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Messages - cajunpedaler

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General Discussion / Re: This one takes the cake. Decorator, schmecorator.
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:58:37 AM »
I snitched the term "mutual respect" from one of the responders...
Just to give editorial and creative credit where it's due.

General Discussion / Re: This one takes the cake. Decorator, schmecorator.
« on: February 11, 2015, 09:16:41 AM »
This is revision of my reply...

Caroline, Since I have made initial contact with this customer, I am not willing to give up any percentage.  In the future, you are welcome to mark my work up all you want, provided you are the only contact with the customer.  This includes pick up and delivery, as well as yardage estimating and structure, padding and spring assessment.  I will be more than happy to work in the background, anonymously.  I will continue to deliver the  high quality that I always have.
I understand the tradition that decorators often mark up upholstery charges, I have worked with quite a few decorators.  The decorator/upholsterer relationship is all about mutual respect and balance. I do appreciate referrals you have sent my way.

I think what makes me the maddest about all of this is just the attitude that upholsterers are just worker bees and the decorator is the shiznet.  Somehow, they get this sense of entitlement and it's almost a bullying thing..

General Discussion / Re: This one takes the cake. Decorator, schmecorator.
« on: February 10, 2015, 11:19:06 PM »
Here is a rough draft of my response.

Caroline, Since I have made initial contact with this customer, I am not willing to give up any percentage.  In the future, you are welcome to mark my work up all you want, provided you are the only contact with the customer.  This includes pick up and delivery.  I will be more than happy to work in the background, anonymously.
I understand the tradition that decorators often mark up upholstery charges, I have worked with quite a few decorators.  The decorator/upholstery relationship is all about balance. I do appreciate referrals you have sent my way.

Added note..the fact that I said pickup and delivery will certainly get her attention. She is consistently late (very late) for  every meeting.

General Discussion / This one takes the cake. Decorator, schmecorator.
« on: February 10, 2015, 04:06:10 PM »
I am in a tiny, tiny rural location.  We are in the poorest, least populated, least educated parish in the state.  There is a huge chasm between the types of people that live here.  Some of the locals are so poor and uneducated that upholstery in not even in their realm of doing....ever.  Then there are those who have relocated here (like me and my husband) to be out in a rural setting and soak up the ambience of the country.  Neighboring my little town is another little town that is the hoidy toidy rich community.  It is 5 miles away, but almost like a different culture. (It is) Baton Rouge is 20-30 miles away. There is a shop there that has always been the "gold standard" of namedropping. "I had my wingback re-done at Denicolas".  I have worked for the last couple of years with a decorator who has thrown work my way.  Because she does the leg work with the customer usually picks fabric (and make the mark up, no doubt) I've enjoyed the clientele that she has referred as they have appreciated my quality and labor pricing.
Didn't hear from the decorator over the holidays.  Till today.  I get a message from her, pre-empting a call from a customer that she is referring.  The decorator asks me to either GIVE HER a 15% kickback on my price.  I told her that my prices are low enough, I don't want to give up any percentage.  Then she asked if I could go up 15% on my price and give it to her.  
In the middle of all this, I get a call from the customer, wanting a ball park estimate.  I say I need photos of chairs and fabric first before I throw out any numbers.

In past locations, other cities, any time I worked with decorators, I never met the customer.  I just dealt with the decorator...I've always gotten the impression that they (decorators) consider us upholsterers peons.  I just ignored the condescending crap.
There are 2 other upholsterers in my rural area.  They are long time and established and their work, although I haven't seen a lot of their work, is adequate.
This decorator has said that she's worked with them in the past.
I sent her a message and asked if she had requested a kickback from them as well....(by this time, this is all not sitting well with me)
Her reply...No I could but just don't know them as well as I do you and not as happy with their quality.
Her next text to me...Plus I recommend you first!

My reply to her....I need to think about this.

Bottom line is this, the more I think about this, I'm really pissed.  These f*cking decorators can't do crap without us making them look good. And every single one of them has some kind of attitude, holier than thou.

The only thing I'm really thinking about is how to tell her NO. HELL NO.

My overhead is low.  My prices are low.  I am less than half of Baton Rouge pricing.  I am 25% lower that the other two guys local.  I'm happy with what I make.  (However I will go up on my prices, I think)



General Discussion / Crypton venting
« on: January 29, 2015, 12:37:57 PM »
I am using a COM Crypton fabric.  It came with a user pamphlet.  Suggesting a vent of muslin to let it breathe.  It said it didn't recommend brass vents or grommets.  My dilemma is that the cushions are visible all the way around, they fit in a slatted dining chair.  I *can* make it just one sided, but was thinking of making it flippable.  The customer has stated that she does not want buttons in the seat.  Any suggestions?  Thanks.

General Discussion / Re-assessing time, effort...
« on: January 28, 2015, 11:40:28 AM »
I have been doing upholstery for nearly 30 years.  I love the craft.  I like having the knack for doing upholstery.  When I first started, I was the poster girl for "Scared, broke and hungry".  I honestly don't know how I survived. 
For the most part, upholstery (mine anyway) is not the be all end all money maker.  Employees are expensive, they are barely useful if you can find one that stays off the damn phone.  Supplies and shipping are outrageous.  One thing that's changed for me, for the good is I get more estimates over email and that at least saves me the first one or two dead, time wasting trips to a customer's house..whilst they figure out what they want..(and I'm muttering and praying for patience)
I have never had a wealthier customer base than I do now.  They pay whatever I quote.  But I am, I fear, entering burnout.  My hands are shot, my enthusiasm is not what it used to be.  Maybe it's partly winter doldrums.
Brings me to point...I'm not ready to throw in the towel..I want to do some spec work..I do want to upholster things that *I* think are interesting. And hopefully sell them.  I have a couple of items in mind.  Mostly wingbacks and small ottomans. (not as sets) I have a couple of outlets. 
Any thoughts?
Any experience with such a wild notion?

General Discussion / Re: Passwords?
« on: December 10, 2014, 09:10:41 AM »
super glue was introduced in the medical field, long before the commercials with the guy hanging from the I beam by his hard-hat.

Viet Nam war, triage..big gaping wound would be superglued together, soldier loaded on copter taken to field hospital. Then necessary medical surgery and procedure was performed.
Super glue sets faster with moisture (blood, fluids)
I worked in dentistry and for gingival graft bandages, we used super glue as the dressing.  When the tissue healed and the top layer sluffed off, the layer of super glue sluffed off with it.

How this topic evolved from passwords to bandaids to this...

General Discussion / Fabric content
« on: December 08, 2014, 11:12:39 AM »
One of the big mysteries these days is fabric content.  Especially since most upholsterers work with COM fabric.  Most of the time, I can tell if something is synthetic or cotton, but that's as far as it goes..
Therefore, when delivering a finished piece using COM, I put on the receipt that Customer supplied fabric. I guess my mild rant here is the cleaning methods recommended for different fabrics.  Water based, or definitely not water based cleaners..or solvent type cleaner, etc.

I personally have a piece of furniture that, as I type this, I am committing the ultimate upholstery fabric sin..I am washing the cushion cover in the...gasp...my hand to my throat....WASHING MACHINE!!! (Imagine horror movie music here)

I have no idea what the fabric content is...It pills, I shave it.  It's synthetic for sure.  It's a piece of furniture that my dogs are on quite a bit.  And it seems to stink to high heaven...worse, way worse than any fabric that they also spend time on.

I'm not a believer in Febreeze at all...it's chemical makeup and the fact that it simply fools the brain into thinking there is no odor is creepy to me.

Anyone chime in? Similar thoughts, similar experience?


General Discussion / Re: Coverting a hide a bed to non hide a bed
« on: December 04, 2014, 08:16:18 AM »
Good answers.  Made me rethink the project.  Thanks all.

General Discussion / Coverting a hide a bed to non hide a bed
« on: December 03, 2014, 08:07:29 AM »
This is a possible project for myself.  I have a nice little loveseat that is presently a hide a bed.  I am thinking of taking out the guts and mechanics that make it a hide a bed and installing something that will be as close to a non-hide a bed as I can get it, after market.
Any ideas, suggestions..?

General Discussion / Spray Scotchguard products
« on: November 23, 2014, 06:25:37 PM »
I have a customer who has mentioned a stain repellant called "Vector".  I am not familiar with it.  It's being sold by the upholstery fabric place here in town, and I can only imagine it's priced high and no better than Scotchguard...
Any opinions? Or experience?

General Discussion / Vehicle for delivery, and just in general.
« on: November 07, 2014, 07:14:01 PM »
I've been driving a Honda Odyssey for nearly 10 years.  Someone totaled the first one from the rear and I got another one.  It's been a great vehicle for everything.  Take the middle seats out, and today I got large 8 foot sofas in it.  I can get 4 x 8 sheets of plywood in side, and close the door.  I can put 10' rebar down the passenger side.  And I can get 12' crown moulding or baseboard, by running it down the middle and over the dash where it meets the windshield.  But alas, my old girl is getting up in years...She's got 225,000 miles on her and although runs great, there are surprises now..I'm willing to repair mechanical issues and keep her running tip top for another two years, but really want to downsize.  Maybe in a couple of years, I want to downsize the upholstery business too.  I'm thinking seriously of going into a Honda Fit..I had one many years ago, as a 2nd car, and it was great..42 mpg.  Sold it, and the van became the everything vehicle. 
What vehicles do you drive for your upholstery business? Does having a small car or SUV impact customers saying yes or no to job, if they have to provide their own pick up and delivery.  (I really like delivering furniture, as seeing the customer's face is a huge pay off for me) 
I used to drive a 1981 Honda Civic and could get a Lazy Boy in it easily, in two pieces..
My husband will always have a truck. Gas is so darn expensive, and in a couple of years, I really want a vehicle that gets really good mpg's.
What do you guys and gals do?

General Discussion / Re: An Expensive Mistake
« on: October 13, 2014, 09:07:16 AM »
I don't call mine the "remnant rack", I call it "lunch money"!

General Discussion / Needles
« on: October 10, 2014, 07:51:37 PM »
Anyone know where is a good place to buy smaller needles for Pfaff 1245.  I like sewing with 18's and 19's.  The 21 and 22's are just too big for me.  I use leather needles (triangular point) for leather.  I'd like to buy 20 or 30 of the 18 and 19.  My Pfaff uses the 190 size, not the 135.  Every where I've checked, I have to buy a 100 of each size.  I'm around Baton Rouge.

General Discussion / Re: Is it just me or...
« on: October 09, 2014, 01:41:03 PM »
My technique if I want to solicit work from a restaurant is to mention that I do upholstery.  Then it's up to them to ask for a card.  If they don't ask, I don't press the issue.  I have gotten work that way. 
I think everything has to do with presentation..if you seem desperate, that's what they pick up on.  I like to project confidence.


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