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My Superbowl Sunday: Future Business Mama of America

February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have butterflies in my stomach today, because I am in love with my wild business idea I just thought of and allowed to run free. Who knew I would get so inspired by a video of a wooden bowl being made on a scroll saw?

My business plan hatched when I discovered Making Beautiful Bowls while browsing around for scroll saw projects to send to my friend Jean Gray to help celebrate her newest member of the household saw family.

Aha moment-I instantly realized there must be a whole niche of scroll saw bloggers out there. I did a Google search for “free scroll saw patterns” and found myself at Scroll Saw Artist. I love how Sue Mey describes her shift in material use: “When I discovered scroll sawing some years ago, the art studio was swiftly converted to a workshop and easels and palettes were put away in favor of power tools.”

Tell me more! I seriously considered interviewing her to ask her questions about how she got started, her background, etc., but Scroll Saw Workshop beat me to it!

My favorite lines:

“One starts to look at every object as a possible scroll saw pattern – the reflection in a glass of soda that would make an excellent trinket box lid, the scrolls in a cast iron staircase that would be perfect in a Victorian picture frame…it can become quite incommodious!”

Yes, yes! I am constantly drawn to patterns around me and think about how they would fit into quilt designs. drive downtown at least three times a week. The Archer Building in Raleigh, home of the Treasury, reminds me of an ultramodern quilt design. I even emailed Goodnight, Raleigh editors to pitch my urban fabric designs idea.

“I also look at what type of patterns are not yet available on the market and try to take advantage of that. On the other side of the coin, I make my own versions of popular types of patterns that have been made by others, so that I have a variety available on my website, to appeal to a broader customer base. If a certain genre of pattern proves popular, I develop more patterns along the same lines. Then there are also the patterns that are developed on request by customers i.e. ‘I need a Husky dog’ or ‘Can you make me a BMW R1150GS motorcycle?’ ”

I thought, “Yes! Requests for items could serve as creative challenges!” I like the streamlined economics 101 supply and demand of creating a product that currently has no existence! I feel a connection with her since I just recently was thinking of using Yellowstone NP and Hubble images as inspiration for wool batts for spinning or felting.

Sue is from South Africa, which she said she is fortunate to be able to photograph her favorite animal, the leopard, in its natural habitat and turn her photographs into scroll saw designs using Photoshop.

Sweet! Another application of Photoshop in a weird, crafty way!

A discussion of why many scroll saw enthusiasts are women offers a neat perspective on this small yet growing woodworking niche.

A Major Business Idea Swirls Around

Below, I will present some content I wrote for the future business. Yes, this is the Ultimate Pretend moment right here.

****

Welcome to Needle and Scroll/See Saw/insert creative business name here, where you will find unique handmade creations using natural, raw, and upcycled materials inspired by designs, patterns, and images in our everyday world and beyond. We offer ready and custom-made products for all ages and stages. Our products include:

  • For Baby and Children: Nursery Wall and bedroom art (thread sketches, monograms, silhouettes), felted or coiled fabric baskets and bowls for storage options, wool longies, cloth diaper wool covers, wool care products, felted toys (playfood, dolls, and balls), portable sewn storymaps for creative play with pockets for little toys that come with it made on the scroll saw, felted booties, handknit clothing, felt hair accessories, wooden puzzles, customized wooden name letters in a variety of font selections, bibs, burp cloths, upcylced tee shirt rompers, embellished clothes
  • For Women: nuno felted shawls, wooden jewelry (necklaces, earrings), felted beads, necklaces, cuffs (carry Esther’s jewelry)
  • For Household: Wooden bowls, felted and coiled fabric baskets and bowls for storage or decoration, puzzles, wall hangings, handstitched blankets/throws, paintings, felted soaps, decorative boxes, puzzles, wood art
  • For Fiber Artists and Enthusiasts: Handdyed Wool Roving (dye the Corriedale from Rising Meadow Farm if I am lucky to get it!), I can spin fabulous art batts for chunky art yarn on my drum carder I want to buy with my tax return, we can carry Esther’s yarn and see if there are other local artists who want to sell their products in our store, check out the local fiber scene, products made with fiber
  • Consignment section possibly (used supplies, products, etc.)
  • Publications: Craft Books (Interweave Press, Wild Fibers), Industry magazines
  • Industry Materials and Supplies

Events could be:

  • First Friday Gallery Night-showcase some of our artists at work, like Esther weaving, Jean Gray scroll sawing, and me thread sketching
  • Meet the Machines behind The Machine (haha)
  • Stitch and Bitch
  • Girl Scout Badge workshops
  • Tutorial Parties

Press/Social Media could be:

  • Advertise: Raleigh blogs/zines, Triangle Mommies, Mothering.com, Independent, Ravelry, Craftster, industry magazines
  • Company website: about the owners, gallery, shop online, events, blog, video and photo tutorials, newsletter/mailing list, links
  • Social Media: youtube channel subscription, twitter account, facebook

Location of store could be:

  • Downtown Raleigh
  • on R-line
  • near other similar art/craft stores

Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood: Colleague Shops for target demographic already in Raleigh (people who shop at our store might also shop at these locations in the Triangle

Research:

  • How to start a shop or a small business
  • How to RUN a business
  • Bookkeeping and Inventory practices
  • Money Tree Seeds (where to get a loan?)
  • Guild and Craft Shows, Conferences, and Retreats
  • Do a whole series of interviews with people like Esther from Jazzturtle Creations and Cynthia from Ornamentea to see how they got started
  • This May, see about people in the Handmade Market to see what types of products they have and see how they sell or market them.
  • Search flickr and other online galleries to see craft fair table and display options
  • Sappo Hill Soap has cruelty-free vegan glycerine soaps in 3.55 ounce round cakes for $1.65/each. They are $2 at Whole Foods, and could be as cheap as $1.11/each if ordering 72 or more!
  • Etsy Storque’s Quit Your Day Job Series

Not a perfect plan, but a girl can dream!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Tracy Chastain permalink
    February 14, 2010 4:09 pm

    Awesome, Lucy! Definitely keep dreaming and planning!!
    BTW, Kim and I have a scroll saw, too! My mom gave it to us when she moved.
    We haven’t used it, but are interested in learning.
    🙂 tracy

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