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30th Anniversary at Susan Hayes Handwovens

September 20, 2012

This past August marked our 30th year in business and it has given me the opportunity to reflect on the constant change it has been.

Photo credit: Paige Green Photography

Photo credit: Paige Green Photography

When I started the wholesale business, it was strictly a West Coast distribution of only accessories. About seven years into it, I took on a major expansion to develop additional streams of distribution and product line. I participate in my first New York wholesale show with my West Coast sales representative, and jumped into the crafts market as well. I also began to exhibit at national juried craft shows and this gave me a connection to the customer I previously did not have. I know it made me a better designer and craftsperson. The feedback I received from them led me to add a full clothing line. I have worked not only in my own handwoven fabrics, but produced lines in organic cotton, wool crepe, merino wool, novelty silks, and even stretch vinyl. Our volume grew to 1000 garments and 1000 scarves per year.

I’ve been blessed with great mentors and have tried to be one myself. So many skilled craftspeople have contributed to the company, many for 10 years or more. Working as a team has given me a deep satisfaction.

To work with beautiful materials in this ancient craft, to not only sell to stores but to operate one myself, and to see my work hang in museums, galleries, boutiques and departments stores…well, I never expected it. I have been riding a wave that has moved me in many directions, simultaneously trying to stay open and committed completely. I truly am grateful to have done this work. Fulfilling a need with good design is the craftsperson mission and has been a joy to do. The partnership with customers and co-workers has been rich and rewarding as well.

Thank you all.

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