My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #250: The Business of Scroll Sawing

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 02-08-2011 02:24 PM 4075 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 249: One More Day of Instructions Part 250 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 251: Printers, and Scroll Saws and Blades - Oh My! »

Work has been incredibly busy of late. I mean that in a good way. I don’t always get what I intend to get done, but it feels good to have a growing business and interact so much with so many interesting people.

I sent out the notices regarding the site update on Sunday. That has seemed stir up a great amount of activity. I say this like it is unusual because I can remember not so long ago when sales on the site were almost non-existent. I am quite happy that we took the time to get it into shape. I consider it a valuable asset to the business.

I receive inquiries from time to time regarding setting up websites and I don’t really know what to tell people. I purchased the license for the site almost ten years ago when a friend and I went to a “web site building seminar”. It was one of those things that were advertised in the newspaper at one of the large hotels in suburban Chicago where if you went for the day, you would get a free lunch. Kind of like how they sell time sharing properties. We thought “what the heck?” and spent the day listening to the sales pitch and wound up purchasing the licenses for a couple of sites.

Looking back, we paid WAY too much money for the licenses, but web site building was at its infancy and this was a way that I could do it myself without having to pay a large hourly fee to have all the programming done. These sites they were selling were on templates and an average Jane or Joe could plug in products and so forth and have an online business. Little did I know how much was really involved in developing it!

However, it has served its purpose well over the years. Even though it was nearly comatose for several years due to my lack of input, the small monthly hosting fee of $25 that I pay (after all the many start up fees) just seemed like a way of life for me and I continued to pay it without thinking – even though I didn’t even make that much back from it in many of the months.

I am glad that I hung on to it though, as with some nurturing and attention it seems to have flowered into quite an asset. The new software is amazing and even though the monthly fee is slightly higher, I feel it is well worth it.

I don’t know what to say to those who ask me what to recommend though. I wouldn’t say that I would send others down the same path that I have taken. In looking back, I don’t feel I made the wisest decision signing up for this package, but it is one of those “when life gives you lemons – make lemonade” situations where once the deed was done, there is no turning back and you learn to make the best of it. I certainly feel that I have done that and even though I have felt throughout the years like I am a salmon swimming upstream, seeing the results of the hard work that I have done is extremely rewarding and encourages me to push even harder.

I have used the analogy before that saving a failing business is like harnessing a runaway train. Not only do you have to make it come to a complete stop (cease to lose money) but you also need to begin moving in the opposite direction (begin to make money) and shift the momentum into a positive direction. It is a two step process and doesn’t happen overnight. Many people just plain give up when they see that is is not a quick fix. This is where patience is so important.

It isn’t that I am making a fortune or anything. I believe that I am still in the process of recovery from years of loss and bad decisions on my part. For those of you who are old enough, there is a song that comes to mind as I write this. “I’ve been down so long it looks like up to me” I think that I have teetered on just getting by to actually losing money so long that even this small sign of success seems incredible to me.

The train has been stopped. And now it is s-l-o-w-l-y beginning to move in the right direction. Given these economic times, that is a great feat in itself. I have been told many times recently by successful people who own their own businesses (many from this site) that if I can make it in this economic climate, when things are so rough, that when things recover I will be doing well. I have held on to those words of encouragement and I do actually believe them. The thought of the future is exciting and promising and although I know there are still hard times ahead, seeing this small upturn offers me something that is absolutely priceless – hope.

Some people wish for success. Others for riches. I have always said that if I had a wish, it would be for opportunity. Somehow to me, I feel that if given the opportunity I will do OK. Success would be so much sweeter having had to work for it rather than having it handed to you. At least I believe so. Some people say I have talent. But look around. Just about every single person I know has some talent in something. We all have our strengths. It is what we choose to do with them that makes us successful or not. We are, to a great extent, our own destiny. If we believe in ourselves, we all have a great power within us to do great things.

I look at all the opportunities I have in front of me and I know my wishes have come true. How can I ask for anything more? It it now up to me to work with them and make them work for me. It is going to be fun and exciting to see how this all will play out.

I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent. You all know I do that sometimes. I supposed I am still just overwhelmed and amazed at how things are going.

I heard from the company who I had written inquiring about the Excalibur saw yesterday. I talked to the owner on the phone and we had a very positive conversation. We talked honestly and frankly about what our goals were and I wrote up a semi-formal proposal for him. Naturally he needs to get something out of supplying me with the saw. I believe that I can offer him some good exposure. From what I have heard about it, it is a fine piece of machinery that will fit my needs and criteria nicely and his customer service is outstanding.

In speaking with him, I could hear the passion and dedication in his voice. He believes in his product and is someone who is dedicated to not only offering the best product, but also stands behind it. That is what I am looking for. That is the kind of company that I want to be associated with. He mentioned that he has been working with the same distributor for over 25 years and I like that too. Stability is so important to me in these times of economic chaos.

He promised to look things over and make a decision and let me know sometime today. I look forward to hearing what he decides and no matter what his decision is regarding me, I have and will have a great deal of respect for him and his company.

I also heard from the contact from Olsen blades and he is sending me samples to give out at the show. This is also great news because I really do believe in my heart that these blades are the best on the market. I think they make a big difference in how your work comes out and I will be so pleased to be able to give them out to people so that they can give them a try. I believe that they will change the way some people think about scroll sawing in general.

So there is lots of excitement and good things to look forward to. The day is just beginning and I already feel good about things. I hope you all have a good day ahead of you too.

-- 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 Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3045 days

#1 posted 02-08-2011 08:49 PM

Sheila, I thank you for your tips and recommendations on websites. We are in process of setting one up for our projects but have been held back by slowly recovering from illnesses that came one after another. We kept passing it on to each other. Knock on wood, but seem to be finally getting over the hump. Took darn near 2 months and I can say it weren’t no picnic. Have not been in the shop much either due to feeling poorly.

I am delighted to hear about your successes in various venues and wish you all the best. Way back when I was searching for a scroll saw it came down to Hegner and Excalibur. I can think of no particular reason we chose Hegner over Excalibur except that at the time I preferred orange over black and green! Dumb reason?? However, it was a good choice and I have not regretted it but that’s not to say that had I chosen Excalibur the same results would be true! I do believe that either machine would be more than satisfactory and would serve you well. Good luck in your decision. Of course getting a great deal will definitely sway your decision but with a choice between these 2 machines you can’t go wrong!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View stevebuk's profile


57 posts in 2712 days

#2 posted 02-08-2011 10:57 PM

hi sheila
lovely insight into your past and hopefully you will move forward and upward in your ventures, i cant see how you could fail.
I am also pleased you may be getting the Excalibur too, they sell that saw over here now and i have mentioned to the wife that if my Delta fails then thats what i want to go for, if all goes well maybe give us a review of your findings.
good luck..

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2947 days

#3 posted 02-09-2011 02:35 AM

Thanks to you both for your encouragement.

Erwin, I hope you and Edith are on the mend. I didn’t realize that you were not feeling well but I did notice that I haven’t seen you around here for a bit. I am sorry to hear you have had a rough go of it and am happy you think you are doing better.

Steve – I hear lots of good about it and hopefully it will fit my needs well. I am sure I will be reporting on it after I get it. :) It will be interesting to see how things go and it will also be quite different working on a different saw after all of these years. I am looking forward to it a lot.


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

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