Wow, was yesterday a busy one! There were so many details to attend to that the day just seemed to fly by. Today is another day that will be extremely full, as I have several tasks that I have to complete. But for the most part, the major things are done and the site update and new catalog are pretty much completed. (We want to proof read it just one more time!)
I have to hand it to my partner Keith and give him lots of credit. He took most of last week redesigning and assembling the catalog. He is even more of a perfectionist than I am (I have mellowed somewhat in my old age!) and it truly shows in what he does. His favorite word is ‘consistency’ and he makes sure that everything in our catalog is presented in a professional way. I see our catalog get better and better with each issue, and I feel very, very fortunate to have such a talented partner in which to share the business. Here is a snapshot of the cover of our new catalog:
Although there aren’t really any ‘pink clouds’ there, they are beautiful warm shades of peach and I think they make a nice presentation. Perhaps our mutual influence on each other is showing through a bit after all.
The new book is available for free download on the site here:
If you get a chance, take a look and let us know what you think of it. It is a bit of a large file (just over 5mb) so you do need to be patient if your internet is slower, but it is filled with color photographs of over 400 of our patterns and products. (It is 20 pages)
It rather startles me to see everything that we make in one place like this. I found myself looking at the printed copy and thinking how cool it is that the two of us are able to accomplish what we do from our little place here. When I think about it, I think we do OK for a little home based business, and between us we cover the bases pretty well. Not only do we draw and create the patterns, we write the instructions, make the prototypes, build and manage the web page, do all the photography, ordering, customer service and advertising, book work, and printing too. Even though the name of the business is ‘Sheila Landry Designs’, I want to be clear that my partner Keith is every bit as much a part of the business as I am. There is no way that we would have ever been able to reach this level of work without his dedication and contribution.
We are just now coming up to the anniversary of when we met. It has been three years and while in some ways it seems like just days ago, in others it seems as if we were working together forever.
It is odd we work together so well because we are so different from each other in many aspects. There are things I like to do much more than Keith, and vice-versa. But oddly enough, that is a huge part of why things work so well. Between the two of us, we cover the bases very well and it makes our company much broader and dimensional than if I were by myself.
Three years ago, Keith barely knew what scroll saw was. His dad has an old relic of a scroll saw in his basement which he used to build his model boats and helicopters, but Keith could probably count on one hand the number of times he had used it. In the beginning, Keith started drawing some designs, as he was always great with computers and took to that part of things very easily. He used to want to only draw and have me cut them out for him, which I refused to do. My feelings on that were that if he didn’t learn to cut and learn what the wood would tolerate, he wouldn’t be able to make patterns that were workable and easily accomplished. This is the kind of stuff that you can’t just learn ‘on paper.’ In the beginning there was some grumbling and an occasional curse word as he was learning, but within a short time, he has become one of the best scrollers I know. It has been a pleasure to see his confidence soar as he practiced and learned.
My philosophy on our business and our company is that both of us need to know how to do each and every aspect of the business in order to make it work. While for the most part, we each have our own responsibilities and individual tasks that we normally do, I feel that it is important that we each know the others’ job inside out in order for us both to be successful. It is just good business. If one of us were unavailable or down for one reason or another, the business would still be able to flow and function normally.
We both tend to be a bit competitive. But instead of that causing conflict between us, we use that to our advantage and it brings us to a higher level of excellence. I wouldn’t be honest if I said that we don’t bump heads from time to time, but on the rare occasion when we do, we talk it over and are able to come to a compromise that we are both comfortable with and move on. That is what having a good partner is all about.
I am very proud of our new catalog, our patterns, our site and the company in general. We both work so hard to make it work for us and it is very satisfying to see it growing and developing. For some reason, this catalog in particular struck me as something that I am extremely happy with. On first glance, I was rather overwhelmed at the thought that WE created everything it contained. From start to finish. I think it is as professional and nice as even the biggest companies out there who have a staff of workers and work with many designers and creators. The ‘Sheila and Keith’ team do OK.
Today I still have a full plate in front of me. I plan on writing the email newsletter and getting that sent out to our customers, and I also still need to update the ‘News and Happenings’ page on the site. I have an article that I need to write for a newsletter that I am contributing to for another company (more on that later) and I still have one more set of ornaments for the Artist’s Club that I may or may not get finished by their deadline. And I want to start working on my next project for the magazine. I know what I am going to do, but I need to get drawing on it.
Life is busy yet fun. We got about 6-8 inches of snow yesterday, so it appears that winter is far from over. While I didn’t get to go for my walk in the woods (it was dark before I knew it and was still working!) we did take our usual night walk on the road. The night was clear, quiet and beautiful (oh – and cold!) and I did thoroughly enjoy the time out.
It is wonderful to be able to do what I enjoy. It is even better having a partner to share it with. I know he usually doesn’t read my blog (he told me that he has only read one or two from start to finish!) but I wanted to publicly thank Keith so much for his wonderful contribution to our company and my life. I couldn’t be where I am without him. I am very grateful for having him as a partner.
Have a great Monday!
-- 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"