500. And Counting.   Leave a comment

It’s been quite a year.

And how did I get here? A casual comment to Velda, and a mutual need to exercise a different part of our brains. And, oh my, we had no idea what we were getting into!

But here we are.

Last week, I sold my 500th piece of the year. It was a large end grain cutting board, going soon to a lucky lady for Christmas.

Cutting Board # 15 - 075. Jatoba & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16" x 20" x 1-1/2".

Cutting Board # 15 – 075, and the 500th piece sold in 2015. Jatoba & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 20″ x 1-1/2″.

How did this all happen? I blame Velda.

Of course.

She started playing around, making sugar scrubs. She got Alley to join in. They both made them for presents one Christmas … and the die was cast.

In the next year, Velda received a lotion bar as a present – but the giver thought it was soap. ’twasn’t. Velda began doing research, and with encouragement from her friends, she discovered she could make lotion bars. She did, and, again, she gave them away.

“You should sell these,” people said.

“Good idea,” she said.

The younger Mrs M stepped up and wanted to play as well, hoping to create better, more natural skin care products for herself and her daughter, our # 1 Granddaughter.

Logo-300xWith that, Mrs M’s Handmade was created. The ladies had one problem: someone had to lift the heavy stuff. So, Velda decided to volunteer me. It happened that I had just made routed bowls and cutting boards for Christmas presents, and she suggested that I make cheese boards & cutting boards to sell alongside her skin care products.

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before their opened on their first day. Smiles on faces, and that is a very good thing!

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before they opened on their first day. We were so young then – on March 23, 2014.

She was getting a great deal: free labor from me, plus she could banish me to the garage woodshop whenever she wanted some peace and quiet in the kitchen laboratory.

I got my revenge, though. Sawdust now covers just about everything. Velda tolerates it, thank goodness. Not that she has much choice. I’ve blown out one dust collection system, and my second system now seems to be leaking as much dust as it captures. But I’m a woodworker: I make sawdust. Velda has to learn tolerance.

Because that sounds like Velda.

21 months ago we began this journey as vendors selling our handmade wares at pop-up craft fairs in Southern California. We do it because we are scratching an itch we can’t reach with our real jobs. Velda enjoys making skin care products for the satisfaction of researching and creating solutions that people actually love to use … and tell her they love to use them. Not the same thing as caring for patients, as she does in her real job. The younger Mrs M hopes to craft a good alternative for better skin care products for her kids. For my part, making sawdust is not the same thing as sitting at a desk selling computer systems to radio stations on the telephone. Love my job … but I also need to clear my head, which I can do by not being on the phone while making things in the garage woodshop.

This year, Velda and I decided to, uh, accelerate, so we put my foot on the gas and we began making product and doing events at a furious pace.

The result: We’ve done 64 days of events this year. We’ve done as many as 3 different events on a weekend. Both Mrs Ms have been there, as well as Miss M on a few occasions. Velda and I have both done solo events as well. With that amount of effort, we’ve found sales success for the Mrs M’s … not to mention for their subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop. I’ve now sold well over 500 pieces this year. Cheese boards, cutting boards, Lazy Susans, building blocks, serving pieces … and I can’t wait to show you what’s coming in 2016!

After I install the new dust collection system, that is.

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