Connecting a community of Comox Valley crafters with the world
I’ve been a knitter most of my life. I consider it a sort of meditation. In the past, it felt novel, or cute, to see a teenager knitting, but over the past decade there has been a resurgence of knitting and crafting. People are learning to appreciate the benefits, and necessity, of creating and purchasing their clothing and accessories mindfully.
A few years ago my best friend and I turned 30. As a unique tribute to our 20-year friendship, I challenged myself to design something for her. On a whim, I submitted the final design to an online knitting community and it received 1000+ hits overnight. A new hobby was created–not just knitting but creating the designs for others to follow so that they may create their own handmade items. It was then, that Wolf & Faun Knits was born.
I didn’t intend to be a small business owner or make an income from my crafting and creating, but life is ever changing. This spurred a deep, ongoing reflection into how I utilize my abilities, resources, and time. I found myself with the desire to simplify my physical and mental space. I made a conscious choice to focus only on things that serve me well, adhere to what is important in my life, and what I believe in. Things that didn’t bring me joy had to go.
One of the concepts I thought about was slow fashion, and the more I thought about it the more it resonated with me. Slow fashion, in a nutshell, is a call for the fast paced fashion industry, and their rapid consumption and disposal of trends (and garments), to adopt a more economically, environmentally, and culturally sustainable model. This put the onus on individuals, communities, and companies to slow down and approach fashion in such a way that the resources used to produce garments are more sustainable, and that garments are long term, rather than short term, investments. One such way people are participating in slow fashion is to create their own garments. I was already was a part of this trend.
One of my business challenges was finding particular tools and supplies to support my craft locally or even within Canada. Products that were of the quality I wanted and the ethical standards I wished to adhere to, were either too expensive to purchase abroad or non-existent. That’s when I started looking within my own community. I began to realize piece-by-piece, item-by-item, that there was a rich abundance of local artisans and crafters capable of creating the tools and accessories I desired. I started to realize that there could be a market for these items, and if I want to purchase and use them, surely other crafters and makers would as well.
When I inquired within my community of Canadian and international crafters as to whether ethically sourced tools and accessories were of interest to them, I was met with a resounding “YES!” followed by “When can we start buying from you?”, “When is your website going to be ready?”, and “When can I place my order?”—I knew I was onto something.
Once I turned my gaze to the Comox Valley community for quality products, a flood of ideas was unleashed. I started recognizing that my neighbour down the street was a fabulous seamstress, and that I knew someone who made beautiful metal stitch markers, and that an old co-worker, who happened to also specialize in making beeswax products, had the skills and talent to create what I was dreaming up. I even was able to source custom wooden rulers and needle gauges from a company two blocks from my home. I rarely have to leave Cumberland to find the people I need to create what I have in mind. In a local and global economy, where we hear of people struggling to make ends meet and find meaningful work, I am repeatedly astounded and humbled by the innovative and cutting-edge talent I find locally. It feels good to buy directly from my neighbours. Not only are local crafters, artisans, and entrepreneurs offering amazing products daily, we are generating jobs, incomes, and meaningful connections, by supporting others who create.
I find it fascinating and rewarding that a hobby that morphed into a business now creates new business for those who may have also thought their skills were more for pleasure than profit. We will launch as on online shop soon and offer the products of the Valley to an international market. There are already customers waiting for what we as a community have to offer and I’ve only just begun to source and organize the endless products I know we can provide. I feel a constant renewal of gratitude that I can find the tools, supplies, and even wool I require to create clothing for myself here in the Comox Valley rather than having to source from factories elsewhere. It’s an amazing place to live, work, and create.
You can find Wolf and Faun Knits on Facebook