My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #383: Decisions, Decisions

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-27-2011 01:52 PM 4395 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 382: Meet Fiona - The Halloween Witch (Pretty Scary!) Part 383 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 384: Rolling With the Changes »

It seems to be one of those days where I am a bit unsettled on which direction to go next. I have about a week left for the deadline on the catalog that gets mailed in early September and I am not quite certain what to do next for submissions. Traditionally, this edition of the catalog is the kick-off for new Christmas items for the upcoming holiday season, but it also introduces many Halloween items too.

Since it is probably the last of the large mailings to customers prior to Halloween, I am (for the first time) leaning toward doing something else on that line. Every year I tend to focus on Christmas for this issue, as it is also when the magazine holiday issue comes out, but for some reason this year I want to try something different.

Throughout the year, I find that there are many cute Halloween designs that I think of, but many never get done. Halloween is a very popular season as far as decorating goes. When I was selling craft items and going to the market and craft fairs, it seemed that those items sold out very quickly. In speaking from my own experience, my Halloween items sold almost as much as my Christmas items. I realize that this is true mainly in the United States and found that since moving to Canada there isn’t quite as much interest as there was in the US, but I also notice that Canadians seem to be moving more toward Halloween decorating too and it has become more visible to me in the seven years I have been here. I need to remind myself that the majority of my customers are from the US, which means that even though the trend may not be a predominant where I am living, it is important for a large percentage of my customers.

My insides are telling me to go for the Halloween decorating designs – if for nothing else, just to see. I have always kind of marched to my own drummer. And although sometimes it came back to bite me, there were other times when it stood me away from the masses. That could be a good thing or a bad thing.

I am torn between taking the safe road of Christmas stuff or the adventure of doing Halloween items. As silly as it seems when I read that line back, it is a bit of a dilemma for me. Making such a decision could make the difference of having a great autumn season or a mediocre one.

On the plus side, however, I do have many newly introduced designs that people haven’t yet tried, and I could look at them as a kind of safety net to fall back on. These summer months are typically the slow months for my business. I spoke to my editor just last week and he was mentioning the same thing. Things are always slow this time of year. People are spending their time with families and doing yard work and all kinds of other activities. I know there are a few that are die-hard woodworkers, but for the most part people are spending their free time doing other things.

Even though this time of year is typically slow, judging from the past I am doing pretty good this year. I think my “Ant and the Grasshopper” mentality of working hard for when times are slow does pay off and when the children are back at school and when people do get back into the shops my customers will have lots of catching up to do. I am amazed that the sales on items such as the snowflake candle tray and the nativity one are still strong. But if anything, it supports my theory that things will be OK.

So I am leaning toward following my own path and working on more Halloween stuff for this year. When I look at the scroll sawing projects available for Halloween, I find that the market is clearly lacking. In theory, I could corner that market by introducing some new fun and appealing items for people to choose from.

It will be a risk for sure, but one that I feel like taking at the moment. I feel the need inside to follow my own heart and not be channeled into doing things that I “should be” doing. I may regret it later on, but I really don’t think so. I do believe that I have a solid enough foundation with my business right now that I can take a chance such as this and be OK whatever the outcome. At least I hope so.

It is decisions such as these that keep me from losing interest and getting bored with my job. In my life, I have been accused of many things, but I am fairly sure that “following the masses” has not been among them. I have grown to find that more so than not, following my own instincts would have proven to be the better path. I just need to have the confidence in myself to do so.

I had a busy day yesterday. I not only tidied up my real house, but also my computer and got things ready for a back up. I don’t think I have backed things up onto a disk since I came back from my trip (although I have backed up to the other computers on the network). I spent the day doing that and taking photographs to submit to the catalogs and generally got things back in order. All the while I was thinking about my next direction.

Although these types of days don’t make exciting reading here on my blog, they are essential to my business and are far more productive in the long term than they appear to be at the time. I often assimilate people to icebergs. We only see the very tip and there is so much more below the surface that drives us and influences us and makes up what we are. I believe the same is true with my business. People only observe the end result of our efforts and aren’t able to see the intricate symphony of actions and decisions that bring us to where we are. On the outside it looks simple, but in reality it is very complex.

Thank you, as always for allowing me to air these thoughts here and many times discuss them with you. Just by writing them down many times helps me come to a decision at times such as this. Hearing your thoughts and point of view is also a great deal of help. Whether I agree with you or differ, I always appreciate your opinions and ideas.

So with that said, we will get on with our Monday. I hope you all have a wonderful and creative day and look within yourselves to follow your own passions.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

5 comments so far

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3381 days

#1 posted 06-28-2011 12:39 AM

I don’t know which way to suggest you to go. You know the business much better than I. In my opinion though, it depends on what you feel is right. From a business standpoint, you always have to follow yourhead and leave your heart out of it. From a creative standpoint though, you have to follow your heart to keep creative juices flowing. You seem to live in a catch 22 though. You are in a business, but that business thrives on your creativity. So I say go for the creative and do Halloween or Christmas first. Either way, I think in the long run the one that your heart is most into will be the one to make the most money.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3459 days

#2 posted 06-28-2011 02:46 AM

Thanks William. It is a hard decision to make sometimes. I suppose lately it isn’t that I don’t have enough ideas, it is that I have too many ideas and not enough time! I suppose in some ways that is a good “problem” to have. I agree with you though that being creative is the most important thing. I really think it shows in the final designs. So far today I am still pushing in the Halloween direction. I suppose that I could do a little of both.

Thanks for your insight. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3557 days

#3 posted 06-28-2011 05:55 AM

What’s wrong with sending both Christmas and Halloween projects? For all you know they might pick both! I wish you good fortune whichever way you choose to go.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3459 days

#4 posted 06-28-2011 12:11 PM

Thanks Erwin! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4624 days

#5 posted 06-28-2011 04:00 PM

“the intricate symphony of actions and decisions…” Wow, I really Like that!


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