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: what was your twist of fate  ( 2282 )
Mike
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« : March 17, 2014, 06:02:30 PM »

sofa made the comment "
There was some twist of fate in our life that led us to this business."

mine was I work for my dad doing  exterior stucco work, then in 89 he had a accident and was paralyzed so I was still running hois business while he was at home and he started messing with my mothers old home sewing machine. mendiung sowks shirts and things then decided to redo his boats canvas top. I don't know why he couldn't walk  or ev en get near the boat less into it,. nut I got the old canvas off and he copied it and I put it back on It was a mess, then he rented a small store on the bay and was doing some small canvas repairs.  right then he bought a small bait shop next door and also was getting a few more canvas repairs and had a boat that needed a new cover. I was stopping on my way home and stopped in to see what he was doing. usualy he had a crockpot and had spaghetti and sauce ready :)  anyway I help and offered ideas when he was stumped. he had a kid who was trying to help him but I would see how it had to be done.  then over the winter I didn't have much outside work so spent more time at the sewing machine and as spring came saw a lot of window replacements coming ig so I stopped doing stucco and devoted my time to helping at the canvas and selling bait. so I learned hands on taught myself and after a few year got pretty good at it and was getting a lot of customers so my dad realized he couldn't physically do the work. and I just kept learning new tricks I sure wish I had this forum back then but I didn't even have a computer never mind a cell phone those years , I just happened to fing this place after I moved to florda in 2004. well I moved shop to florida in 2004 and had learnt to do patterning beforehand to be ready as it was a whole new way for me.
 I was a painter a delivery driver a wood shop worker in a ottice furniture shop desks tables no chairs, did drywall wallpapering. I never imagined I be doing this for most if my life

well that's my twist of fate


 

 
 
 

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« #1 : March 17, 2014, 08:54:48 PM »

Met a girl fell in love or so I thought. Her step dad and grandfather were working in a furniture factory in another city where the rest of her family was as well so we packed up the car and moved to Calgary. They got me a job in the factory and in 3 months I was the top frame maker. The last year I worked there (1980) I made 27 thousand and never worked a Friday the whole year. Wifes gone moneys gone but 40 years later I'm still building and upholstering furniture not sure I would change a thing.
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« #2 : March 17, 2014, 09:10:02 PM »

I've told my "twist of fate" story here before.

My uncle beat up a man outside a bar in Houston. He left town in the middle of the night, not knowing whether or not he killed him. The whole family (including my mother, who was pregnant with me at the time) left with him.

Their money got them as far as Dallas, where I was born. And my Grandmother met her future 3rd husband, who had a brother-in-law that owned an upholstery shop.

Fate sealed.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
bobbin
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« #3 : March 18, 2014, 06:06:39 PM »

I had worked in tailoring/alterations for several years, fell into that because I always loved to sew and got a real thrill from making my own clothes (what I wanted in the colors/patterns I wanted).  I worked in small garment factory.  I fell in love with cool, industrial sewing equipment.  I met and liked several of the mechanics/salesmen that routinely visited the shops.  Several years later my name was suggested to the owner of the first canvas shop I worked for ("not afraid of industrial sewing machines, quick study, and capable").  I took the part-time job (nights) and quickly realized that making "clothes" for boats was a hell of a lot easier than fitting bridal wear!
Darren Henry
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« #4 : March 18, 2014, 06:42:20 PM »

As a kid I'd stop in at the local shoe repair on the way home from school on cold afternoons to warm up.Mr. lazar was a great old gent and I loved his shop. The smell of leather and the coal that he heated the shop with and of course his company have always stayed with me. In '86 I got into shoe repair etc... with Mister Minute--a "while you wait"kiosk--  and managed the Brandon location. I became friends with the area operations manager and he introduced me to Kenora Ontario. [Boreal forest/lakes instead of the prairies I had grown up on.] We stayed in touch after we left Minute---he opened his own orthotic clinic and I became a journeyman orthopaedic shoemaker.in '93 I moved out to Kenora to take over the orthopaedic work and  to help make the orthotics. turns out we weren't that busy;But I didn't want to leave, so I spent the summer of '94 working the lake as a caretaker/construction and stumbled into this trade in March of '95. I'd met a lady through work who made custom bags,backpacks,etc... and was "odd jobbing it" to get through until ice out so I did some sewing and some machine repairs for her. Her shop was over top an upholstery shop, but we had to go through their shop to get up to her's and we always had coffee and lunch with them. Wayne found out I could sew,pattern and think---Career change!We started the marine canvas that spring and between us 4 we figured it all out. [still pre -internet]

Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!
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« #5 : March 18, 2014, 07:11:26 PM »

  My father was my best friend. Not when young but after awhile. He was an Upholsterer and I had great respect for him always. I remember pounding nails in pieces of wood at a very early age. We also did it for my 2 nephews as they grew up.
  At age 17 or 18 I met with a suit and he was going to get me into the high voltage electrical line. I didn't do it and asked my father to teach me. He didn't want to. Always saying the business was dirty. It was back then. Hair, moss, toe, but I still wanted to learn so he did train me. Along with a few other old timers I learned.
  I don't know if this is called a twist of fate but it's what got me.

Paul
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sofadoc
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« #6 : March 18, 2014, 07:29:58 PM »

I don't know if this is called a twist of fate but it's what got me.
In your case Paul, YOUR twist of fate would have to go farther back to the event that led your father into the trade.

Any idea what that might have been?

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
MinUph
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« #7 : March 18, 2014, 08:17:18 PM »

No I don't sofa, He was an Upholsterer for as far back as I remember. I never really found out why he was, it was just that he was :)
  Wish I could ask him.

Paul
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Peppy
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« #8 : March 18, 2014, 09:11:10 PM »

I always helped my mom crafting and sewing Christmas presents and stuff as a kid. Crafting and building things as a teenager lead me to art school where I happened into textiles. I thought the looms were really neat but soon got sick of threading them which lead me to basket weaving. Yes l know, haw haw- your jokes are hilarious. Then my mom got divorced and moved to a new little town. I decided I'd move with her for a bit to help her transition then move out to British Columbia where basket weaving is more of a thing and continue my life as a broke as hell artist dude. Looking to save a little money I took a job at the local upholstery shop. I figured it'd be a winter gig and I'd be off in the spring. But then I liked the job, liked workin on boats, married the bartender and made kids and stuff. Now 12 years later I'm a (not too) broke uphosterer dude.

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Mike
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« #9 : March 18, 2014, 09:46:07 PM »

mine started when I got divorced , I went back to work for my dad my mom had died so hw was alone shortly later he had his accident that started my sewing future

this was my first car I did all the interior wrap and staple I had creativity later the whole cab was blue crushed velvet and the bed roof also hey it the the van era

« : March 18, 2014, 09:50:23 PM Mike »

byhammerandhand
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« #10 : March 19, 2014, 08:18:53 AM »

I guess I don't have such a colorful story.  My grandfather opened a hardware store in the 1920s.   It went bust during the depression, his partners split, and he spent the next 20 years paying off his debts.   Had it been successful, I don't know if I'd ended up being a hardware monger or not.

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
gene
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« #11 : March 19, 2014, 08:30:49 AM »

Berea College is in Berea, Kentucky.

Peppi, I know someone who has a degree in basket weaving from Berea College, Berea Ky. They probably know as many jokes as you do.  ;D  They never were able to make a living at it.

I know someone else who graduated from Berea College and they have made a successful living making Windsor chairs.

No twist of fate for me. I'm a dyed in the wool Southern Baptist Predestinationist. (Hey, it wasn't my choice!)  :o

gene


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byhammerandhand
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« #12 : March 19, 2014, 10:55:30 AM »

It's an interesting stop for anyone traveling I75 through central KY.

There used to be a number of world-class furniture makers there -- Brian Boggs, Charles Harvey, Kelly Mehler, Warren May, and Rude Osolnik.  A vibrant artisan community.  Some of them have passed on or moved to new endeavors.

The college there has a wonderful history.  One of the first in the south to integrate.   All students participate in work-study doing something at the college, including their wood crafts program.  It caters to Appalachian students who might not otherwise be able to attend college.

Boone Tavern is a good place to stop for lunch or dinner -- also part of the college and the wait-staff is all students.

Berea College is in Berea, Kentucky.





Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
mike802
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« #13 : March 19, 2014, 10:57:51 AM »

Hey Mike:  groovy set of wheels man!

I grew up in my Fathers service station with full intent of taking over the business when he retired. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was a master mechanic, but growing up with grease under my finger nails, and transmission fluid in my hair and smelling exhaust all day the cool factor was long gone.  It was the dawn of computer controlled engines and my Father had to buy this huge rolling computer about the size of a full size refrigerator to work on them, we all felt the day of independent mechanics was about over and the dealerships would have the edge on the market.  The Mustang II was new and most of the guys I worked with were disgusted with it, having cut their teeth on real Mustangs!
 
Anyway, I was building a Camaro at the time and needed some interior work done, I went to the local Upholstery shops, but none were willing to do autos.  I found one guy willing, but I couldn't afford his price, so I decided to give it a try.  I was happy with how it came out and figured since no one else in the area was doing it I might have found a niche and went to school to learn a new trade.

I soon learned why few people did auto trim in my area, not much call for it.  I had to branch out into all facets of the business, boats, canvas, heavy equipment, furniture, even installed a few bathroom carpets to keep the cash flow going.

When I wasn't spending time at the service station I was with my neighbor helping him build houses, he taught me how to work wood and the basics of craftsmanship.  Work in my upholstery shop got real slow and I took a job with a handcrafted furniture maker managing the upholstery and seat weaving department.  This is where all the pieces fell together,  The few things my neighbor was not able to teach me I learned there and the rest as they say is history!






"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
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« #14 : March 21, 2014, 09:55:46 AM »

I ran my first sewing machine when I was about 5 years old. I didn't have any sisters and my Mom believed that boys should learn to cook and sew. She started me sewing by hand making sock puppets and used to give me scrap material to sew on her machine.

When I was 20 I was working two jobs and was asked by a friend to do a recovering of all his poker table chairs. That was my introduction to upholstery. I did a couple other projects but was making more money at my other two jobs so dropped it. I did a few more small easy upholstery jobs over the years but was so busy making money in marketing and PR I never pursued it.

Flash forward to the 2000's. I needed some solar screens for our coach and a few other things so decided to buy my wife a commercial sewing machine. Being a seamstress I figured she would slam the projects out in no time. Wrong. She was heavy into her teaching career and told me I better start learning how to sew and do the projects myself as she didn't have time. The rest is history as my name started getting out to other RV'ers besides the ones in our resort and we now ship orders throughout the lower 48 and Canada.

I sometimes think I am nuts for ever starting this business. The money has been great and has allowed us to do many things in life but I feel I created a monster. Alot of times it is more then one person can handle. I have my days where I am bitter because this frigging business demands so much of my time. I have days I am completely PO'ed because I am supposed to be retired. But to be honest, if I sold this business I would start another business the very next day. I will probably be a workaholic till the day I die. For me it isn't so much about the trade but more about the excitement of growing a business and going where others haven't. I get geeked over plying new ( and old ) marketing strategies and then tweeking them.

Strange as it may seem I have never considered or felt that I was an upholsterer. What I do as compared to the vast majority of you is simple work. You people are the true tradespeople. I am just a stitcher.

I will admit though that I am on the backside of this business meaning I wont be staying in it for long. When I grow it to a certain point I will sell out. Maybe then I will stay retired. Then again maybe not. Hell maybe I will go out and open what I have always dreamed of a Pizza/Deli shop or Cajun restaurant. :)

Chris
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