As I look around today and see the boxes filling up with patterns, I can’t help but think that I learned a lot in the past couple of weeks. For someone like me who isn’t used to doing this type of work, I feel quite accomplished having completed this order. I’ll be honest and say that I am getting ready to move on to other things by now. I want to clear out all these boxes and get my world here back in order and get some drawing and designing done. Looking back though, I feel proud of myself and I am happy not only for the opportunity for earning a little extra money, but also for the additional exposure that this will bring my business.
I realize that this kind of thing isn’t for everyone. Many people do woodworking and painting as a hobby, to make good use of their spare time and to be creative. Some people even sell some of what they make. But many don’t like the pressure of having to do things at this quantity and wouldn’t even consider it. I have heard many comments such as that, both privately and personally, and I realize that working this way isn’t for everyone.
But I also realize that there are very few people that actually have woodworking or painting as a sole support. Many of you who have said that have other jobs that they go to every day and they supplement their income with making some things as a side line. I believe that is a different scenario altogether.
If I were doing this as a hobby or on a casual basis, one of the last things that I would want would be to have the pressure of getting a large order such as the one I just completed done. To me, it would only cause additional pressure and anxiety on something that was supposed to be fun and relaxing. That would kind of defeat the purpose.
For me however, my business is my only income. While I realize that ultimately designing is what will bring me the greatest amount of income, I am not opposed to exploring the possibility of doing other things, such as production work to help make the business lucrative. Doing this type of work is something that I think warranted at least giving it a try and seeing how it goes. It was definitely worth looking into.
You all need to remember, I am still learning too. Up until a couple of years ago, my business was sluggish and many times cost me more than it was making. I came to a point of ‘sink or swim’ with it when I had to realistically look at things or wind up abandoning it altogether. Since consciously making that decision, I have been very careful to look at things from an analytic point of view. This is very difficult for anyone who prefers to think artistically, such as me. But I realized that if I didn’t retrain myself to do so, my business wouldn’t be able to last.
Now I am still not ‘perfect’ at this type of thinking. My partner Keith is very helpful in keeping my grounded, as he is more of a ‘numbers guy’ and tends to look at things from that side much more than I do. He was (and may still be) a bit skeptical about me taking on this job. I don’t think for a second that he would have taken it on himself. I believe he thinks that my time is better spent designing and doing other things that don’t require the hours of time that this did. I don’t think he felt that this was a good choice on my part.
But I do think that I surprised him. I don’t think he was aware of how quickly and efficiently I would be able to get things done and perhaps he was not used to seeing me work in this manner. I must admit too that part of my motivation along the way was that I wanted to prove him wrong. I’m stubborn that way. After these couple of weeks, I am happy that I am able to come out of this side of the job being able to make a decent profit. The way I look at it, it is money that I wouldn’t have had and as I said before, the exposure to my work is much farther reaching than just selling a couple of patterns. This will open my work up to an entirely new customer base and hopefully help with that branch of the company (the painting pattern branch) and perhaps even help with the woodworking side too. It is all good.
As I am finishing up packing the boxes today, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do this. Would I do things differently if presented with the same scenario again? Probably some things. But for the most part, I had a very enjoyable couple of weeks and have nothing but positive feelings regarding the job.
Now we have to see how they sell.
When I made the skating pond sets available in this manner, the initial order was for 72 sets. Later on, they placed an additional order for more sets, which means the 72 sold well. They came out in the September catalog so they had the entire autumn season where they were shown.
These patterns, while geared for Halloween and autumn, are going to be featured in the catalog that comes out in May. While this is the slower season for crafting, it means that they will have a longer time of being featured and that the possibility of selling additional sets to the company is very real. It will be interesting to me to see if they are re-ordered and how well they do. If they are reordered, it will be mostly in the summer months when things are slow anyway, so it will be a welcome thing for me.
I haven’t even looked at my deadlines, but I do want to start thinking about doing something for the Christmas or holiday season for the same company. I know I have lots of woodworking plans to draw, but I would like to keep at least one kit going if possible so that my name is out there and I will have some exposure in that area. It doesn’t have to be three like this, but having at least one would be nice and it would also be more manageable during the busy fall season. Just something that I am thinking about.
Today I am literally ‘wrapping things up’ here. I have to finish packing the last box and I plan to have them go out the door tomorrow. I worked on things most of yesterday, but I got a late start because I had so many errands and things to do. Even today I am still catching up on some emails from the weekend. The rest of my business has still continued as I have worked on this order. I have done my best to keep everything running smoothly.
Thank you to those of you who have commented both publicly and privately to show your support. It is nice to have a cheering section when doing something such as this. It really helped me push to the finish line when I was getting tired.
I look forward to actually drawing again, as I have many new designs that I want to see come to be. One more day of packing and then cleaning up and I will be able to start fresh tomorrow, knowing I accomplished a lot. It’s a pretty good feeling.
I wish you all a wonderful day today.
The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore. – Dale Carnegie
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"