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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Help Us Grow!

You've heard me say many, many, many times that North Country Rustics is my dream.  I love it nearly as much as my children, almost as much as hubby ~ And in truth, that is saying something because I live and breath for those four people.

However, dreams are complicated, wondrous, difficult, and amazingly fragile.

I have enjoyed an amazing amount of support ~ It's why I call you all my Rustic Friends. I am astounded everyday by how many people like my doors, carvings and art.  I love writing my blog.  I love writing our Newsletters.  I love our Facebook and Pinterest Pages.  And most of all, I really love the challenges of creating custom pieces and hope that I can continue to do so for the rest of my life.

However, there are some business challenges which I do not enjoy.  Currently, my workshop is in my basement which is problematic when carrying lumber up and down a full flight of stairs.  In the workshop I have gathered a mismatched collection of hand-me-down tools.  They are hard working tools but they all have quirks ~ Like my belt sander that is ON and never shuts off until it is unplugged from the wall.  Or my table saw that used to be adjustable but now the blade is permanently all the way up ~ Yes, this is a safety hazard and it is why I refuse to use the table without a second person to help me.  And my biggest workshop challenge is LIGHTING!   My basement has no windows and I have put in as many fluorescent work lights as possible but still I struggle to see the details when I stain and paint.  

But the challenges don't stop in the workshop ~ my kitchen table becomes "Shipping Central" every time an order needs to go out.  Which wouldn't be a problem if I was shipping small items but our doors are bigger than my table!   It requires me to lift and move the door a dozen times just to prep a door for shipping!  It works, and until recently, I thought it worked well but I've had doors damaged twice in recent months.  I put my heart and soul into every door and it breaks my heart everytime one is damaged so I need to upgrade my packaging which means I will now have to carry the wrapped doors back to the workshop to build a "crate" system around the doors and then carry them back upstairs.  I'm getting tired just thinking about it!

But I can make it work ~ I will make it work!  Still, a girl dreams...

And this girl dreams of a Retail and Workshop space where my Clients and Rustic Friends can see their projects as I work.  With Windows.  I dream of tools that are 100% safe and set up properly.  I dream of tools I don't own yet ~ such as a Planer (I currently use my very generous Uncle's in his workshop 30 miles from my home), a Foredom Power Carver and a Power Chisel, and a dust collection system, and well, let's just say the list goes on...

But as much as I like to dream I know that on my own I will never be able to make all those dreams come true because even the most successful woodworking business usually just breaks even.  So why do it?  For the same reason as every other starving artist in the world ~ Because I LOVE IT!  Or maybe I'm addicted.  Either way ~ I cannot give it up.

So my business is at a crossroads.  I can either keep trudging along with the challenges and setbacks or I find a way to fund my dreams and expand the business I love.   That's how I found Chase Bank's Mission: Main St. Grants for $150,000!  A grant to help small businesses rise up to the next level. Grants are not the "Free Money" everyone assumes they are.  It takes hard work and dedication to earn a grant and for this one it requires Community Support.  

To show that Community Support they require 250 Votes ~ Currently, North Country Rustics has 95. Which means North Country Rustics needs 155 of our most dedicated, most appreciated Rustic Friends to Please Vote ~ Share with your Friends and Family ~ Tell them why you Love Rustics ~ And ask them to Vote too!

Thank you ~ Truly ~ for Caring about North Country Rustics and this silly girl's Rustic Dreams!