We love sharing the stories behind the unique products we’ve sourced from skilled artisans and innovative makers; last fall, Claudia Chase shared the story of how Mirrix Looms came to be - click here if you missed it! Today, she will share some of the most recent challenges this family-owned company has faced and how they have evolved to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace. Enjoy!
Ah the changes that were to come!
My first partner, who had quit his Fire Engine building job to both run the manufacturing end of Mirrix and a landscaping company, decided that landscaping was enough; after two years of long-distant business together, he wanted out. I called a friend (in Wisconsin) who just happened to be flush after having sold a lucrative business and gave him the sales pitch of my life. Within a month he had both bought out my original partner and moved Mirrix to its current location: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Sunshine House, home of Mirrix Looms
Mirrix now lives within a facility that employs adults with mental and/or physical challenges. We are the only resident business and we love that status. In fact, we love everything about our new digs from the amazing folks who work there, especially the beautiful open spaces and a general sense of joy that permeates everything.
The only catch is that I had probably over-sold Mirrix at this point. I didn’t really want to grow it into a multi-million company and that really is the point of investing in a company: to grow it and sell it. However, I wanted to keep it forever - I considered it to be my third child, and I love it!
After a year, I bought out my second partner, leaving everything except the formal name the same: we became Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms, Ltd. In 2004, my daughter Elena decided that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to join the family business, and who was I to resist? Especially since she had been our website mistress ever since she was in high school. Armed with a Communications degree and all her energy and enthusiasm, Elena became Mirrix’s first-ever Marketing Director (and boy, did we need one!).
The Spencer Power Treadle
The changes to Mirrix since Elena came on board have been daily - a whirlwind of change on which we both thrive. The website is updated so frequently I can’t keep up with it! Our social marketing efforts has sent us to the top of the charts. And best of all, I get to work with Elena every day, although often through facetime since we live on different sides of the country.
You know how they say it’s all good (often in response to it being all bad)? Well, it really is all good! Mirrix now boasts eight different sizes of looms as well as kits, hand-painted silk and a bunch of wonderful accessories. Most recently, we added The Spencer Treadle which is an electric treadle that makes the very slow art of tapestry weaving a lot faster. We also supply a host of free ebooks and tutorials (found here on our website), sponsor fun events like weave-alongs on a regular basis, and have a constantly evolving YouTube channel.
As we grow, we change in fun and exciting ways to further serve the needs of our ever growing customer base. I am still amazed at all that Mirrix it has brought me, my family and our wonderful employees over the years. For us, the bottom line is not how much money we can make, but how much joy everyone who touches a Mirrix product can feel. From the world’s best employees to the world’s best customers, Mirrix has a lot on its plate and for that we are grateful!