Next month, I’ll be hitting the road with Steve Cone for our Advanced Upholstery Masterclass. On July 15th, we’ll be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota teaching at Design Works Studio. A week later, on July 22nd, we’ll be up in Outing, Minnesota at Anna’s Alterations, Restorations and Upholstery.
I love teaching. I love meeting students, other professionals, and curious hobbyists. But with so many options for free education online, and so much we can figure out on our own, I have to constantly consider, “Does anybody NEED these classes? What are we offering that is worth their time and money?”
Questions I take very seriously.
Happily, I DO believe in the immense value of continuing education. There are so many reasons to attend! For today, I’ll just give you five 🙂
Well. . . of course! That’s the obvious benefit – perhaps learning new techniques, perhaps refining your skills. The funny thing with upholstery is that we often don’t know what we don’t know. We are problem solvers, and self-teachers. We HAVE to be! But what if there’s a faster way? A more efficient way? A more successful way? There’s always something to be gained from casting a wider net in our education.
I learned to tie springs from a book, and from my mom (a self-taught pro) and thought I was pretty boss, yeah!!!! Then I worked under Diana Shroyer-Guenther, and DANG! You should see my springs, now <3 <3 <3
I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Another time, I complained to Steve about how attached-cushion ottomans took all day and STILL turned out screwy. “Oh, they aren’t so bad once you know how to do them!” He was right. Now they take me a quarter of the time AND turn out better. Go figure.
In the case of the ottoman, knowledge immediately led to efficiency, and time is certainly money. We CAN wrestle our way through, but self-teaching and learning from books . . . my goodness, the biggest problem is that it’s time consuming.
There are two obvious ways to increase your income as a pro: charge more or get faster.
When I say faster, I DO NOT mean rush or get sloppy. I mean less struggle, less guessing. What’s nice is that an investment in education often means you get faster AND your results are better. Win, freaking win!
Most of us haven’t had third party validation that we “know what we’re doing” I had a hard time owning the term “professional” because nobody told me, “NOW you’re a professional!” That can undermine our confidence. At least it undermined mine. ANY opportunity to learn adds a brick to the foundation you stand on. It’s always more fun to meet with a client when you feel confident in your ability to make them happy. Right?
4. Earn more
Two obvious ways to earn more: Charge more or get faster. Knowledge increases efficiency which increases profit. Knowledge creates confidence, and confidence is key to charging a professional rate because you’re CONFIDENT of delivering a professional result.
As much as I value everything discussed above, I think this is often the most important benefit of all. We’re a small and scattered industry. Upholstery can be isolating, especially if you’re self-taught, or self-employed. Connections with other professionals carry infinite opportunities for return.
Personally, networking has been the single most important factor in my own journey. It’s led me to jobs, to clients, to students, to business solutions, to mentors. It’s easily meant the difference between hobby and profession.
Workshops are an opportunity to connect, face to face, with others who share our successes and struggles. Connections offer encouragement, reassurance, empathy. Yup. We’ve had the same frustrating client conversations. We’ve had the job from hell. We’ve also been hugged by and cried on by someone picking up Dad’s chair. We understand the satisfaction of tired and calloused hands. We, too, embarrass our spouses by feeling around underneath furniture. (Shhhhh, I’m just checking the springs.)
We get you. And we can’t wait to meet you.
To join us next month, go to, “Summer Workshops.” There you’ll find more information and links to register.
Topics planned include:
- Spring tying (coil springs with a wire edge)
- “Sewing that sucks” (including attached cushion ottomans!)
- Finishing touches (double-welt, nailhead, etc)
- Moving your business in the right direction (without going crazy)
- AND OF COURSE: Open Q&A (because number 5)
See you there! Cynthia & Steve