It's Time for a Store Update

This update has been a long time coming, and gosh, I don’t even know where to start. First off, I would like to say a well overdue THANK YOU. As my first full year running The Sewing Depot full-time, it has taken me on a journey that I could never imagine. I have had some amazing moments, met some very special people, and of all the things 2021 has taught me, most importantly I have learnt to hold my sewing community close to my heart. Because when stock comes to a halt and when a month locked in your house becomes daunting, my mood has been lifted by my lovely customers sending me their kind words and project updates, reminding me how special our community really is. From my customers, to my suppliers, and even my competitors - you have all been so supportive despite the chaos this year has brought and helped my introverted self come out of my shell.

I made the decision to take on a risk that could have caused The Sewing Depot to crumble, by shutting the doors for our own wellbeing, to give us the time and space to feel comfortable in our own store again, and to send a message to those who have taken our service for granted, that we are human and can only tolerate so much hate. Although that hate seems to be aimed at the government and covid, we are in this together, and us retail workers cannot suffer as a result.

I started writing this post to express my gratitude, to publicly share how thankful I am for every message, comment, email and phone call which has been so overwhelming in the best way possible. 

But, before my run-down brain managed to finish my ramble into actual sentences, my inbox became full of emails from strangers giving me their opinion on how I should be running my business and offers to receive clearance stock because they heard through the grapevine that we had “shut down”. 

I had been exposed to the harsh reality of the media for the first time, with four major NZ media publications writing their own stories about my store’s situation, without me reaching out or having a say in how that was portrayed. It wasn’t until customers brought these articles to my attention that I realised the extent of the publicity we had received. 

Which brought the next big challenge. Keeping up... 

It was a lot to take on for someone running all aspects of the business, especially after a few of my core team members left the retail industry, but we were getting by. We are growing and have some amazing things coming very soon. We were just finishing up some store renovations as the first step towards our new rebrand, and training new employees to keep up with all your Christmas orders. Things were busy but there was nothing to complain about really. My bold statement of closing the doors opened up so many more, from having important conversations about mental health to speaking in parliament with some of the biggest business leaders in NZ.

As I was working my way through the few hundred emails in my inbox, attempting to express my gratitude to you all, I jumped in the car and set off for a meeting with a government run business development programme in preparation for some exciting things planned in the new year. I was only a few minutes from my destination, but within seconds life came crashing before me. Literally CRASHING into the side of my Suzuki Swift, leaving it beyond repair. 

Before I knew it, I was in a witness’s arms with jackets wrapped around my burnt and bruised arms, completely in shock. So with a handful of injuries I said goodbye to my car and I was off to get checked out by doctors.

In the x-ray room I was reflecting on this roller coaster of the year, when I realised my biggest successes this year were so different from what I used to think success meant to me. Setting a boundary to limit public access from my business was genuinely the best thing I’ve done all year for my team and I, and being vulnerable to my community bought in messages that left me in (happy) tears realising there are people out there who genuinely value my business and want to see us thrive.

Although I may have caused some inconveniences for you, it meant we could give 100% to those customers who respected us, giving the best service possible because we were no longer run down by those who we couldn’t keep happy no matter how many hoops we jumped through in attempts to please them. We are here for the long run and only have so much that we can give, and as I learnt from the crash, superficial things can be gone within the blink of an eye, and so can we, if we don’t look after ourselves.

Which brings me to the uncomfortable question you have all been patiently waiting on an answer for. When will I reopen the doors?

A few months ago I wouldn’t have let a car crash stop me. But in all honesty, I am not ready. With a team in training, no car, only one functioning hand, and a bunch of physio, hand rehab and doctors appointments, whilst looking for replacement transport, the answer I still can’t believe I am saying, is… Not this year. I am only human and from a pandemic, to a major surgery, and now my first car completely written off all within one year, it’s time let the rest of this year play out whilst I let my injuries heal.

But, now for the good news!

During my short time in this industry I have met some very special people, and some of those people have offered support that I could only dream of. Whilst I recover and keep training my new team, my dear friends at The Fine Cloth Company and Fabric Warehouse are becoming pick up points for all your click & collect orders in Wellington to avoid the Christmas courier delays, giving you the freedom to still pick your orders up within normal business hours. 

My team and I will be dispatching online orders every weekday, and for those special visits that require time and attention we can book in a few appointments at the shop if necessary, to support you all through Christmas time. 

From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry we couldn’t be open as we hoped, but good things take time and we’ll be opening our doors in the New Year with lots of new things in store for you and some amazing business developments which you will slowly see coming to life over the next few months. 

I am so thankful that you have all stayed with me on this journey so far, and we’ll get through this bump in the road. Before we know it, we’ll be stitching our way into 2022 and this year will become a memory that we can look back on and maybe have a little laugh, that life really can be crap, but there are always silver linings. In this case my silver lining was all of you.

With love,

Ana x

1 comment

Kathy Bethell

Kathy Bethell

rest up and get well again. All the best for your future.

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