Next in our series about Æthelmearc merchants is Mistress Gabrielle d’Auvergne of the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael.
What’s the name of your shop?
How long have you been in business (online or at events)?
I think I started selling at Pennsic 21, 1992. Thomas had been a weapons merchant for a couple of years, one of the first weapons merchants at Pennsic. I displayed a few items in his space. When he retired, I took over the entire space as Minerva’s Spindle. I have kept merchanting at only Ice Dragon and Pennsic, but recently opened a page on Facebook.
What website do you use?
I do not have an online presence, only on Facebook as of this year. This is not my full time work. I am a full time Storyteller, author and vocalist. This is my SCA business, although I am listed with some of my suppliers and do business mundanely out of my home.
What kinds of goods are you selling?
I sell spinning and weaving supplies, including fibers, yarns, looms, wheels and accessories associated with them. I am an Ashford and Harrisville dealer.
What are your most popular products?
Wool yarns, cotton spools of warp thread, and fibers, also drop spindles.
Are you also the artisan as well as the seller? I do not sell what I make. I do teach and am always willing to help new spinners on both the drop spindle and wheel.
Do you offer any kinds of discounts or special offers? If so, what? This business was born of my love for the SCA and my interest in the fiber arts. I have made it my goal to keep my prices affordable in an effort to support this art form. I have no control over prices from my major suppliers, such as looms and wheels, and so I offer discounts by way of shipping or tax inclusion, and occasionally, the inclusion of fiber for these larger purchases.
How has business been since the pandemic, and has the pandemic made it harder or easier to make items to sell?
We lost all of Ice Dragon and Pennsic which means the pandemic wiped out our only selling events. I have a lot of stock and so have not ordered more as I usually would for these events. As such, we have had little expense, but no sales. We had a flurry of small sales during Virtual Pennsic.
Is there anything else you’d like prospective customers to know? Minerva’s Spindle, since it began, has been considered one of the best merchants for your spinning and weaving needs. Some of our yarns are also suitable for knitting. If we don’t have what you are looking for, we will make every effort to find it. I try to keep to colors and materials appropriate to reenacting, but do have some fun items for mundane artisans as well. I put most of my inventory in photos on our Facebook page, but that doesn’t mean everything is there. Please inquire.
Are you an SCA merchant from Æthelmearc? If you would like to be featured in a future SCA Shop Talk post, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.