Sunday, March 21, 2010

How to Balance your business with your craft

The truth of it all is, people who have talent with hands-on skills aren't usually the most technologically inclined. At least that is the case with me.

I can build just about anything out of wood; I know many different joinery techniques and when to use with for the best use; I know what wood to use for what result; but sit me in front of a computer and most kids can do better.

I've gotten better over the years, but it's just not a skill set that suits me.

The first time I started my shop I believed I could do it all. I was prepared to build custom furniture for people. I quickly figured out that being in business for myself meant I had to do it all. I had to make the bid, I had to buy the materials, I had to make the invoice, I had to collect the payment and I had to pay my bills. And that was just basics when jobs came in. I also realized I'd have to advertise and do my own sales. Eventually it was just too many hats for me to wear. When those doors closed, I promised myself I wouldn't do it the same when it came time to reopen.

I met my partner about 9 years ago. We were friends and, as we got to know each other better, I realized she had the skills to wear the other hats I needed. So, a few years later, I asked her to be the "Office" to my "Shop".

She can't build the furniture, but over time she's learning this industry. What she can do is all of the accounting, advertising (to include photographing the finished products), some drafting/ design for bids, and she's learning enough to start doing more sales and buying. But she's someone that is good with a computer and office skills and, in direct contrast to the original point, she's just not that hands-on inclined.

My recommendation to all considering making a go of this industry - or similar industries - stick to your strengths and find someone to fill in where you are lacking!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mission Dresser featured

I've been featured again.
Check out this wonderful blog:

You have to scroll down a little on the right side, but you'll see the Mission dresser along the edge and a link back to it on Etsy!

Thanks again that wonderful blogger for featuring my work.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mesquite ACEO cards SOLD and why I won't make more

So this is the set of 25 Mesquite ACEO cards.
These along with two sets of 5 cards have sold.
I've got a few more listed here and about 12 more that will be listed soon. And those will be the last of it.
Now they are obviously popular enough, they aren't even hard to make and I'm mostly using leftover materials from other jobs, so the expense can't be the problem.

Unless you count the damage they cost.
To explain, mesquite is problematic to work. On the table saw the smell is overwhelming. And it eats up a blade in no time. My clothes end up stinking and stained from the dust mesquite creates.
But the worst part was the fire. That's right, working a bit of mesquite nearly set fire to the shop.

After running some mesquite through the saw, I stopped to take a break and turned off the saw and the dust collector that was attached. As I sat there talking with a friend, we realized we smelled something still burning. At first we figured it was left over from the when the saw was running. But after a few moments it was getting worse and not better. Looking over we realized the dust collector was actually burning! We rushed over to put it out and ended up with a hole that has since been patched.
Apparently, as the mesquite was running through the saw, it was destroying a nearly new saw blade and throwing sparks. The sparks were sucked throught the duct work into the dust collector where they ignited the sawdust.

So, I'll be making other ACEO cards, but mesquite is off the list.


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