My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1231: Diversification

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-27-2014 01:03 PM 1334 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1230: Ballerina Kit Production Part 1231 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1232: Networking »

I am often asked how I found my success by people who are thinking of starting their own business. I find this a hard question to answer, because the term ‘success’ means different things to different people.

For myself, doing something that I love to do every day is a degree of success. The fact that we are able to survive financially on that business and that we are comfortable with that level of income also adds to the mix. That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t like to do better, but for now it is adequate to meet our daily needs and we both feel that there is lots of room to expand and grow as a company and as a business so that we can count on it for the long term. There is a world of possibility ahead for us.

One of the most important factors in keeping our business healthy is diversifying. As with many other aspects in life, diversification is something that not only expands your company into several different areas, but also protects it if one of those areas were to fail further down the line. While it certainly takes a bit more work to diversify, I feel it is well worth the extra time and effort in offering peace of mind and security for the business as a whole.

When I started out, I focused mainly on creating woodworking patterns for the scroll saw. This was something that I loved to do and still is the very heart of my business. But scroll sawing is a very specialized part of woodworking and from a marketing point of view, scrollers are only a small percentage of those who do woodworking.

Being someone who enjoys decorative painting as well, I saw a need for expansion into that venue. To me, woodworking and painting go hand in hand and providing both patterns and wood pieces for the decorative painters not only keeps me creating, but it also allows me to work in not one but two wonderful industries that are very creative. I am very pleased at the response that my work and designs have had from the painting community. And while I don’t intend to give up creating woodworking and scroll sawing patterns soon, I know that as time goes on I will be doing more work in both areas and developing patterns for each of them.

Yes – it is a bit more work. But it is hard to call it ‘work’ when I am enjoying myself so much. I think that one key to my own successes here is that I price things fairly. And by the term ‘fairly’ I mean not only fair for the customer, but fair for myself as well. It takes a lot of trial and error to finally get to that place. But with a little time and patience, it can be done.

I spent most of yesterday filling out orders and getting them ready to ship today. I was very pleased that the wood kits that I am offering seem to be doing so well. While sometimes it is a juggling act to balance everything completely, the diversity that offering wood pieces for painters is a part of our business that is growing at a nice pace, and I enjoy it very much.

Before I got involved in offering kits, literally weeks would pass when I wouldn’t be able to use my scroll saw or do woodworking at all. I was drawing and editing, but the time creating patterns and writing and marketing far outweighed the time that I was able to spend actually making the projects. I found myself missing that part of the business and really looked forward to the time when I would be able to build projects again.

But by offering wood kits and pieces, it seems that I am at the saw a little bit more often. This not only helps me keep my skills up to par, but it is also a lot of fun. I truly enjoy the process.

I also find that my time spent sawing and creating is a great time for me to think of future projects that I want to make. As with many things, one project leads to another and before I know it I have another long list of things that I want to do. As I said the other day, this is what I consider ‘job security’ and I don’t think I will ever live long enough to develop all the ideas that I have. It is a good place for a designer to be.

With that said, I am going to leave off here. I realize that I only scratched the surface of this topic, but I hope I perhaps got those of you who are considering your own business thinking a little. While I realize that there is a fine line between diversification and spreading yourself a bit thin, I think that it is up to the individual to test the waters and see what the needs are in your own area as far as expanding your business. I believe you need to tailor your own business plan to your own needs and the demands of your area. I do think that by diversifying your businesses a bit, you are providing yourself with a bit of a safety net so that if one aspect of your business doesn’t preform well or fails, the other legs of your business will be able to keep it going. That is just good common sense.

After a cold and snowy weekend, I am looking at a calm day outside. I have an article for the magazine that I am finishing up writing and then I am going to be doing some work on an exchange project that I want to mail out tomorrow. After that, I have some great new ideas that I want to develop for both scroll sawing and painting. It is going to be a good week. I wish you all a wonderfully productive week as well.

Happy Monday to you all!

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

6 comments so far

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2941 days

#1 posted 01-27-2014 02:38 PM

Excellent start to, what I hope is a series. As I explained to you and Keith, in a E-Mail the other day< I know that you have many areas of business and need/want to serve all areas and find new ones. You are very correct in saying that success will mean different thing to different crafters. In my Marketing classes, the term was “guns and butter”. That simply means create something for all people and any time/economy. Past history is a good measure stick by, like any retailer, you need change in your product line so that your customer does not always see the same thing.

Thanks to both of you for what you do and best of success in the years to come.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.



53 posts in 3854 days

#2 posted 01-27-2014 04:56 PM

Sheila, that was a very interesting read and well stated. Thanks for all of the good advice, I wish you success and great fortune in your business.


-- never enough time in a day so use it well

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2129 days

#3 posted 01-27-2014 06:02 PM

Good morning Sheila. You have a great common sense approach to business which has been been a great part of your success. Diversification is a big part of a successful business.
Talking of the painting side of your business, I finally got a couple of hours yesterday to get back working on painting my tote box. A very enjoyable couple of hours! My aim is to have it finished this week. Fingers crossed! :)

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2976 days

#4 posted 01-27-2014 06:29 PM

Thank you all! Yes – There are many different ways to diversify and I think it is important for everyone to explore what avenues are available to them. One niche usually won’t support a company or person. If something were to happen and everything was invested in one specialty, you would lose it all.

I am anxious to hear what works for others as well. :)


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

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2860 days

#5 posted 01-28-2014 12:41 AM

What everyone else said, plus a thnx from me for your professional input/output. It’s well appreciated.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2976 days

#6 posted 01-29-2014 11:19 AM

You are very welcome, Roger! :)


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

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