“Repeat after me, Jennie, you can do this!”

Twenty days left to produce my best quality items for Wonderwool Wales. Well, nineteen, because I’ll take a day off for Jack’s birthday. Actually, eighteen, as I’m travelling on Ben’s birthday so we’ll celebrate early. No, seventeen; I’ve promised a trip to the zoo to the kids next week one day….and so it goes on! I won’t bore you with the whole list, but I think I worked out that I’ve got about twelve or thirteen days to get this done.

So today’s blog post is about self confidence, or more likely self doubt. I’ve only recently heard about something called imposter syndrome (I think it might have been on one of Tara Swiger’s periscope broadcasts), but when I did, I recognised most of it in myself. I look at the list of vendors at Wonderwool and I think to myself “I’m going to have a stall next to all those real dyers and producers. There will be Sara’s Texture Crafts, Hilltop Cloud, John Arbon. And then there I will be in the middle of them all, and they’ll soon figure out that I shouldn’t be there.” The voices of self criticism in my head can be overwhelming.

But why shouldn’t I be there? I’ve been dyeing yarn for several years now, I’ve had a shop on my own for a year and a half, I’ve got a growing customer base who always (when I hear feedback) are happy with what I’ve made. Surely that entitles me to consider myself to be a “real” dyer too?

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I'm dyeing up sunshine, woo hoo!

I love colour. I love saturated, jewel tones. I love variegated yarns and tonal yarns that are almost variegated within the same colour. But then I’ll think maybe I should dye solids too. Maybe I should do pastels. But I can’t do it all, and the deep colours are my style. They’re what I want to be known for, so I should embrace that. I’m sure that there are more than enough people who like my style of dyeing to keep me busy, once my name and reputation are known. It’s this damned evil gremlin on my shoulder, sowing the seeds of self doubt into my brain. It’s the same with the project bags. I veer towards fun fabrics, perhaps geek themed, sometimes cartoony animals or scenery or suchlike. And then I’ll see a post on Instagram or a podcast on YouTube where someone is praising their latest purchased bag in a chintzy floral, or referencing a tv show I don’t know. And I’ll feel anxious, thinking I should be doing that in my shop, why didn’t I think of that? It’s totally ridiculous. Writing this blog post will be therapeutic, because I’ll be able to read it over afterwards with a little distance, and see that it’s silly to want to try to cover every base, every interest group, every fandom. I need to stick to what I know, what I like. And hopefully the customers will agree with my taste in colour, in pattern, in theme!

I’m not looking for sympathy, or begging for you to comment and tell me I’m awesome (although that would be nice!). This is just a part of how I feel about running my own business, and I wanted to document it. I think it will be interesting to look back in a couple of years, with the benefit of having experienced a few more yarn shows and (hopefully!) having enjoyed many more sales and see if I still feel the same way. I suspect not. I think that I’m probably just nervous about, essentially, stepping into the unknown and, once I’ve exhibited at this first festival and know what to expect in the future, I’ll feel more secure and calmer. And of course it won’t hurt if I sell some of my yarns, fibre, project bags and stitch markers while I’m there!

One thought on ““Repeat after me, Jennie, you can do this!”

  1. Jennie – I have been where you are. Self doubt is a little gremlin that keep hanging around me still. Sometimes it is hard but I just have to shut him up. Be you. Make what you make and your people will love that!

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