When I started Bumbershoot Creative, I had several strong motivations driving me forward. I wanted to support my community using the skills that I had built during my own time in the industry. I had a background doing advocacy work, but that work was stressful, the results were nebulous at times, and I needed to shift gears and be able to see my own tangible impact for a while. I also wanted to provide workers with the knowledge that they needed to learn how to build and update their own websites. I had heard far too many stories about sex workers losing their websites on unfriendly platforms like Squarespace and Wix, or when their developer ghosted them.
All these motivations still hold true for me. My favourite moments still consist of walking a customer through a WordPress lesson, helping them recover a domain name where their registration lapsed, or even recovering their old website data through the Internet Archive. However, a lot has changed for me in the past 2 years, some slowly and some quite dramatically; and I’ve reached a point where those cumulative changes and the ensuing burnout has affected my ability to continue with Bumbershoot Creative in the way that I had envisioned.
A lot of you reading this are either long-term friends, colleagues, or Bumbershoot customers, and while I don’t believe that any of you expect an explanation or details, I did want to take a moment to share. We are too often isolated in this industry and feel we are going through things alone, and I am personally guilty of not reaching out for help as often as I should.
What’s been happening?
About 2 years ago, I started in a vanilla tech job. It’s a job that I love 80% of the time, but it does mean having a pretty standard (but flexible) 8 hour day in front of the computer. Bumbershoot Creative development work has meant adding evenings and weekends on top of that computer time, and to be honest, it’s just too much time in the digital world. It’s too much sedentary time, and it’s too much bleed into my personal time with my partner, friends, and family. Combine that with having to constantly switch gears when hosting platforms and tech providers change their T&Cs, or legislative changes being hostile towards the sex work industry, and it has all led to me feeling very burnt out in the tech realm.
Because I’ve also been focused on other people’s websites, my own websites have been neglected. I’ve always used my own websites as proof-of-concepts to test out and learn about new technologies, plugins, and ideas, so not having time to work on my own projects has meant that I haven’t been able to polish up new and interesting ideas that I want to be able to pass along to you.
I’ve also felt creatively drained, which has meant no new proper projects in nearly 2 years, no festival submissions, and no experimental films.
These small shifts were already leading to burnout, but then in 2023 a close family member had a medical emergency and I needed to take unplanned leave for nearly 2 months. While things are improving and they are making a good recovery, I need to be able to drop any work obligations at a moment’s notice, which isn’t compatible with running a small, independent agency.
What’s the plan?
As of this week, I am officially handing Bumbershoot Creative business over to Sam.
We both want to make sure that this transition is as smooth as possible, so I will still be around for consults and advice for at least a few months while we make sure that everything is handed over properly.
Your websites and domains will all remain live, and we will be in touch soon regarding any changes that we may need your assistance with such as payment details or DNS changes.
Thank you all for your patience, your camaraderie, and your support over the years.
Your sex work-friendly web developer,