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Messages - Mojo

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1
The Business Of Upholstery / 7 rules to guide you
« on: September 17, 2019, 07:49:26 AM »
I just ran across this article and to make things a bit shorter I am removing the commentary and just posting the 7 rules mentioned by Blackstone's Steven Schwarzman. Over the years I have applied many of these to my business ventures and they truly do work.

Mojo

1) The best executives are made, not born.
They absorb information, study their own experiences, learn from their mistakes, and evolve. The process of launching your business is a continual, never-ending learning experience.

2) It’s as easy to do something big as it is to do something small, so reach for dreams worthy of your pursuit, with rewards commensurate to your effort.
Every person and organization has limited time – choose where you commit your attention and resources wisely and be ambitious.

3) Success comes down to rare moments of opportunity. Be open, alert, and ready to seize them.
Gather the right people and resources; then commit and don’t look back. If you’re not prepared to apply that kind of unrelenting effort, either the opportunity isn’t as compelling as you think or you are not the right person to pursue it.

4) When evaluating your potential business idea make sure it passes these three tests:
• Is your idea big enough to justify devoting your life to it? Make sure it has the potential to be huge.

• Is your idea unique? When people see what you are offering, they should say to themselves, “My gosh, I need this. I’ve been waiting for this. This really appeals to me.” Without that “aha!” you are wasting your time.

• Is your timing right? The world actually doesn’t like pioneers, so if you are too early, your risk of failure is high. The market you are targeting should be lifting off with enough momentum to help make you successful.

5) No one person, however smart, can solve every problem. But an army of smart people talking openly with one another will.
To that extent, hire 10s whenever you can. They are proactive about sensing problems, designing solutions, and taking a business in new directions. They also attract and hire other 10s. You can always build something around a 10.

6) Make decisions when you are ready, not under pressure.
Others will always push you to make a decision for their own purposes, internal politics, or some other external need. But you can almost always say, “I need a little more time to think about this. I’ll get back to you.” This tactic is very effective at defusing even the most difficult and uncomfortable situations.

7) Never deviate from your sense of right and wrong.
Your integrity must be unquestionable. Always do what you say you will, and never mislead anyone for your own advantage.

2
General Discussion / Re: Preferred sewing machine
« on: September 15, 2019, 05:47:46 AM »
Buick65, that is a bummer that a dealer didn't take into consideration the machine you needed.

Bob Kovar took the time to go through our operation and understood exactly what we do. That has allowed him to provide us with
the machines we have needed. Every machine I have ever bought from him he has also requested we send him thread and fabric samples so he can set the machines up for that particular combination.

You may want to consider selling the machine and getting another. Yes you will take a loss on the machine but you may also be losing money in loss production too. Having a machine that does exactly what you need it to do creates a lot of happy moments for a stitcher. :)

Mojo

3
General Discussion / Re: Preferred sewing machine
« on: September 14, 2019, 05:19:40 AM »
All of our machines are compound feed. I have never sewn on anything but a compound so cannot comment. I do know that we sew at
fairly high rates of speed and are sometimes sewing 22 feet of fabric in one go.

When I was doing all the sewing I used to roll the fabric up, line up the seams and then just " steer " the fabric. I sewed at very high rates of speed and by just steering the fabric and keeping it aligned I let the machine do all the work moving the fabric through. When you start getting into a production sewing environment, speed and accuracy is everything and this requires the perfect machine for handling the fabric.

Our twin needle Highlead's are the workhorses of our operation and they have been rock solid performers. Bob Kovar looked at our operation and then set us up with awesome machines. Our single needle Chandler's have also been excellent machines.

Mojo


4
General Discussion / Re: Sewing vinyl to plastic
« on: September 07, 2019, 03:13:41 PM »
I would try a size 22 needle with 138 thread. If RiCat is around he may have another idea. He has done a lot of old classic cars
and knows a lot of tricks to the trade. If he doesn't pop on here and answer this post then send him a PM.

Rick is a great guy and always willing to help fellow stitchers.

Mojo

5
General Discussion / Re: reinforced stitching
« on: August 31, 2019, 05:42:02 AM »
I am not sure which seam you are referring to but whenever I ran a double top stitch or french seam I always backed the seam with seam tape or a strip of fabric. I always referred to this type of seam as a french seam.

If I stitched 2 pieces of fabric together and then went back and top stitched I fold over the salvage on the back and then  top stitch for a stronger seam. This is how we make patio awning seams. We call it a locked seam. The two edges of the seam are double stitched and then folded and top stitched. This type of seam provides the strength equal to about 98 % of the strength of the fabric itself. IN over a decade we have produced over 20,000 different awning products and have never had a seam failure.

Mojo

6
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Moving Along
« on: August 25, 2019, 02:24:24 PM »
Once I am done I am going to do a video of the new facility.

I just finished the 2 new tables this morning. I need to build lower shelves as we use the table space underneath for storage. The tables are all 2 x 4 construction with 3/4 inch melamine for tops. I encased the edges with 5 inch wide 18 ga 304 stainless which runs the length of the table. This acts as a dual cutting surface for vinyl and also hot knives. I also wire the tables and install outlets at each end and in the center. I do not believe in extension cords in a shop.

One table will be the serger station as well as the table for commercial / residential awning work space. You always need a large surface to work from when attaching the fabric to the frames and I do not want the sewing tables cluttered or shut down.

Our metal fab shop is all done and ready to be moved into. The sewing area is 90 % done. I am in the process of building another office and then I have to complete the kitchen and break room. I do have some odd's and ends to finish up ( electrical & duct work ). The movers will be here September 12th.

I cannot wait till this building is finished. 7 days a week is too much for this old man.

Mojo

7
General Discussion / Re: Bed Bugs
« on: August 25, 2019, 06:28:47 AM »
Upgrading a 100 amp service to 200 amp requires a new breaker panel. It also includes the electric company coming out and upgrading the meter if needed. Most new homes are 200 amp service now days. I have upgraded several homes to 200 amp from 100 amp before and it is not a big problem. I just hated re-attaching all the wires to the new breakers. 

Mike, I could see bed bugs being a huge problem for an upholsterer. You get a sofa brought in that is infested and an outbreak occurs in your shop and then all the furniture you finish and ship out has bed bugs. That is one scary scenario. I would hate to think of the blow back from customers and liability of that happening. Imagine reading a welp review " Took my sofa in for recovering and got it back loaded with bed bugs. Now my whole house has them and I had to pay for an exterminator. " YIKES ............

I have been curious to know how your Bus project has come along.

Mojo

8
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Moving Along
« on: August 25, 2019, 06:02:13 AM »
Doyle:

We do not keep a data base of assembly specs in regards to measurements. The awning manufacturers are notorious for making their roller tubes different sizes. Each model can be off by an inch. Doesn't sound like much but on a slide topper assembly an inch can make the difference between water intrusion into a coach.

We also do not go off their serial numbers. Each assembly has a unique serial number and the stickers are sometimes so off it is laughable. The serial number will indicate a 10 ft assembly with heather beige fabric when it actually is 12 feet and is charcoal tweed. We have the customer get us a measurement based on our instructions and go from there. Colors are all OEM colors so those are easy to nail down.

This new building is going to really help our efficiency and save us time as we have added a third sewing station setup up with twin and single needle machines. I will post pictures once we are all done. We just hired another employee who will be a director and oversee all 3 companies. I am falling back into semi retirement mode and will do nothing but marketing and provide technical support when needed.

Mojo

9
The Business Of Upholstery / Moving Along
« on: August 18, 2019, 05:53:47 AM »
We closed on our new building a couple weeks ago and are now going through the new building and adding some things as well as updating others. Thankfully the building is in good shape and built extremely well. It also has great insulation which is a plus down here in the swamp ( Florida ). It does have 2 tired heat pump systems that will need to be replaced down the road but everything else is good.

The worst part is sorting out the electrical so I can add a couple new lines. The building has 120, 240 and 208 with 3 seperate breaker panels. It used to be a printing shop so they must have had equipment that ran on 208. This voltage was popular for grocery stores and such as they ran their lighting and coolers off 208. This voltage has since lost favor and now most commercial buildings are wired for straight 240 and 3 phase 240.

The sewing shop is divided from the office and lobby area. The sewing area will have 2,400 sq ft of space and the remaining 1,600 sq ft will be the office area, kitchen & break room, conference room and design center. The lobby will have retail space for parts, etc. One nice thing is the previous owner when they emptied the building went through and painted the walls and floors. That will save a lot of time.

I did build a new metal fabricating shop inside the sewing area and we now have storage space for parts and supplies along with a fabric storage area. My son-in-law flew down from Richmond, VA and helped me frame, sheetrock and wire the metal fab shop. He then  installed a new security system and we have an 8 camera video monitoring system going in as well. I installed 2 new Sensi thermostats so we can monitor and control our heat pumps from home if we want using our Iphones. The new security system and cameras also are all controlled by our cell phones and we can take a peak around the building using our phones. All of our security systems have battery backup and will work even in the event of a power failure. Technology is amazing these days.

I should be done with the building and we will be moved in about mid-September. I will be glad when the process is done as I am getting too old for this crap. I have 2 shows to do starting in September ( SHreveport and Syracuse, NY ) and will be gone for a month so my time line is tight. :)

Mojo

10
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Serving those who serve us.
« on: August 18, 2019, 05:27:41 AM »
These young snowflakes piss me off. They have no respect for authority. They need to spend 2 years in the Marines
to get their minds right.

In regards to first responders, we always offer quick sew jobs for free to them. Police and firemen gear that needs to be restitched, etc.
We also heavily discount work for people confined to wheelchairs such as re-stitching or the making of a new wheelchair cushion. Alot of times we do it for free

All military members and Veterans get 10 % off any order they place. Being a Veteran myself I am a huge proponent of
giving thanks to our current and former military members. It is one reason I refuse to shop at Home Depot. Lowes always gives me
a military 10 % discount off anything I purchase. Home Depot gives nothing. We have a corporate account with Lowes which gives us 5 % off and our corporate account with Home Depot gives us nothing. Screw em. I shop at Lowes. You will find many Veterans operate this way. They go where they are appreciated.

We give to specific charities throughout the year - Wounded Warrior's, Leukemia Society ( as I have leukemia myself ) and we sponsor certain events in the community. We are very blessed to have 3 successful companies so we try and show our thanks by helping others and show respect for our police and fire departments. These damn snowflakes disrespect and hate police and fire dept members but have no problem calling them when they need their services. They disgust me. All of us here on this forum were raised in different times. We were raised to respect authority as well as respect our elders and seniors.

Mojo

11
A farmer drove to a neighbor's farmhouse and knocked at the door. A boy, about 9, opened the door.
"Is your dad or mom home?" said the farmer.
 
"No, they went to town."
 
"How about your brother, Howard? Is he here?"
 
"No, he went with Mom and Dad."
 
The farmer stood there for a few minutes, shifting from one foot to the other, mumbling to himself, when the young boy says, "I know where all the tools are if you want to borrow one, or I can give Dad a message."
 
"Well," said the farmer uncomfortably. "No, I really want to talk to your Dad, about your brother Howard getting my daughter Suzy pregnant".
 
The boy thought for a moment, then says, "You'll have to talk to my Dad about that. I know he charges $500 for the bulls and $150 for the pigs, but I have no idea how much he charges for Howard."

12
General Discussion / Re: Cheap vinyl?
« on: August 01, 2019, 05:42:32 AM »
We now and again will have a customer demand we use Sunbrella. We typically give them what they want but explain we will not warrant Sunbrella and if there is a problem they have to deal directly with Sunbrella.

I would do the same and explain you wont warrant the EZ vinyl.

Mojo


13
General Discussion / Re: bonded leather
« on: August 01, 2019, 05:30:03 AM »
The bonded leather will continue to flake off which will release the glued fabric as well. My concern would be as the new fabric and bonded leather release from the polyester core if that will show through with an impression.

Myself I wouldn't do it as it looks like it could be a recipe for disaster. But that is just me and I am not a furniture guy.

Mojo

14
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Boat business curiosity?
« on: July 30, 2019, 09:56:20 AM »
Doyle:

Our orders are processed by one person. In other words they take the order from start to finish. We have an iron clad rule that we never deviate from. If one person sews an awning, another person checks all measurements and quality standards. This eliminates any awning that may have a quality issue getting shipped. It gets ultra expensive if we ship out an awning that is not correct. On large awnings measurements are checked by 2 people during the production process to catch problems in the early stages. Our tolerances on a 22 ft awning are 1/4 " or less in either direction and from top to bottom. Our goal is always exactness which requires paying attention to detail by the stitcher. Anything over a 1/4 inch deviation from top to bottom on an automatic awning can cause issues with the operation of the assembly. There is a lot of calculating in regards to the gathering of fabric during sewing operations to arrive at that exact number. To complicate things even more some assemblies require a quadratic slope in the center.

In regards to the sewing operation, each stitcher has their own table. Each awning requires different segments or sewing operations. One part of the awning requires a single need run with encased spline while another part of the awning requires double stitching. With 3 tables we can keep 3 stitchers sewing at once and they can all perform various operations on their own tables.

The large size of the tables is needed for layout work. Our largest awnings we make is 22 ft long by 10 ft wide which is why we have a 24 x 12 ft table. Commercial awnings require a lot of space as well because you have fabric and frame layouts to do plus the assembly work.

I can attest to the fact that we do not have machine failures because the people who sew are very easy on our machines. We had one who would take a machine down once a week because she was so rough with handling fabric while it went through the machine. I was constantly retiming machines and adjusting hooks. In fact I had to have a backup twin needle just because she would take them down so frequently. I would be repairing one and she would break the other and I would slide one out, work on it while the fixed twin went back into production. I had one week where I spent 6 hours repairing machines. So glad she is gone. I am convinced that machine reliability is based on how well it is treated and maintained by the operator.

Mojo


15
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Boat business curiosity?
« on: July 29, 2019, 04:56:03 PM »
We have real large sewing tables. One is 24 ft long by 12 ft wide to accommodate large patio awnings. The 2nd table is 10 x 16 ft long.
Both are dual station tables meaning that a twin needle is setup at one end and sews in one direction while a single need long arm on the other side of the tbvale sews in the other direction. We will building a new table 8 x 16 that will have our serger at one end and a single needle at the other.

Because all of our awning fabrics are double stitch runs the twin needle cut our production time in half. I used to do that part of the operation with double passes. Very time consuming.

We use folders only on the single needles. I should mention that our twins are setup with a 1/2 " gauge. Both of our twins are Highlead's and we have never had one go down. I haven't timed them in 3 years and they run 5 days a week, 5 to 6 hours a day.

Mojo

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