November is the most mysterious time of the year in Juneau. The streets are slick and shiny and a deep quiet descends on the town. As the days get shorter and darker, it feels like we’re miners heading into a long-dormant tunnel that we’ve just rediscovered. It’s a time where things change quickly and life feels exceptionally vivid.
We’re starting the season with a brand-new website that’s as collaborative as our far-flung network of suppliers. Our designer is in Vienna. Our IT technician is in Davao City, Philippines. Our photographer is a Belgian woman in Seattle. And it goes on. We stepped up everything this year: products, photography design. We’ve scaled up to a global level, selling in 8 countries and six languages.
We also closed our retail store after 32 years. As our online business became increasingly complex, we had to choose one path and commit to it. That’s okay: we started before the era of fax machines, and we’ve been rolling with technological change ever since. We often dread the end of things, but in this case it was more like a celebration. Customers came in wearing sweaters they’d bought from us in 1985, or remembered the sign at our booth at the 1993 Southeast Alaska State Fair (“Free UFO fragment with every purchase!”) It was reassuring to see that our products had become part of people’s lives, just as our customers had become part of ours.
In the end, it’s all good: like the onset of winter, change is exciting. A new venture, with new ways of working with people around the world. The first snow of the season is starting to fall even as I write this, recreating the landscape in perfect paper-white. It reminds me that sometimes a new venture is simply the ability to stop and appreciate anew exactly where you are.
Enjoy the coming winter!
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