-Dixon Knitting, but it will be quite a bit fancier than our little kerosene-powered blog. It is the most interesting project I’ve worked on, ever. It is complicated and has many moving parts. It requires massive amounts of collaboration with smart people. My cell phone clocked 32 hours of phone calls last month, and I enjoyed every minute of every conversation.
It has been suggested that we are “turning our passion into a business,” but I don’t think that’s really it. Turning a passion into a business is a surefire way to crush a passion, in my experience. We’re growing. Maybe that’s the way to think about what we’re doing. We’re hoping to create a place that we knitters will all enjoy. Period.
I’ve never had the impulse to start a business, until now. I do, however, have an endless desire to create things: writing, editing, making stuff. Connecting with people who share this impulse is one of the central joys of my life. When I find myself in conversation with a fellow knitter about a new yarn, that is my definition of a good time. When a book editor shows me the books that delight her, I am a pig in mud. When a designer sends along a swatch for a blanket and says, “I think this will be cool,” my heart swells.
Once we started talking in earnest about what MDK.com might be, the fun of it all came tumbling out. None of this feels like business to me; it’s a lot to learn, and there are moments of deep tedium, but it is exhilarating to be building something. I can’t wait to show everyone what we’re cooking up.
The core of what we’re doing is this: for many knitters, the small act of creating a sock, a hat, or a scarf is an act of love. Of community. Of creativity, of soul saving, sometimes a rebellion against the constraints of everyday life. Knitting is an escape, a haven, a hidey hole that restores us and gives us a bit of control when many things in life are beyond our reach. We’re working from a deep understanding of all this.
And we stand by Mason-Dixon Knitting Rule Number 1: Knitting is supposed to be fun.
Now that we are embarked on this project, I see the world differently. Every shop I enter is no longer a place simply to buy stuff or grab a bite; it’s somebody’s livelihood, dream, idea. I’m so curious about everyone who has wandered up to the starting line and decided: yes! I’m doing this. I’m off.
Readers, have you ever started something? What was it like?