I am busy, doing what pays!!!!
Some folks travel a hectic circuit of trade shows and events in search of another order, the Invitational Art Show scene, the ranch ropings etc, and all for another order. It is no secret that I also attend a quite a few Shows with the product that we make..........but in truth, the VERY BEST remedy I have ever found that insures another order.
Photo by: Jeremiah Watt-2006
Quite simple really, I was given this advise many years ago by a saddle maker who's advise I still seek and cherish, his thoughts on this matter were to simply -stay home and build the order that you have as if it were your last and therefore you wanted to make it your best. Building just one nice saddle -on time - and built well, will return too you more orders than all the trade shows there are out there.
LIke you, I thought why heck it can't be quite that simple, and surely even he whom had given the advise had attended Shows in order to build his clientele, right? Yes, and no, are both to be found here. Over time I have come to understand exactly what he is talking about, its the catch 22 of our industry.
Are we staying busy looking for work by attending trade shows, or are we staying busy with the sort of saddles orders that we all strive for. If we get caught in the trap of having to rush an order out with less than our best workmanship, just so we can have a little travelling money...........then indeed we have started that cycle into decline.
On the other hand, if we choose to stay home a little more often, and take a little more time to do our best workmanship on this and the next saddle, maybe even take a day out of our schedule to deliver the saddle to the buyer. Yes I understand that you are missing the day in the shop, and it is all cost to you. Just consider the effect of goodwill , it's amazing in the longer run of your shop. I have seen a change in the type of customers coming into my own shop, many would be considered as quite novice in there level of horsemanship. In the event that this is your customer, your taking time to walk throught the proper placement of blankets, pads and saddle can be quite a confidence builder for yuor customer, it also reveals to them the sort of character that YOU have. You will never know how many times your name is brought up in conversations from that day on, but it is numerous, to that customer you will have attained Saint-Hood status, and very horse friend he/she has will know about you for what you have done..
SO, I stay home even though many of my friends tell me I missed a real good Show, and yes I do miss seeing many of these events. I am at home doing what pays the best......I am building another saddle!!! Being a
bit of a work-a-holic, makes it easier for me. I joke with my friends, I keep my shop 20 miles out of town, behind a locked gate, I have a dog that bites..........and still, I have too many interuptions through the day. For those of you with shops on main, I am not sure how you get anything done. Even for me with my hidden away saddle shop, I have to do a little work at night when there are no distractions to impede the saddles progress.
Evenings around here are a mix of many things. I often have to head over to the tree shop and assemble another group of trees so we can start the rawhiding all over again. As you see in the accompanying photo we have a larger group than usual to get hide on. I lost two hides in a row this spring due to weather, and now I play a little catch-up.
Photo by Jeremiah Watt 2006
Its hard work staying busy, but its the best remedy I know for poverty and boredom
Take care and live Blessed
till next time, Jeremiah