Running a small brick and mortar business has never been harder. While we 'made it' through the pandemic, the cumulative effects of two years closed without our workshop income while incurring unexpected debt have been so deep that we've honestly been slowly sinking ever since. We've been hopeful that having workshops back would give us the boost we need to get back on track. Energetically and joyfully they have given us a huge lift emotionally. Being able to connect with our community in person, in the shop and through our classes has been such a huge reminder of the special connections we have built over the last fifteen years and continue to build as we get to learn and make with you. 

We have held on as long as possible but now it's time to make some hard decisions. The reality is that we can no longer afford to stay in our space on Queen Street West. Our rent has gone up by thousands of dollars since we first moved in six years ago and the management is unwilling to further negotiate to keep us under this (fire damaged & leaky) roof. In order to save the workroom, I've decided to move the retail portion of the business outside of Toronto and online only as of the end of August when our current lease expires. We're looking at this as a self-imposed hiatus from traditional brick & mortar. Cutting out our Toronto rent costs alone will dramatically help us recover quicker.

If we were in this alone, financially this would also mean that our workshops are going on hiatus. This is definitely not what we hope is our next step. This is where we wonder if we can rally some community support to help us make this transition more smoothly and secure a studio space with even just one classroom for us to continue to have a community space available for learning, studio and longarm rentals and events. 

Part of what has made these decisions so difficult to make is that I feel a huge responsibility for the community and team that the workroom has built. it is impossible to imagine my life without all the incredible people who have become chosen family and friends within our space. I treasure this so much in my life and I have witnessed these same life-long relationships and bonds happen over and over again for others. I will do everything I can to keep us all together and I hope you will too. 

Has the workroom changed your life?  Do you feel more community because of our welcoming space, our workshops, our events and our team members? If the answer is 'Yes!” - Can we can count on you to help us?!

We know that we are not alone in going through tough times. Each of us is already dealing with more than we can bear individually. There are many ways you can show your support right now, if it feels right to you. We are grateful for anything you can manage.

  1. Join our online membership community - the workroom studio
    This is our clearest and quickest path to getting back on track. If a fraction of our newsletter subscribers or Instagram followers were to sign up for a Silver Yearly Membership, we can move forward immediately to find a new studio in Toronto to continue our workshops and rentals. To achieve this we would just need five hundred Silver members. Is it worth $20/month to you to ensure that the workroom has a home in Toronto for everyone to access and enjoy? In return, you get inner access to a growing online community with some excellent perks, like like 10% of workshops and special in-person and virtual member nights. We have also just added a Bronze Membership for those who would like to join the community for all the insider news and photos at $5/month. Think of this as our version of a 'Substack Newsletter'. The online community is a space we have been building over the last year and we've really enjoyed the new level of interaction we've had with our members there.  Scroll to the bottom of the newsletter or visit the workroom studio to learn more.
  2. Sign up for a workshop! 
    We just posted our first batch of July workshops and have many coming up in June with spots free. This will be your last chance to join us in our Queen Street location. Come take a class with us and enjoy these last sessions in this space we've called home for six years. We'll be posting more dates for July and August shortly
  3. Shop the store in person or online. 
    We'd love to see you and help you get some project supplies or sewing treats for yourself. The online shop is always open for some late night or weekend retail therapy. Treat yourself to a bundle or tool you've had your eye on.
  4. Buy a gift card.
    Buy yourself or someone you love an online gift card for the workroom. Gift cards are available in many denominations and can be used towards future purchases and workshops. 
  5. Hug a workroom team member!
    Our team is honestly the best. Past and present, we have been so lucky to have so many talented and hardworking people work at the workroom. Each of them has shaped what we are today in their unique way. Please thank them, give them a hug or a high five when you see them. That kind of support and love is priceless and means the world to us. 

No matter what, please know that this is not the end of the workroom. Not even close. This is just the next step in our evolution. We have many more incredible things we need to do and learn together. I promise, I have many more things up my sleeve and I'm so excited to be making some big drastic changes so that we can finally make some longtime workroom dreams come true.

the workroom really loves you!

p.s. I'm sure you'll have a hundred questions. I don't know all the answers today but I'll keep sharing what I do know each week here and inside the workroom studio community.

June 03, 2023 — Karyn Valino