Updated: Jan 14, 2019
It's finally here! After all those weeks of teasing posts, the build-up of the giveaway (congratulations to our winner by the way!), and after a lot of hard work from the both of us, we can now welcome you to spoonievillage.com. How cool is that?!
First things first, we’d love to say a huge thank you for everybody who signed up to our mailing list over the past few weeks. More than 350 of you told us that you wanted to be kept up to date with what we’re trying to build and create here and we couldn’t be more grateful to you. If you didn’t sign up before the website’s launch, don’t worry! You can still sign up at the bottom of the page, or choose to be signed up when you log into our forum or buy from our store (more on those bits later!) But anyway, on with what we came here to talk about!
So the first thing we should probably talk about in this first blog post is the question we've been asking ourselves throughout the whole of the past few weeks: What made us decide to build a whole new website from the ground up? Well, there's no single answer to that question, in fact there are quite a few, so we're gonna talk you all through the major ones here right now. So go make yourself a brew, grab some biscuits, get into your favourite comfy chair and make yourself at home while we bring you up to speed with everything that's happening around The Village.
As you've probably noticed by now, Spoonie Village is no longer a one-gal operation. It is now a team of two Spoonies, with Tom being the new half. You will get to know him a lot better over the coming months, but if you haven’t met Tom already here’s a few things you should know about him. He loves a decent coffee (Ethiopian coffees are his favourites), he would adopt every dog he sees if he could (in fact, the majority of animals), he is basically a pun making machine and loves to wiggle (that’s as close to dancing as he can manage). Not only that, he’s also the website designer and builder, he will be ensuring there are no glitches in the system and it’s all running smoothly. Bringing new insights from his personal experiences with mental health and autism, as well as collaborating with fellow chronic illness warriors, he is here to help expand and grow Spoonie Village so we can provide even more awareness and diversity. Most importantly though, his main role (and most important) in all of this is to supply Hayley with hugs (plenty of hugs!).
Over the past year Hayley hadn’t been able to complete the things she wanted to, give it the attention she felt it deserved and hasn’t had the energy to pursue new ideas. As the year drew to a close and a new year was on the horizon, Spoonie Village was at a bit of a cross roads. As Hayley always says, “things happen for a reason, trust the timing of the universe” and it was around this time Tom discovered Spoonie Village - In fact, it was the day he helped post out the bundles of 2019 calendars. At first Hayley was hesitant of opening it up because it felt so very personal and something she was very protective of. Also, it’s the one thing that help give a sense of independence, so that combined with accepting help being something she’s typically not so good at, it’s fair to say it took a bit of getting used to (she didn’t even allow Tom to follow straight away). However, after some open conversations it felt like the right time to go for it and introduced Tom to the countless unfinished ideas, notebooks full of scribbles and showed him what she was always doodling away on her iPad for (oh and he did get to follow!) Not long after all that, a conversation happened that went a bit like this...
Tom: This is such an awesome project with a really amazing community, why haven't you tried expanding it?
Hayley: I've not been well enough and I don't really know how...
Tom: I’m pretty good with nerdy internet stuff, why don't we do it as a team?
[An absolute ton of ideas were exchanged at this point]
Hayley: LET'S DO IT! *Starts dancing and humming the theme to The A Team*
Okay, so perhaps we've taken some (plenty of) creative license with the retelling of the story but that's kinda the gist of it. So now Tom has taken on all of the boring admin jobs, as well as all the nerdy techy stuff, giving Hayley the time and space to carry on doing what she does best: designing amazing Spoonie artwork and products and putting them together in pretty packages for you all!
That leads us onto another of the major reasons for the new home. As a lot of you who've been around for a little while will know, Hayley's been selling her awesome Spoonie Village merch through Etsy for the past couple of years. This was a great place to get the Spoonie Village store on its feet, but it's fair to say that it's kinda outgrown the platform now. Also, what you might not know is that over the past few years Etsy have slowly been putting their commission rates up and introducing new charges to sellers, making it difficult to sell Spoonie Village merch without passing those extra costs on to you. Obviously, profit is in no way the main driving force behind Spoonie Village, but there are still bills that need to be paid, and no chronic illness is cheap to live with. Therefore, you'll find our shiny new store on this site! This has been built on a platform that takes zero commission and charges no listing fees, all we pay is the hosting fee for the website every month. This means that when you buy something from us now we can keep prices more reasonable for you all, and meaning that we can reinvest more into new products and The Village to provide you guys with even more cool ways to interact with us, each other, and chronic illness.
Speaking of interaction, moving into our new home has also allowed us to set up a forum for you guys! We've taken note of all the incredible support you guy give to each other in the comments of the Instagram posts, and the friendships that have formed there, and figured that the only natural progression would be to give you a more structured space to chat and share things in. We've set up spaces for you all to discuss your hobbies, your ideas for The Village, and of course to talk about all the different aspects of living with chronic illnesses and mental health issues. We really hope that you'll all join us over there, your contributions will be valuable in helping this space to evolve into something really unique and positive for Spoonies everywhere, and we also hope that it'll give you guys a space to be yourselves amongst people seeing the world through a similar lens. It’s intended to be a simpler place to interact, since we all know how confusing and cluttered Instagram’s notifications and comments can get. Obviously, this space has its rules and we ask that you read them before you begin posting (they're in the House Keeping section), but so long as you abide by the rules we're happy to collaborate with you all to evolve it into the kind of place you guys wanna spend time.
And collaboration is a big part of the ethos of Spoonie Village's new home, as you'll be finding out in this blog in the coming weeks! We want to give as many Spoonies as possible a voice and a platform to talk about their lives and experiences. It won't just be Tom and Hayley posting here, although we'll certainly be dropping by from time to time, but a whole range of different people with different perspectives on the worlds of chronic and mental illness. This is going to mean a variety of guest contributors ranging from other Spoonie creatives talking about how they manage the balance between creativity and chronic illness, to putting a spotlight on different illnesses to show how diverse our community is, right up to telling some of the inspirational stories behind some of our members. We’ll let you know about the specifics of our post schedule in the coming weeks, but we hope that this blog can provide engaging content that can provide a whole range of perspectives on what it means to be a Spoonie.
And that's about it from us for now. There’s also the resources section of this site that you’ll see is still being worked on, and we’ll tell you all about that nearer to its completion, just know that we’re super excited about the possibilities it represents!
In the meantime, thank you once again for being here (and if you read this far), we can’t tell you how grateful we are to be a part of such a wonderful community of Spoonies and we can’t wait to see where this new adventure takes us.
Until next time, love and spoons!
Hayley and Tom