Well, yesterday turned out to be a day where things just don’t go right. I know we have all had those days, and it was just my turn apparently. I wasn’t any one thing in particular. Just a lot of little things that added up I guess.
I did get all my cutting done, and that was a good part of the day. But in between cutting there were several messages that weren’t what I called positive. I can see my computer screen from where I cut, and I check in on messages every once in a while, as it keeps me moving around and helps me from getting achy when I am at the saw a long time.
The first message was from my new distributor. She had chosen some of my things for her catalog a month or so ago as she had discovered that she was short a page. She had picked some older items and also some of the newer ones such as a few of the See Creatures. I was happy because it was a good chance for me to reestablish myself with her, as I had done business with her company with the prior owner and although she moved away from taking patterns from outside designers, she said she would give me a try.
Her email said that there were a few of the patterns that I had sent her that were corrupted and I needed to resend them. That was no biggie, as I know that happens. She did go on however to say that things were starting out ‘sluggish’ and that she hoped they would pick up. That made me kind of sad.
Although I know we are far from out of the woods with the economy and all, it brought me back to reality. I didn’t quite know what she meant. Was MY stuff slugglish or was it that way across the board? I was afraid to ask her. She is the one that isn’t the great communicator and it is very difficult to get answers out of her anyway, so I didn’t even approach it. I sent her the patterns and said that I hoped it got batter and that was that.
But sitting at the scroll saw and cutting is my thinking time and I was dwelling on it. It was good to have another source of selling and I was hoping it wouldn’t be in jeopardy because of the slow start. I know she is all business and from a business point of view I felt at risk with her company. I wondered how long she would give me until she decided whether to keep me on as a supplier or not.
Then while I was thinking about all of that, I got the email with my August figures from my large company that wholesales my patterns. They have been struggling too as I have said and the numbers were not great. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t anything that I could hang my hat on either.
I spent the next couple of hours convincing myself that it was going to be OK. After all, their new catalog where I had all the new stuff in had just mailed out the final week of August, which means those numbers won’t even be counted until the September numbers come out. Also, it was still ungodly hot in most areas throughout August and people really don’t start thinking about getting back into their shops until kids are back to school and the weather changes a bit. So I had to keep convincing myself it would be OK.
Later in the afternoon, my other company’s August report came in and it was pretty much the same. Not horrible, but not what I had hoped for either.
Well, at least I got all the news at once and got it over with.
I continued on with my work, and tried to think things out. I think it hit me hard because my own site was doing better than it ever has done. If I were to look on the positive side, I would convince myself that if my site did this well in the slow times when even the large companies had dismal orders, it should really take off in the busy season. I just can’t wrap my head around that yet. It would be nice if that were the case, but I am not sure and it is hard to tell.
I talked about living in a time warp and patience the other day. This is what I was referring to. The way I look at it there are two choices – find something else to do or work harder. I suppose that is why there aren’t many designers making a living off of doing what I do. It is such a long road and some days seems endless.
When I told my partner of the news, he took it much better than I did. I had told you in the past that he was a ‘black cloud’ thinker and I was a ‘pink cloud’ thinker. I asked him if I could come over and visit on his black cloud awhile and he laughed and said that if I abandoned my pink cloud, what would he have to look forward to? It was odd that he was the one giving me the pep talk for a change. Usually I was the optimistic one.
Part of my disappointment was that I had seen him work so hard and had seen how beautiful his designs are and was sad that he wouldn’t be compensated as much and I hoped for his efforts. I was used to it, but I didn’t want to dampen his spirit and enthusiasm, as he is doing wonderful work. It surprised me that he was OK with things and turned to the role of encouraging me to keep trying. Maybe some of my pink cloud philosophy has rubbed off on him after all?
So I worked on my ornaments until after 9pm and finished them. Here is a picture of some of them. You can click on the title to see the rest or I will put them in my gallery later on:
|From SLD330 Sparkling Star Embellished Ornaments|
These are going to the magazine and I used the gel stains that I used on the candle trays to color them. They took about 3-4 hours to cut – longer than I anticipated, but I think it was because of the many interruptions I had yesterday. I won’t be able to sell these until they are published next Spring, but I can still sell the other ones done in the Pau Amarillo as they are different designs.
Today I am going to need to go to the bank and do my bookwork for August, but I hope to work on another candle tray and use some of the beautiful orange wood that I recently purchased. I am still waiting to hear from the host company about the “dreaded site update” and that should be coming up soon so I know I will have to deal with that.
As a silver lining on my day, I want to end on a positive note. I had a customer order some patterns Tuesday and she was from the UK. I emailed her the patterns and thought that was that. I received a message from her yesterday afternoon that although she had been charged, she never received confirmation or the patterns. I looked up her order and saw that everything should have been ok. I called her and talked to reconfirm her email and make sure that she didn’t have any filters on her mail and I resent the patterns one at a time and gave her an additional, similar pattern for her trouble.
Just before I went to bed, I received the nicest email from her. She praised my customer service and said that she would tell everyone she knew what good service and care I took with my patterns and the order. She couldn’t believe that I would phone her all the way in the UK to check and thanked me for the additional pattern.
It really made my day. It was a good and positive way to end it. It also reminded me why I do like doing what I do so much – the people. It just went to show me that if I take care of things and do the right thing, everything else will fall into place.
So that is what I will focus on. The positive things. The positive people. The great customers. And doing the best job I can.
I am not read to give up yet. :)
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"