"This isn't just any e-commerce store, this is..."
... okay, I'm going to stop right there, before any lawyers come knocking. I always want to state, on the record, that I solemnly swear I have never called a single crochet Beastie Colin!
Now that we've cleared that up, and while we're speaking on the record, I can confirm that I was very much #TeamColin from day one... and before you think I've gone off on one of my usual tangents (Oldies boy Goldies from Instagram will know what I'm talking about), my brief foray into the Colin vs Cuthbert saga is no coincidence - it very much speaks to the story of Bumble and Be and and why - after five years on Etsy - I am making the leap to my own site.
You might notice that I say "site", rather than "store", and again this is intentional. It also goes back to the very opening of this post, when I said that this just isn't "any e-commerce store." Long before I ever opened an Etsy Store, Bumble and Be was the name of a blog. My blog. A place where I could simply be me, whether charting my experience of mental health recovery, or speaking about the things that matter to me; namely, animal welfare, wellbeing, primary education and creativity. That was Bumble and Be.
The name itself came to me during treatment, when a fellow patient and I both shared a spiritual connection to Bees. Not only do the symbolise hard work and community, they are also have a lesser known trait - possibility. You see, aerodynamically, bees should not be able to fly. Their bodies and wings are built all wrong, yet by some evolutionary miracle they do!
The bee became an emblem of my recovery - right down to the bee tattoo on my wrist - so it felt only natural to give it permanent residence in my "online Home." As a literature graduate, I have always had a love for puns and wordplay, and also wanted something to further symbolise my recovery, so that's how I came up with "Bumble & Be" - being yourself, bumbles and all. No matter how much society tries to promote "perfection" and "productivity."
When I began my Etsy store, I was still in the early stages of my recovery. I learnt to crochet during hospital treatment, alongside re-reading the Harry Potter series upon the encouragement of a nurse. I began treatment at rock bottom, after a decade of measuring my self-worth by numbers (grades, blood sugar readings, the weight on a scale). Having suspended my English Literature student to start treatment, there is an irony that I had almost forgotten the true value of words; creativity and pure imagination.
During those three months in hospital, with the help of the Wizarding World and a Wardrobe full of Wool, I finally found it again. What's more, i found within the HP series - and Fantastic Beasts film that was released just after discharge - so many powerful mental health messages that resonated with my experience (some of which I shared on the original Bumble and Be blog). I was therefore drawn to combine the two together and crochet things from the Wizarding World. I initially did consider doing characters, yet my other passion for animals rights - and consequent love for Newt - drew me to the beasties!
To cut a long story short, this is also why - five years - later, I am moving the beasties here, to 'Bumble and Be'. It is why I am writing here now, in a blog post, which I plan to be the first of many. We have built the most magical, community of "bumblers" on Instagram, and I am overwhelmed by the support people have shown for my Etsy Store - for context, over 90% of my traffic came from IG! Yet it is also this that has given me the faith to take this leap of faith.
My instagram is a community. It is the home of love > likes, soul smiles > sales and bee-ness < business! Whereas Etsy, for all its many merits, can only ever be the latter. An e-commerce site, to go back to my first line of this (admittedly very long) Etsy post. It's no secret that I have to put IG hashtags in my comments because my captions max-out the word limit! It's no secret that I love telling stories, because it's what Bumble and Be is built on.
Not sales, stories. It is why I refuse to ever use the word "products" or "pieces" to describe my beasties. They are beasties! The Woody to my Andy; the Forky to my Bo; the Pickett to my Newt; the Sir Nugget to my Witchcrafter... and nothing will ever change that. 'Bumble and Be' is my way to bring it all together. To unite my Etsy and Instagram under one roof. On that note, the best part of this new site (apart from having a blog with unlimited word count), is that the beasties now have a PERMANENT HOME, complete with all-new profiles.
Since last Autumn, due to demand (which is still mind-boggling to me), I have had to switch to monthly shop updates. This meant that the beasties were only 'visible' for a few hours each month, and I think that wasthe final push to opening 'Bumble and Be' on Shopify.
It means that, even when they are 'out of stock' they will still be here to tell their tales 24/7! These new 'Beastie Bios are broken down into four sections:
- In a KNUTshell gives you a quick overview of the chosen beastie.
- The Backstory talks about what drew me to create each beastie, and feature many personal anecdotes you may resonate with too.
- The Design Story shares all the maker details, including yarn choices and how their design links them to other beastie in the menagerie.
- Your Story talks about what happens when you adopt a beastie!
On that note, if by some miracle you have read to the end of this post, those profiles are now all flying free for you to read, and my actual webshop (for non-crochet products) will be launching next Saturday (26th June)! Until then...
Love and Lumos,
Sophie (Mother of Beasties)