Okay friends, let's put all our cards on the table. Because I really want to talk about what's happening with upholstery education in the U.S. Or rather, what's NOT happening. Whenever discussions ramp up around professional training, they inevitably circle back to trade schools and degree programs. It's a logical starting point, the way we … Continue reading Where did upholstery degrees go?
A couple years ago, I traveled to Denver for a Craftsy Instructor Summit. I met AAAAAAAAAAAmazing people, plenty of them. But one in particular stands out in my mind. . . Her name is Beverly Johnson. Otherwise known as, "The Fairy Bra Mother." Based in Ontario, Canada, Beverly has created a complete resource for the … Continue reading Riches in the Niches
I once saw "creativity" explained in neurological terms as the ability to take new information and rapidly connect it existing information. This, in a nutshell, is what you need to succeed in upholstery. Because you never see things you've seen before: You see VARIATIONS of things you've seen before. The successful upholsterer, then, is one … Continue reading In praise of (self) teaching
I'd like to discuss someone. Let's call him Mr. Rando. Today or tomorrow, Mr. Rando may find your business. He may call, or stop in, almost certainly while you're struggling with a deadline. Mr. Rando doesn't know anything about upholstery - but he's curious! He has questions! He MIGHT even have a project! (But probably … Continue reading Mr. Rando: why are so many upholsterers hiding from new customers?
I've been reflecting lately on the phenomena of depression era furniture. It's one of my favorite time periods in American upholstery, actually - I love getting these pieces in my shop. You're apt to find just about anything inside. I've uncovered quilts stuffed into spring cavities (where did the springs go???) and road signs used … Continue reading There are Always Flowers
I read a great book last fall called, "The Best Team Wins" (NOT an affiliate link! You can download the first chapter for free, and I just thought you should know! Click the photo, click the photo!) One idea that really resonated for me was this: in the modern age, people and relationships are the … Continue reading The value of a secret
I learned a wonderful phrase last week from Louise Cornick over at Upholstery Education: Having a Wobble. Various dictionaries define "Wobble" as "to teeter or rock unsteadily" and "not properly balanced." Though these apply to the PHYSICAL experience of wobbling, they're incredibly applicable to our EMOTIONAL experience under uncertain circumstances. And I will be honest: … Continue reading Who’s Having a Wobble?!
Well, here we are! Pausing in solidarity, to make the Coronavirus slow its roll. I don't know about you, but I have a HARD time chilling out. Especially when I'm stressed about. . . well, EVERYTHING. But just because we can't storm the castle doesn't mean we're stalemated. In fact, it's an ideal opportunity to … Continue reading What can you do while you wait?
Here's a popular conversation among upholsterers: "I hate low quality work. It makes us all look bad." Okay. I agree. Most consumers are so unfamiliar with professional upholstery that one terrible experience may form their entire world view. IF they choose to reupholster again, they'll be jaded and slower to trust. But this is an … Continue reading When bad work happens to good people
I often see posts and messages from shops seeking "experienced help" First, let's be honest: experience takes years to cultivate and since we haven't had much training in the past couple decades, well . . . experience is hard to come by. But beyond that, consider the additional challenges of finding a good employee - … Continue reading It’s just lunch: why upholsterers need to start dating
Last week, I listened to an episode of 99% Invisible on "social infrastructure" (Listen to it here: Episode 346 - Palaces for the People) Social infrastructure are the places, events and connections that bind a community together. Social infrastructure can include libraries, parks, trails, shopping districts, and all the events and gatherings that happen there … Continue reading Building a Better Tomorrow
One especially vicious truth about professional upholstery is that quality and speed are two infuriating sides of the same coin. To do a good job, we must slow down. To make any money, we must speed up. This is a challenge for most upholsterers, but especially for NEW ones. It takes thousands of hours to … Continue reading Give yourself a raise, already: How to improve your hourly rate right now.