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The Business Of Upholstery => The Business Of Upholstery => Topic started by: 65Buick on January 26, 2018, 10:53:27 PM

Title: Competent
Post by: 65Buick on January 26, 2018, 10:53:27 PM
Those of you who are long-time professional furniture upholsterers - how many years before you were competent? Thoroughly versed in most aspects of residential/commercial furniture upholstery.
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: kodydog on January 27, 2018, 09:47:09 AM
When I first started upholstering furniture in a factory in North Carolina I was completely green. Not only did I have to learn a new trade but I had to learn a bunch of different styles of furniture in a short period of time. It was definitely a challenge. All of the factories in Hickory NC would shut down for a week twice a year. I remember my inner conscience telling me, you can't take a week off. What if you forget everything you learned? I know, that was ridiculous.

Back to your question, It took me about 2 years to get my confidence up and more important when working in a factory my speed. While I was doing that Rose was finishing her collage degree in Business Management. We had this crazy idea of starting our own business but weren't sure what direction we wanted to go. This meant I needed to learn more styles of furniture and to do that work at several different factories. Also, Hickory has a great furniture collage/trade school. Both Rose and I took classes including Salesmanship, Furniture Design,  The History of Furniture and I took a  woodworking class that went beyond just the basics. Rose took a sewing class that included patterning and machine repair. She bought our sewing machine from her teacher.

I worked in the factories for 6 years and I was still working in a factory when we opened our first upholstery shop. We learned two things real quick. 1. We still had a lot to learn. 2. Hickory North Carolina is not a good place to open an upholstery shop. But we stuck it out and it was a good experience. We met supply venders and fabric venders and we were able to hire a fellow who taught me skills I did not have like tufting, making channels and spring tying. We didn't know it at the time but this was all leading up to our next business. One year later we moved to Charleston SC. It took us about a year to get that business going and another 2 years to feel confident that we would stay busy enough to support ourselves.

I guess what has kept us going all these years is a philosophe of never stop learning and don't be afraid to try new things. The hardest part is ignoring people who tell you your ideas will not work.

Title: Re: Competent
Post by: sofadoc on January 27, 2018, 11:02:09 AM
My own personal experience, and from observing others, it seems that somewhere between year 2 and year 3 everything starts coming together for you.

Not that you won't still have a lot to learn. But at that point you will at least feel competent. The jobs that previously "ate your lunch" will suddenly seem to go a lot more smoothly.
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: MinUph on January 27, 2018, 03:25:46 PM
It's been awhile since I started so I'm not rel sure when I became competent. I was brought up with my father saying you can do whatever you put your mind to so I have really always felt that way. But I know I wasn't good day one so I will go with the flow and say 2-3 years. like Dennis and Kody. If you put your all into something and do your best that's all you can do. Self confidence comes from within not a learned thing.
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: SteveA on January 28, 2018, 10:33:44 AM
I think you guys are way off - the time necessary to know a trade takes more than one life time.   Competent or advanced DIY in a couple of years maybe but don't mistake the learning journey ahead when you're only 5 % there
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: 65Buick on January 28, 2018, 01:49:13 PM
Just looking for a gauge as to when you stop making silly mistakes and progress like someone who knows.
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: MinUph on January 28, 2018, 03:13:52 PM
  There is a time when you might not make mistakes. I don't know when that is because I am back to the point of making silly mistakes. I don't know if it ever stopped but I don't think it did. Upholstery like anything else gets easier or "more comfortable" but I doubt you will ever not make mistakes.
  I like the saying that holds true for all trades.

  You can tell how good a craftsman is by how well he hides his mistakes.
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: 65Buick on January 28, 2018, 03:45:52 PM
Anyone willing to share their silly mistakes?
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: MinUph on January 28, 2018, 04:11:38 PM
We will have to start a thread called "Silly mistakes" and hope no customers ever see them.
Title: Re: Competent
Post by: Mojo on February 03, 2018, 10:41:31 PM
I am still no confident in my trade simply because it seems everything is constantly evolving and changing. I guess the best way to explain my feeling towards my work is that I am comfortable with what I am doing.

One other reason I am not confident is probably because I am a perfectionist and while my work far exceeds my customers expectations, I am never happy with what I made. I have had customers rave over something I made for them while I never wanted to see what I made again because I felt it was an embarrassment to myself.

I am my worst critic. I know. I probably need med's and therapy. :)

Title: Re: Competent
Post by: 65Buick on February 07, 2018, 07:10:23 PM
We will have to start a thread called "Silly mistakes" and hope no customers ever see them.

That is a good idea. I really doubt any customer comes here. Even if they did, it shows that you care enough about what you do to critique it.