My paintings were improving and furniture was refining. Eventually, we were accepted into the Adirondack Museum's fall exhibition, where some fabulous furniture makers displayed their wares. Full of creative artistic furnishings, I did notice that the lighting niche was not as interesting.
I thought... I could design some creative lighting pieces that would fit in here!
HOW HARD COULD IT BE?
So I started experimenting with different materials and came up with a line of table lamps - "Living Lights"
A friend watching the process suggested I apply for a design patent. Smart guy – so I said "Sure, I’ll try that!"
It was quite the process, more complicated than I even expected. But I was granted a design patent! So another business was born.
For this one, I made a formal business plan and applied for a loan to get started in production. I sold "Living Lights" through museum gift shops, furniture stores, some retail shows and catalogs across the country and in Canada.
Getting into national design magazines and selling to catalogs took production to a whole new level. I hired help. We built a BIG shed in the driveway to ship large quantities. That poor UPS driver sure must have been wondering what we were up to!
At this point, we still weren’t done with the house, but were making progress. We were now living upstairs and working downstairs. I had an employee and John was still working nights.
Wouldn’t you know it, this is when the teaching job finally came along. Well, I had to apply. I had worked so hard to get through college and was paying loans for something, right?
I got the job.
OK - I could do this. I had an employee who could keep things humming along while I was out. So off I went every morning for a 1 ½ hour commute – one way – to teach. (Things are far apart in the Adirondacks.)
I loved teaching - and how fun - teaching K through 3rd grade Art...
To make it all work, I would just need to get up a couple hours earlier. I'd use the early morning hours to check the fax machine for new orders and get it all scheduled out for the day. Then, my employee would come in later and get to work on that list. During my ‘free period’ at school, I would call to check in. It all seemed to be working just fine. We had a system.
Then, we got some really LARGE catalog orders.
Well, I'd just need to get up a little earlier to get that extra work done.... that would make it more like 2:30 AM now. And that’s when I was offered a really LARGE painting project.
At this point, I knew I could not just add more onto my already 'bursting schedule'.
The painting project was a really creative project and the clients were fabulous.... A dream project to an artist. I needed to consider - but how could I choose?
I came to the conclusion that I should let the client choose - unbeknownst to them … I gave them the price of my salary for the rest of the year for the project. If it was accepted, I would resign.
I got the call that the check was in the mail – and that was the end of my teaching career.
The business ramped up a little further, as I devoted my full attention to it...