My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #389: Growing Pains

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-03-2011 01:41 PM 3982 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 388: Know When It's Time to Make Changes Part 389 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 390: Lots of Little Things Accomplished »

Usually I don’t see myself as someone who complains and moans a lot. Some may disagree, of course, but I think for the most part, I let a lot of things go and try not to sweat the little stuff. There is something that makes me want to apologize for yesterdays’ post being whiny and there is part of me feels really good because I am standing up for myself. Not that I have really done anything yet, but just drawing the line in my own head and knowing within myself that things are going to change makes a big difference.

Now, I am not going to go on any rampage or anything silly like that. As with most of you, even though I am self-employed, these people are my business colleagues and as I have said many times in the past, we need each other in order to function. I don’t want to say or do anything (especially when my emotions are very high) that I would later regret.

The phrase “speak softly and carry a big stick” comes to mind, although with a bit of modified thinking.

As difficult as it is to admit, the only reason that I am in the position that I find myself in right now is because I allowed it to go this far.

“There are no victims – only volunteers” is another phrase that comes to mind (Oh – those Roosevelts were full of wisdom, weren’t they?)

My grandmother taught me that one and it was one that stuck with me throughout my life.

How true those words are in so many cases. How many times do we put ourselves into situations that are not what you would say “beneficial” to us only to cry “victim”?

Not me and not now.

Whatever things are with my business, it is because of choices that I alone made. I can’t blame anyone for holding a gun to my head and forcing me to do anything. I take full responsibility for where I am and also for the issues that I am encountering at the moment.

Although it feels comforting to know that many agree with me and feel my pain regarding the issues that I have talked about the past couple of days, I found that ultimately, I begin to feel like a victim. That is a hat I don’t like wearing very much. I don’t want it to appear to be the big bad companies against the long suffering designer. There is no pleasure for me being in that role.

I would much rather have my peers and customers and business associates look at me with admiration and respect. I want to pull myself out of this situation that is detrimental to my business and turn it into one that will not only make it grow, but also earn the respect of all of the above. After all, respect is something that is not given unless it is earned.

The way I am going to do this, is by being honest and fair and also by being realistic and starting to look out for myself and my company first and foremost. That doesn’t mean that I am going to be unfair or harsh with others, but it means that in my future decision making, my first and foremost bottom line will be what is healthy for me.

There is nothing mean or unscrupulous about that. After all, if my business isn’t healthy, how can theirs be? They depend on me as I do them and if I continued on the way I am it would only be a matter of time before I dropped off like so many have done before me and then they would have nothing. They are not designers. They need designers to be able to offer quality products to their customers. They could hire full time people, but I can’t believe the quality of the work would be the same as mine and my other designer colleagues that also supply them with projects. We have passion and experience as well as love of designing under out belts. It would be difficult, if not impossible for them to find replacements for us with those qualities – at least not at the wages they would be wiling to pay.

So let the campaign begin.

I won’t go back on any previous commitments that I made. After all, they are commitments. However, as new things arise, you can rest assured that things will be thought out and dealt with in a different way. No more bending over backwards for things that aren’t beneficial to me and my company. No more selling out cheap. It is time to be a business woman and work on the business part of my job.

This shouldn’t affect me very much, as I always try to hold myself to the highest of standards in regards to fairness and service to my customers and my wholesalers. I just need to learn to use the word “no” when others try to push the line with me. When put in those terms, it sounds easy, doesn’t it?

I have come to the conclusion that if the catalogs don’t want to take my designs, then it is their loss. I am not going to shelf this seasons things and hold back on them unless the companies want to pay me for exclusives. I had offered to do exclusives in the past for some of the companies and no one bit. Perhaps they didn’t want to take the risk and invest the money. The ones that did buy exclusive designs from me in the past have grossly underpaid me for them. I took them up on it because I was desperate at the time. But as they say “that ship has sailed” and the offer is no longer on the table. I am seeing more and more that when I sell exclusive rights to others, I am only creating competition with myself. In today’s market, which is not doing great, I can’t afford to do that anymore.

So with all that said, I take a deep breath and prepare to move on. I feel much better about things though, as I no longer feel trapped. The word “no” allows us so much freedom. As difficult as it is to use sometimes, it is extremely empowering when we finally figures it out. I look at this time in my business-life as a new beginning. Perhaps these past weeks were just growing pains and a necessary part of moving toward success. I certainly hope so.

Have a great day and thank you all again for your encouragement and support.

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

9 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4160 days

#1 posted 07-03-2011 02:02 PM

something that I learned last year (was presented with the wisdom over and over again) was that we need to tell our stories.
It is through telling our stories that we develop a greater understanding of what is happening and where we are headed. And it is by hearing others’ stories that we get a clearer understanding of life and we, hopefully, receive the wisdom to guide us along our own paths.

Your story, yesterday, made us, the readers, put ourselves in your shoes – not only to cheer you on through the assertiveness part, but to experience the integrity behind your choices and the efforts to not put others down etc. Lots of wisdom held within your words yesterday and today.

We are each here on this planet to contribute in some way. When we hide our light under a basket, and diminish what we do, then we aren’t honouring ourselves or anyone else. Being true to “you” is being true to your contribution to the bigger picture and to the talents and gifts that you have been given, to share with others.

As you have stated, this is “your journey” and all choices are yours to make, given the circumstances that are presented.

You go girl!!!!!
We’re behind you all the way :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4160 days

#2 posted 07-03-2011 02:04 PM

(oops… taking off my “other job” hat) haha :)
Back to woodworking—good luck with your new goals!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2615 days

#3 posted 07-03-2011 03:11 PM

Sheila . you hit a good point ” YOUR HEALTH ” is the most important key in your life and ever thing you do .
Take care of #1 yourself and it will take care of you I’m not a doctor ; But I would say you are STRESSed
Stress is simply a fact of nature—forces from the inside or outside world affecting the individual.
stress can be a neutral, negative, or positive experience. Good luck on your new goals or adventures ( I like to say )

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#4 posted 07-03-2011 07:32 PM

When you mentioned that you’ll honor any current commitments, that just shows where your morals are at. If more people had those kind of morals these days, the world would be a much better place.
I have often found myself thoughout my life honoring previous commitments at a loss to myself. The lesson from it though is to not make any future commitments that will hurt me the same way. This is something we all must learn the hard way. A commitment is something that must be honored. Where I come from a man (or woman) is only worth the weight of their word. You can’t let it happen in the future though.
That doesn’t mean you won’t make different kind of commitments in the future that hurt you in some other way. You just have to do the same with those and learn another lesson.


View Leldon's profile


67 posts in 2872 days

#5 posted 07-03-2011 07:45 PM

Sheila, I’m proud to call you a friend! You are a very important designer to all the companies you ‘work’ for. It’s about time you get to say it will be this way. I am bothered by the fact that one company you work for says they will only use new designs, but are running a series of patterns that had already been published! Stay strong and you will come out ahead of the rest, with quality actually test cut patterns and you know people will come back!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#6 posted 07-03-2011 10:15 PM

As always – you guys are the BEST! :) It seems that I never can tell you all how much I appreciate you all as friends.

I AM glad that I took the time think and get grounded again. I feel as if things were slipping out of my control and I didn’t like it one bit. It was making me feel more than the usual stress, as I wonder where it would end and what would happen to me if I can’t work at this job. It is truly what I love to do and want to make it work.

As far as my morals go, I try to do what it right. I believe I was raised knowing right from wrong and even if I am angry or disappointed, I try to treat others how I would like to be treated. I do feel that if I keep on my own path and do what I believe is the right thing, things will work out in the end. If they don’t, at least I know I gave it my best and played fairly. :)

Have a great evening!

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

View stevebuk's profile


57 posts in 2683 days

#7 posted 07-03-2011 10:49 PM

i personally think that you need to think more about what you want to charge for doing the stuff for these media folks before actually committing anything to them , it has to be financially viable for both but more so for you as you do all the work, ok so they get it out to a wider audience, but without the design in the first place there is no magazine or whatever.

Take some time out, do yourself other designs and make a decision after you have completed it how much you ‘need’ for the input and work you have created, and if they dont want to pay it, they dont get it.

Of course i dont know how you fair without the media buying your designs, but judging by your website it looks like a good source of designs for any scroller to get to grips with.

I wish you well in your quest, and as already mentioned by Leldon, i like to think of you as a friend, although we have never met i still feel proud of the help/advice you have shown to this brit, and for that i will always be available should you need any assistance, you know how to find me.

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 2913 days

#8 posted 07-03-2011 11:40 PM


-- Steven Davis - see me at

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#9 posted 07-04-2011 01:13 PM

Thanks to you Steve and Steven!

I am taking the time I need to think things through. I talked yesterday with my good friend who is also a designer and it was good to talk things over with him. We all know that this just isn’t me that this is happening to. It seems that it is pretty much across the board how these company do things. And then they wonder why they are losing business and customers.

As I said, I am going to continue to follow my path. I have other options – one being doing the painting and kits for the tole painting company. They so far seem fair and seem to be looking out for the designers too. Maybe that is because the one in charge is a designer herself. I know it is early in the game, but I am happy with the way they have treated me and the fairness in giving me what I asked for as far as price for my work. At least I don’t feel like I am working for nothing when I do work for them.

I also have the surfaces that I am making for the other painting designer and her projects will be published shortly. We will need to see where that will go too.

There are options that I am creating for myself, so I am not ready to give up just yet. As long as there are options, I will be OK.

These past couple days have done me good. Everyone’s input, as well as my own thinking things through have shown me that there will be ways to make this work for me and I will be OK. It was just time for reevaluation.

Take care and thanks again, Sheila

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

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