My name is Susan Hannah and I began working with Lucy in 1998 when my youngest son was in preschool. (He’s 6′ 7″ and several years into university now. L)
Lucy had started her fledgling business a few years earlier and I knew that, in order to continue being creative and developing new patterns and ideas, she would need help on the business side of things. So I offered. After some consideration, Lucy agreed, and we decided to give it a whirl at a Knit With Us event in Newfoundland. Lucy taught some classes and I ran the sales; we both had a great time and so began our business relationship.
After a few years, Lucy asked me to help with the bookkeeping. Her husband John had been doing it up to that point, but could no longer fit the extra work around his full-time job. Now there was no looking back, and we worked together for many years on our own. Over time, Corrie developed Lucy’s web presence, and we truly became an online business (more from Corrie in a later post).
But how did a girl from the West Coast of Canada meet a girl from England and Wales?
Lucy moved to Nova Scotia in March of 1992, and I arrived less than a year later. I always claimed that we were destined to meet and each had to move four Time Zones to do it. We had three connection points: the Knitting Guild of Canada, where we had both placed ads looking for Knitters in the Halifax area, Shirley Scott’s Newsletter (Knitting News) and the Newcomers Club in Halifax.
My older two children fit between her younger two and, in fact, her youngest and my oldest are good friends to this day. We became each other’s family in Nova Scotia and would celebrate various holidays together.
But mostly Lucy and I worked together to create Tradewind Knitwear Designs (or LucyNeatby.com).
I have had many roles here: I started out doing the shipping, then started answering e-mails and phone calls and taking on more duties. I have packed patterns, created kits, sorted yarn, run Knit-Alongs, done the books and generally been involved on almost all levels of the business.
Last summer, I found out that I would be moving back to BC. At first, I couldn’t tell anyone, as the plans wouldn’t be finalized before November. My family and I had been in Nova Scotia for 20 years and we had built a life there, including this job I had created for myself. Though I had been scaling back and we had gotten more help over the years (Stephanie had arrived on the scene by then and I could hand a large part of running the business over to her), now I had to leave completely. I was torn– this job and my relationship with Lucy had been a big part of my life for such a long time. Could I really do it? Lucy and I had many emotional talks as I tried to untangle myself from the day-to-day workings of Tradewinds.
In the beginning, things had been very hands-on. A big part of my job involved sending pattern packets, kits, yarn and DVDs to customers. Nowadays, so much of the work can be done online, which means that certain parts of my job can, as well. So here I am in Brentwood Bay, BC, a full continent away from Lucy, and I still work with her! We do our accounting online (of which I’m still a big part), and I run Knit-Alongs on Ravelry. I still help to answer some of the trickier e-mails and questions without having to step in the shop. In the end, I’m still a part of the business, but from a distance.
What were my favourite things about working with Lucy at Tradewinds? Watching an idea grow from a small seed into an international business and knowing I was an important part of that. Being involved with yarn–very dangerous but so much fun! Most of all, I enjoyed the contact with customers. I loved talking to you on the phone or working with you via e-mail to help with your choices, answer your questions, help interpret Lucy’s patterns and support you. It was wonderful to meet many of you in person at Lucy events, especially the four Adventure Knitting trips I went on.
Oh and the knitting! That was our original connection, and it remains to this day. I have knit or test-knit many of Lucy’s patterns and have enjoyed every one, even the ones I had to be talked into knitting
It has been a great ride and I am so grateful to Lucy for taking a risk and allowing me to go on this crazy, wonderful journey with her.
Now I’m looking forward to sharing my insight into Lucy and the business via the blog. I’m hoping you’ll welcome different perspectives and, in turn, do your bit to make this business a better, more user friendly and fun place to be.