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Topics - mike802

General Discussion / Bed Bugs
August 14, 2019, 09:01:33 pm
Hi Folks:  How has everyone been doing?  I haven't been around for a while, so I thought I would stop in and say hi.  I have been thinking a lot lately about bed bugs, I hear they are making a come back and are becoming a national problem in the US.  Here in Vermont they are calling it an epidemic!  This is a problem I don't want to have in my shop, especially since my shop is located in my home.  Have any of you run into this before and if so what have you done about it?  I understand if you don't want to say anything, but just maybe you know of a friend of a friend who may have had this problem LOL.  But seriously it is being reported that one home in three is having this problem in the US right now.  The last time I signed in and talked to some of my old upholstery pals I was considering retiring from the reupholstery business and I still am, but for some reason I am still carrying on, but with this bed bug thing I just might follow through and finally throw in the towel.  I am considering doing a close inspection of any furniture before it comes into my shop, well I mean from now on I WILL be doing a close inspection before any furniture comes into my shop, but even that is no guarantee the furniture is bug free as the eggs are very small and they hid well.  I don't know guys this is really freaking me out.   
General Discussion / Digging out from Stella
March 21, 2017, 08:13:11 am
Hi everybody:  Vermont got hit pretty hard with Winter Storm Stella.  That's always a good excuse to play a little, I got the old 1938 Allis Chalmers Model B out and moved some snow.
The Business Of Upholstery / supply prices
March 13, 2017, 02:06:10 pm
Hi Folks:  If any of you remember about 7 months ago I was ready to throw in the towel.  Things have picked up a bit here and I have been busy lately. But I am still planning on doing something different eventually, but I guess I am going to keep on keeping on for the time being.  Anyway, I have been adding upholstery supplies for sale on my website a little here and their when time allows.  My YouTube channel has been sending people to the website to buy upholstery supplies, I can't say business has been brisk, but I sell a few things here and their.  If it wasn't for customers coming into the shop telling me they saw me on YouTube and checked out the website, the website wouldn't be worth the expense.  I offer free shipping on the website for the smaller items and this makes my prices a little higher than sites that don't offer this.  But I did a basic search and found this company.
These people are selling retail for less than I can buy from my wholesaler.  I suspect I am loosing a fair amount of business from this site.  Granted, I buy in bulk from my supplier and they send a truck my way every other week and I get free shipping if I use the truck, which helps with my overall cost, but I still cannot compete.  If I want to get serious selling upholstery supplies my wholesaler is not going to cut it.  The diy upholstery people must be buying from the same people my wholesaler is buying from.  I can only imagine what kind of investment it would take to compete with these people, any advice anyone?
I would like to ask how business is in other areas, but what does it matter how business is in other areas?  In the area I live and work in? it's really bad!  I have had a very successful career in the reupholstering field for over 30 years.  I have upholstered everything from autos, heavy equipment, boats, furniture and added handcrafted furniture to the business over 19 years ago. 

In all this time I have watched the local economy die around me.  When I first went into business I had 5 local competitors,  I hired 4 full time upholsters and rented a store front on a major thruway.  My area had a good manufacturing base, jobs were plentiful for anyone willing to work and the area was in the midst of being rejuvenated. 

The future looked bright, but unfortunately things started to go south, or maybe in this case "east" would be more appropriate.  We started to loose our manufacturing base, slowly at first, but once the dominoes started to fall it went fast.  We only have a few manufactures left now, the only major one is GE.  The mall "our only one" is a ghost mall  the anchor stores have all left except for Kmart.

Over the years as my competitors died, or closed shop, I keep waiting for the influx of customers from my competition to come to me, but it never happened, sure I got a few, but not enough to see a difference.  I am the only upholster left in the area now, I have no employees and work out of my barn that I converted to a workshop.  Work is somewhat steady, but mostly I'm only working part time.  I haven't been putting much effort into handcrafted furniture because it has become a very hard sell. 

My largest account is a furniture store that I do warranted work for, it's steady and I make good money doing it, but I hate working on that junk.  It's so heavy and I feel sorry for the poor delivery guys who bring it into my shop, as I watch the sofas bend in the middle as they carry it.  I am very fortunate that I do not need to survive off what I earn in the business, if I did I would of closed years ago. 

I haven't been around the forum for the past year or so, because I have been seriously considering closing the shop.  It's a very emotional decision, I go back and forth over what to due, but after 30+ years I'm feeling like it's time for a change.  I guess I have already made the decision mentally, but have yet to take the emotional plunge. I have bought a fairly large plot of land and plan to start an organic market gardening business.  Unfortunately the land I have is all wooded, so I have my work cut out for me and will probably continue working in the upholstery shop for a few more years, maybe, if I can take it that long.

So thats my rant!  Upholstery has been good to me and I have enjoyed it over the years, it wasn't all roses as we all know, but overall it's a good life.  If I sound a little bitter, yea I guess I am.  My plans for the future were different 30 years ago, but I guess whose weren't?  I have really enjoyed the friends I have made here, you have all been so helpful in so many different ways and I thank you all for your help and support. 

General Discussion / Wow how time flys
July 16, 2016, 08:29:49 am
Well, it's been over a year since I last posted here!  Hard to believe I have been away for that long.  Thought I would pop in and tell everyone hello.  I am still in the upholstery and furniture building business at this time and when I was working on a sofa the other day I started thinking of everyone on the forum and realized I hadent been here for a long time and thought I would like to just say hello to you all.  I am going to post more about this in the business section if anyone cares to know why I have been away for so long.
General Discussion / New Project
October 30, 2014, 04:58:32 pm
Hi everybody:  I started a new project that I think many here might be interested in, you can watch the video in the Green Room.  
Hi everyone:  Yesterday I severed ties with my best return customer, a decorator I have been working with for 8 1/2 years.  Why?  Well, incorrect or incomplete information on a work order led to the wrong product being delivered.  I tried to work with them, they admitted to not giving me all the information, but still said it was my fault.  I pondered all our past, and at the time possible future work and decided not to split hairs and just credit them the total price for the wrong product to keep a long standing customer happy.  Then they told me there customer wanted an upgrade, great right?  So I estimated the cost of an upgrade, deducted the cost of the first incorrect product and came up with a cost.  Unfortunately they thought that was way to much and they figured I should offer them the upgrade at my cost plus give them credit on the wrong product.  To say the least my mother did not raise no fool and I told them to bring the van and pick up any and all remaining furniture in my studio and find a new upholster.  This may sound rash, but over the years I have bent a little to much a little to often for these people and finally got to the last straw.  

To many nights working until 2 AM to meet one of their deadlines, being underhandedly accused of ordering extra fabric and selling the remnants, loosing out on large 10 grand orders because I refused to guarantee fabric they sell, they expect me to give them an exclusive service by not telling the customers I deliver to who my company is, but they have no problem using different upholsters, being asked for estimates when they really are looking for bids,  I could go on and on, but this helps me get it off my chest.

One more thing, when the fabric arrived it was side marked for the pool room in the guest house, and this decorator has the odasity the tell me her client is working on a fixed budget, maybe I should ad lying to my list of complaints, on top of questioning my professionalism!  
General Discussion / Dinette Seats Help
May 14, 2013, 07:21:56 am
I everyone:  As most of you know, I am converting an old bus into an RV.  I have come to the point in my project where I have to build a set of dinette seats.   I will admit that I am asking a lot out of these dinette seats, I need them to be comfortable to eat at and for extended sitting times when traveling down the road for 8 to 12 hours.  They also have to make into a bed and have accessible storage underneath.  I have considered using a knife hinge so they can fold down into a bed, with the addition of reclining mechanisms from car seats to recline the backs.  Any ideas would be greatly helpful, thanks guys.