This is officially the longest time I have ever worked anywhere. I am a baby boomer. I was supposed to work in a factory for thirty years and then retire to Florida, to complain about the state of the nation. I did have my turn at a few factories, first a paper mill, then a plastic factory, and a shoe factory. The older generation was doing fine there, they owned their homes, drove fairly new cars and were looking forward to putting in their time and retiring to some fun sort of part time job, like a hardware store or a school lunch lady.
I have to admit that I did not have a clear vision for my future or a plan to follow. Since I left high school I held seventeen different jobs before I started working with Ellen. I had managed to acquire some things to make life easier and more enjoyable. I was reasonably happy, and after I met Ellen, I was even happier. She had her own vision and was dutifully executing her plan, to create art and live to create.
When we started to talk about doing her business together the idea seemed to take on a life of its own. It not only seemed possible, but it was also fitting together nice and easy. Work is always work, that’s why it is not called fun. We had a lot of work to do, and the funny thing is, we end up having a lot of fun doing it. I can’t help it, I’m a fun guy-and I don’t even look like a mushroom. Sure, there is tedious paperwork and ordering supplies blah blah blah. But I have found some of my creativity in the production of our products and the set up and management of our limited workspace. If feels like putting together a puzzle, and each piece put in place feels like an accomplishment.
Setting up invitations for assembly-Photo by Jenn Bakos
For some people the changing of the calendar can bring on some reflections from the year gone by. Fond memories and stressful situations flash through the mind. I take a few moments in April to reflect on the past year and to look back further to the beginning of this journey. Sitting down to write this blog post, it feels as if time stands still, and then I realize 8 years have passed very quickly. We didn’t set unrealistic goals, we often have received more than we had hoped for. Yes there were some disappointments, but they seem to vanish when looking at the success with gratitude.
Kittery Block Party 2022
Last year we signed up for a few new craft shows in areas we had not been before-Kittery, ME, Hampton Falls NH, Ward Hill MA, North Andover MA, Lancaster MA, and Ogunquit ME. Wow, I thought we did a few, it was not until I looked at the list that I see we did quite a few. We are signing up this year for some new locations (link here to the 2023 show schedule) and it looks like another fun year of traveling to craft shows. We enjoy meeting the customers directly and enjoying the local food choices and some of our areas are very nice vacation locations.
A walk on the beach after a great show in Newport, RI in October
Funny story, we had just worked the weekend at a holiday craft show, and I was looking forward to a few days off. It was Monday on the week of Thanksgiving. I could hear Ellen on the phone, a very animated call, she was saying, “Yes we can make that happen!” I was thinking to myself “What now?!” She came into the room and put the phone on speaker. We were getting a call from Karen Meyers from the NH Chronicle tv show. They wanted to come over on Wednesday for an interview. All I could think of was...I need to get the whole house cleaned in two days.
Bob and Karen Meyers taking a break from filming
Well, they came on Wednesday, Karen Meyers to do the interview and a camera person to shoot the film. They had estimated about 2-4 hours, and it took a total of 6 hours to get the interview done. We had a lot to talk about. Then we invited our close friends over for a viewing party when it aired on Friday, December 16th (you can watch the segment here). No sooner did the airing of the segment end, our website blew up with orders. We had just finished our last holiday craft show the weekend before and I was looking forward to a break. One more push to satisfy the demand from our customers.
Sometimes it seems like people get caught up in where they are going, or where they want to be, or what is the next big thing. I really like where we are now. In fact, I have liked it for most of the 8 years we have been doing this. We have opportunities to try new venues, we have found some good support vendors, and Ellen continues to create beautiful artwork. Why change what is working so well? We both feel confident in our vision for the business, and with that confidence we also have the liberty to try new things.
Floral invitations photo by Jenn Bakos
We hired a professional product photographer, Jenn Bakos, to help with some wedding invitation photos. Then we used the new photos to give the wedding invitation pages on the website a nice, refreshed look. We have been getting lots of compliments and inquiries about new business. Customers are really excited about the new look and all the new designs. This wedding season is already up and running strong. I actually had to put off this blog for a few weeks to catch up with the incoming work. It was started in mid-April and I finally now have a chance to finish up.
To conclude, I must once again thank our supportive family and friends. They are always cheering us on and hoping for our continued success. We cannot thank our customers enough. People continue to find us and they write Ellen the nicest messages when purchasing orders and checking out on the website. I am so happy to be a part of that.
Thanks again for checking in with us,