My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #139: I Couldn't Do This Alone

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-20-2010 01:58 PM 3216 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 138: Getting the Picture Part 139 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 140: Every Day Isn't Exciting »

There are so many different facets to having my own business as a designer. Drawing the pattern and making the prototype are just a small part of the process. Once those steps are completed, then there is the task of making the pattern packet. This includes photography and writing. It also includes laying out the pattern in a packet format. Then comes the marketing part. I need to decide whether it going to the magazine or directly to the wholesalers and for sale on my own site. If it is going to the magazine it needs to be packed up and shipped out and then forgotten for the next six months or so until it is published. If it is going directly to the suppliers and on my own site, I need to send the information to them and also update my own site. On top of that there is filling orders and maintaining correspondence and communication with not only the magazine and wholesaler, but also my customers. Then there is producing and maintaining an updated catalog as well as providing articles and tutorial that are of interest and can be offered on the site. All these things are happening on a daily basis and certainly fill my day.

I often receive comments as to how organized I am. After many years of doing this I found that the only way to make it work is to be somewhat organized. I am fortunate right now that I have a partner who assists me with some of these tasks, as well as introduces his own designs. Our styles are quite different and I think it brings another dimension to the company in general and is very positive. I believe that much of my recent success with my company is due to my partners’ contribution. He has done the major backbone work on the site and is now in the process of compiling a completely updated catalog for fall which also will be presented in the next week. Both of these tasks are enormous and require a great deal of time and effort. As I see the progress on these two items alone, I know how very fortunate I am to have found such a person.

My own standards are quite high, as you may have realized, and it is very liberating to have someone working with me who constantly lives up to them and many times exceeds them. The more we work together, the more we see that things just fall into place as to the delegation of the day to day tasks. For many years I have worked alone and have had to do all these things for myself. I am humble enough to admit to you all that even though I did carry out what needed to be done, things weren’t done with such polish and professionalism as they are being done right now. Many time I am asked “How can you do it all?” and I reply that I don’t do it ALL. It is only with the help of my partner that I am able to do my work at the level it is.

Keith is also an excellent designer. I am amazed and very impressed at the level of his designs considering the short time he has been scroll sawing. It is a pleasure to work with someone so competent and talented. Although we don’t agree on everything every single time, we usually come to a compromise which will be helpful to the company and our own interests. It is a very positive situation.

So why am I going on about all of this?

It seems that recently I have had a lot of people give me credit for doing everything. It makes me a bit uneasy. Although it used to be that I did everything, that is no longer the case. My partner feels most comfortable behind the scenes and I (as you realize) am most comfortable in the role that I have had for so many years with my company. I want others to be aware that it isn’t just me that does all of the above things by myself. If my designs are better than ever, it is because I have the time to put into them because of the help and support I receive. I feel that the quality has been much higher than in the past because I can let go of the other aspects of the job for a bit and concentrate fully on the task at hand when drawing and producing a new design. There are still aspects that I do exclusively, but there are many times when I feel that things are covered and it makes things easier overall to concentrate and be creative. I suppose that is how a partnership should work.

As for today, I will be here at the computer for the day rewriting all the product descriptions for the new website. As I said, I took your advice and I am trying to include a rating to each pattern on the difficulty level. I have made it thorough 100 products so far and I hope I can finish the almost 400 products today. If I can achieve that then we are really close to finishing things up and being ready to publish. My partner already formatted the entire site and made things quite streamlined and easy to navigate. We hope that this will be a better experience for anyone coming to look for a certain type of pattern. We are also nearly finished with a brand new catalog that has been fully updated with over 50 new products. It is looking quite beautiful and I am very proud of it. It will be available for a free download on the site or I am going to print it and be able to send hard copies to customers who prefer it that way. It is all very exciting.

I have already set up the financial information and I believe everything is tied to the processor correctly, but I won’t be able to test things in that respect until it is live. I am sure there may be a few corrections or typos that need fixing, as there is a large amount of information, but I believe for the most part things look pretty good. I also need to make the pattern packets up for the new products so they are ready when the site goes live. It is a busy but exciting week for sure!

So I am afraid that I don’t have much exciting news for you all today. But I did want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank my partner for his part in making things so successful. I am a very fortunate girl.

I hope you all have a great day!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

3 comments so far

View BertFlores58's profile


1684 posts in 2341 days

#1 posted 10-20-2010 03:02 PM

Sheila, Indeed you are so fortunate to be successful because you have them all. If you let me assess what have you been doing for years… I can say you are so persevering and having a lot of patience in owning the tasks. You really are a workhorse of the company. I do believe that you can organize it. Suggests that other tasks should be delegated and be facilitated by machines. I know that it will boom and if so, are you ready to cope with the demand? On your previous blog you mentioned back-up and plan B or C. Prepare for contingencies too. Don’t get me wrong if I am too quick to suggest like this but I just want to help to best of my knowledge by relating my own experiences in the office where business is growing and demand is so high that we do train new ones to replace us on the tasks.

Good luck! More power. Take care of your health… your business cannot afford to let you be absent these days….

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8983 posts in 2339 days

#2 posted 10-20-2010 03:32 PM

I agree with you Bert. My own philosophy in business is that in owning a small company such as my own, it is important that the key people involved know how to do every aspect of the business. That doesn’t mean that they have to do them every day, but they all need to have knowledge to do them in case of an emergency.

I am not generally one to allow others to do things without seeing for myself and learning how they are done. I believe I would be foolish if I didn’t think in that manner. However, I realize that I am only one person and although I don’t have an in depth knowledge of some of the aspects of the business (such as the HTML for the site) I do have a general idea of it and can certainly function if need be.

When I look at other globally successful designers such as Coco Chanel and Louis Comfort Tiffany, I see that they are the backbones of their companies, but indeed had to delegate tasks to others. This did not impair the essence of their designs, but allowed them to do what they did best while accepting the input from other talented people. This helped their companies grow and prosper and become the amazing influence they were and are.

As the demand increases, I will carefully try to meet it. That means being open to change and allowing others who I deem responsible enough to make decisions and take on important roles. I think that some designers don’t want to let go of that control and that contributes to their becoming stagnant or failing. For myself, it feels good to have someone working with me in my corner and I am happy to give him all the credit he deserves and has earned. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View grizzman's profile


7781 posts in 2723 days

#3 posted 10-20-2010 05:14 PM

well you both work hard and have worked hard to make all of this happen…and its refreshing to see…i always enjoy watching someone find success from there labors….so i applaud you both…grizzman… was the soup…:) going to do ribs this friday..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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