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The Speakman Sisters: A New Hope

Dyeing to Plant Roots in the Community

$3,114
pledged of$20,000 goal
23
135Days Left
Fund it
Campaign Ends on March 1, 2022

Project Description

The Speakman Sisters is a small woman owned hand dyed yarn business in the old mill city of Worcester, MA. My yarns are hand dyed in very small batches with all natural materials, like plants, fruit, beans, teas, insects, etc. I started my business, officially, in 2021 after discovering the magic of botanical dyeing during the COVID-19 lockdown. Since, I have been selling my colorful fibers from my online store, at festivals and fairs, and I have recently sold my first wholesale order to a local yarn shop with another wholesale contract in the works. 

The Speakman sisters were my Nana and her five sisters, and I have drawn from their close relationships, resourcefulness, and take no bull attitude to begin a business that they would be proud of. Fiber arts have been gaining popularity for over a decade and due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in those crafts. I have been a knitter/crocheter for close to 20 years; supporting my local yarn shops as often as possible.

Now I am asking for your support to help build The Speakman Sisters into a working studio, small shop, knitting and meeting space, artist space share, and dyer’s garden. A space for me to create and sell, but also a community and artistic space for fiber artists and hobbyists. The ideal facility would be located in the neighborhood where the Speakman family planted their roots, Main South Worcester between Cambridge and Main streets. This neighborhood was once home to many factories and some of the old brick buildings still stand today. In fact, the leather factory where my Nana and her twin worked for several years was turned into condos over a decade ago.

My goal is to raise $20,000 to go toward leasing an 800 – 1000 square foot open space in one of these old brick monuments to local manufacturing; obtaining larger equipment (burners, stoves, pots, etc.) to dye in larger quantities; creating small shipping and shopping areas; furnishing a meeting space; and building a dyer’s garden on the property. Money pledged will also go towards any plumbing, ventilation, and other modifications that may need to be done to the space and a stipend to hire a social media marketing consultant for a few months to help build the Speakman Sisters brand.

There is more than enough room for The Speakman Sisters in the local yarn market. In fact, there are only a few hand dyers in this area (doing business online) and only two yarn shops in Worcester County which are in the towns of Holden and Northborough (not including Michael’s Craft Stores, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby). My mission is to provide something special to the fiber community of Worcester, to the neighborhood that my family worked and lived in for decades, and for my own soul. Working with yarn has been a fulfilling adventure since 2004 when a stranger taught me to knit. I will always be grateful to Kay (last name unknown, may have lived in Boylston, MA). She passed through my life over a matter of months but left me with such a beautiful artistic outlet. I can never repay her.

I have 15 years of small business operation experience, retail history, and at least 30 years in customer service. I know what it takes to run a business: hard work, building brand, connections with your community, quality product, and heart.

 

Lastly, you may be wondering how will all these plans for The Speakman Sisters work to make this a profitable business. A larger operation will increase sales. The quantities in the online shop, the yarn available for sale in my future small shop and at craft fairs, and the size of wholesale orders will all benefit from more production space. Rental space from other artists and from crafting groups and teachers will be another line of income. Please check the FAQ tab for answers about crowdfunding/IFundWomen and how I dye my yarns.

Thank you for your time & pledge,

Jen

Updates

$2k

The Campaign FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

About the Campaign

  • Is your plan to make The Speakman Sisters a full time enterprise?: Yes, that is my plan for the future. Having just retired from massage therapy after 17 years, I have been self-employed for almost 20 years as a solo practitioner, an independent contractor, and as a multi-therapist spa owner. My goal is to grow The Speakman Sisters into a full time job that I can do into my senior years (waaaaay down the road).
  • What happens if you do not make your monetary goal?: Well, of course I hope I do, but I intend to use any funds I receive to grow The Speakman Sisters in any way I can.
  • I've never given to a crowdfunding campaign before. Is it safe?: 

    IFundWomen does not store credit card information. Their payment processors, PayPal and Stripe operate with the highest level of security and encryption technology. When backing my campaign using PayPal, I do not receive sensitive financial information like your credit card or bank account number. This way, you don't have to worry about paying people you don't know. 

  • Is my pledge tax deductible?: No, because I am not a non-profit organization.

  • Can my pledge be anonymous?: Yes, just set up a guest account when you pledge.

  • I did not receive or do not want my reward for my pledge. What should I do?: If you did not receive your reward and I told you it was on its way, please let me know ASAP. I will make sure you get your reward. Your pledge means so much to me. I would never let that go unnoticed. Do not try to resolve it with IFundWomen. They will suggest you speak to me directly. If you do not want your reward that is ok. Just let me know when you pledge. 

  • How will I know how this campaign is going?: Please check back frequently. There is an Update tab next to the Pitch tab. I will keep you filled in on all that's happening with this campaign. And please remember to share my campaign with others that you think would be interested in helping out. There is a Share button on the main page right next to my video.

About the product

  • Can you tell me more about the dyes you use?: I use all natural materials. Leaves, flowers, berries, roots, foods, insects are most of the materials I dye with. I do purchase some of these items through wholesalers and at the supermarket; forage for material around my area; and grow my own plants to make dyes. Though since I live in New England there is limited time in the year for growing my own plants and foraging for wild ingredients. 

  • Since your dyes are made with botanicals do they wash out or fade?: Yes, they can. Natural dyes are not necessarily forever, in their original color. Over time they will fade and change. This can be a plus. Think of it as your old hat getting a new color just when you were getting sick of that old color :) I recommend you store your hand dyed yarns and knitwear out of direct sun and hand wash in cold water.

  • What types of fibers do you work with?: At this point I am only working with protein fibers, i.e. wool, alpaca, silk, cashmere, etc. Cellulose yarns (plant fibers like cotton, linen, hemp) take longer to prep for dyeing and don't always take natural dyes as well. 

  • Where do you get the yarn you dye?I order from several wholesalers. I have favorites and I'm always finding new companies to try. Currently, I am using Komad Yarns, Wool2Dye4, Maritime Family Fiber, Henry's Attic, Ashland Bay, and yarn produced by the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool. If you know of a company I should check out, please let me know.

  • Where do you dye your yarns now?: Currently I have a very small workshop in the basement of my home in the Tatnuck area of Worcester. My husband added a dye area to our laundry room. It includes a stove, counter space, a large utility sink, shelving. It's wonderful, but I outgrew it as soon as I moved into it. 

 

 

David Ginsburg
10/08/2021
Gladys
$50
09/24/2021
Bette
$100
John and Jodie
09/23/2021
Monetary Contribution
$800
Lauren B.
09/22/2021
Peggy
$15
Cynthia Curtis
09/22/2021
Bette
$75
Melanie
09/17/2021
Monetary Contribution
$100
09/14/2021
Patsy
$25
09/13/2021
Patsy
$25
Michele Boucher-Johnson
09/10/2021
Patsy
$25
09/09/2021
Patsy
$25
Monetary Contribution

Just Because I Care

2 Supporters
Select this reward
10.00 USD
Gloria

$10-$14

You will receive an email thank you & shout out on our social marketing platforms, letting everyone know you are super.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
15.00 USD
Peggy

$15-$24

You will receive a handwritten thank you card, a Speakman Sisters sticker & a shout out on our social media platforms.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
25.00 USD
Patsy

$25-$49

You get the opportunity to name a yarn colorway. *No Profanity Please.

5 Supporters
Select this reward
75.00 USD
Bette

$75-$99

You will receive a Speakman Sisters coffee mug

5 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Barbara

$100-$199

You will receive a skein of yarn (of Jen's choice) & 10% off your next online purchase. http://www.thespeakmansisters.com

4 Supporters
Select this reward
200.00 USD
VIP

$200 +

You will receive a skein of yarn (of Jen's choice), 10% off every online purchase until the end of this campaign, & a Speakman Sisters t-shirt.

After the campaign ends, for $20/year you will have VIP status: Free shipping on all orders & first look at new yarns/colorways (not including wholesale orders to yarn shops).

http://www.thespeakmansisters.com

5 Supporters
Select this reward

Rewards

Monetary Contribution

Just Because I Care

2 Supporters
Select this reward
10.00 USD
Gloria

$10-$14

You will receive an email thank you & shout out on our social marketing platforms, letting everyone know you are super.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
15.00 USD
Peggy

$15-$24

You will receive a handwritten thank you card, a Speakman Sisters sticker & a shout out on our social media platforms.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
25.00 USD
Patsy

$25-$49

You get the opportunity to name a yarn colorway. *No Profanity Please.

5 Supporters
Select this reward
75.00 USD
Bette

$75-$99

You will receive a Speakman Sisters coffee mug

5 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Barbara

$100-$199

You will receive a skein of yarn (of Jen's choice) & 10% off your next online purchase. http://www.thespeakmansisters.com

4 Supporters
Select this reward
200.00 USD
VIP

$200 +

You will receive a skein of yarn (of Jen's choice), 10% off every online purchase until the end of this campaign, & a Speakman Sisters t-shirt.

After the campaign ends, for $20/year you will have VIP status: Free shipping on all orders & first look at new yarns/colorways (not including wholesale orders to yarn shops).

http://www.thespeakmansisters.com

5 Supporters
Select this reward