A year as an upholsterer

It seemed kind of fitting that I post my final 2011 blog entry today as it falls on the 1 year anniversary of my very first blog post.

Now, if I’m perfectly honest I wasn’t totally sure that I would still be doing this a year down the line, I wasn’t entirely sure that I would still be perusing a career as a self employed upholsterer – after all, I’ve got no form for this kind of self propelled enterprise so there was always a risk that this whole endeavour would be consigned to the ‘too hard’ or ‘no time’ file and that would be the end of that. But it wasn’t.

In fact, I’m further ahead and more committed than I truly thought I would be. I’m finishing 2011 with 10 completed chairs under my belt (3 for real customers!), 23 blog posts (which just happens to be my lucky number), a week’s professional tuition, a whole bunch of tools, some fancy-pants business cards (all given to friends and family so far with a “hey look I’ve got a card now!”) and a workshop. Even though I know that there’s still heaps more to learn and do, I feel immensely satisfied.


Then of course there are the people who have played an important part and who continue to spur me forward – reading ‘The Element’ by Ken Robinson illustrated how important it is to surround yourself with people who will keep you afloat in one way or another, or in his words ‘a Tribe’. And so on my anniversary I think it’s important to recognise a few members of my tribe like Dean for inspiring me to leap, Helga for helping me to create a path and for always telling people I’m an upholsterer, Chantal, Julie and Dee for following what I’m doing and always being interested, Richard and Sonja for helping me to have one of the most rewarding weeks and for teaching me so much and of course a certain Mr Turner for being unquestionably supportive, even though you know I’m going to live in the shed from now on. And yes, I’m aware that this sounded like an indulgent Oscars acceptance speech.


And so to 2012, hopefully working just 4 days in the day-job (still a work in progress), making the most of my workshop which is coming together nicely and perhaps even making something! Think I might have a crack at a big footstool…………

Here’s to a great New Year.


Avoiding the Naysayers

One of the great things about having a blog is the connections you make. In the past couple of months I’ve chatted with people who’ve found me almost by chance and taken the time to say ‘hi’ and share some of their experiences – I suppose it’s been a bit like having upholstery pen pals.

Chatting via email last week with my new friend Sharon (an incredibly talented novice who’s learning much faster than I’m able to) we moved onto the subject of professional upholsterers and how they viewed the industry. I was really shocked and a bit saddened to hear Sharon talk about her interactions with such people, the negativity they have about their industry and the lack of hope for the future. Sadder still that they would so readily try and dampen the hopes of someone with so much enthusiasm and energy for the craft.

Should I be surprised? Probably not, I’m sure we can all reel off numerous examples of when we’ve met people like this (when I was in my teens and wanted to be a teacher I didn’t meet a single teacher who said ‘go for it!’) but I suppose the effects are so much more acute when you might be a little uncertain in your own mind of whether you’re doing the right thing. So what do you do? Listen? Give up? Close your ears? Or just carry on with that same enthusiasm that helped you get going in the first place? I’m choosing the latter and while the reception to my plans has been largely positive, I don’t doubt that there will be the odd naysayer to dodge along the way.

So here’s to anyone following a passion or dream out there at the moment – like me and my pen pals Sharon and Jill, perhaps we’ll make it a different kind of industry one day?