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
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.
It's a work from home day for The Funky Little Chair - partly because it's 20 below in Minnesota and partly because we have a skills unit coming up. Next month, our mentorship group will tackle their first, "attached cushion ottoman" very exciting! I've done the sample project, tweaked my instructions, recorded all the video, … Continue reading Is education really what we lack?
I've been thinking a lot lately about a parable I heard as a child. . . "A man traveled to Hell. There, he saw people, miserable and starving, seated at a bountiful table overflowing with food. But all the forks and spoons were three feet long. The man then traveled to Heaven. There, he saw … Continue reading 2019, a year of plenty
Whenever someone talks about "upholstery as a dying industry" they inevitably point to the extremely low cost of most new furniture. Yup. When it came to price wars, manufacturing served us an A+ school yard beating. Still . . . does that mean we're doomed? The U.S. market is FILLED with options - from clothing … Continue reading Thank you, Manufacturing
In our last blog post, we introduced the term, "strategic partner" as a mutually beneficial relationship between businesses or individuals. Today, I'd like to discuss strategic partnerships between upholsterers. At first glance, a strategic partnership with another shop may look like a conflict of interest. Aren't they competing for the same clients and projects? Well . … Continue reading Upholstery Voltron: A Business Model for the Future. . .
There's a great line in MadMen where Don Draper tells Peggy Olson: "If you don't like what people are saying, change the conversation." And that, my upholstery friends, is what I'd like to discuss. Locally, we're headed into an uncertain year, pushing the boundaries of our little education model. Can we create better tools for … Continue reading Changing the conversation
Last week, I was listening to an episode of The Sew Much More Podcast. It was a roundtable discussion with a handful of self-employed mothers, looking at the challenges of balancing career and family. It got me thinking about my own mom. She is such an important part of who I am, and who I … Continue reading Things my mother taught me
About 5 years ago, I started teaching upholstery in NE Minneapolis. We were pretty successful with the hobbyists, but people kept asking, "Now how do you do this as a career?" I surely didn't know. I'm the daughter of an upholsterer, and still it's been a long, messy road. But it seemed like a question … Continue reading The Upholsterer of the Future
Spring is a crazy time for upholstery shops, and we've been feeling it in St. Paul. . . But somewhere between emails and messages and phone calls, I've felt lucky to claim a few quiet stretches in the shop, just me and a project. Those are such lovely days. This is the part of the … Continue reading The skilled human element