Saturday, January 28, 2006
Is this any way to run a business?
About a year and a half ago Ray and I started a small business called "Into the Garden".
It all started, as many things do, with a series of events that seemed to all point in the same direction. We had our garden redesigned and when we added a fence around the service yard, I thought we needed something decorative on the fence. Just so happened that my brother, Steve, had just purchased an amazing machine for his business that cuts metal, and really all kinds of materials, with a jet of water. I asked him, "could you cut a big sun face from steel that will rust to go on my fence?" Indeed he could, so I designed the sun face and e-mailed the image to him. It turned out just as I had hoped and Steve reported that everyone that came into his shop and saw the sun loved it and he'd had some requests from people who wanted one.
About the same time, the company Ray had been working for was purchased and his job eliminated. While retirement was tempting, he wasn't quite ready to quit working altogether. Meanwhile I had designed a few more pieces of garden art and Steve was cutting different sizes and using some other materials.
We learned very soon that while the rusted metal pieces are very popular right now and appealing in many ways, rust is, after all, going to destroy the piece eventually. They also tend to disappear in the garden, the rust color blending right into the background. Steve cut a copper fish. It was beautiful, but copper is prohibitively expensive. He also cut several from stainless steel, which he polished. We really liked them. The stainless will never rust and has a soft luster that is very appealing.
We got excited about putting together a business and registered it with the state and became a legitimate business. Next we set up a web site and then we arranged to have a booth at the Boise Yard and Garden Show. We sold a lot of pieces in Boise, learned a lot, got some new ideas and went home eager to try another show or two.
Then..... Ray started getting work as a consultant. More work. Then more work. My work got busier and "Into the Garden" got moved to the back burner. There it sits. We have not been able to do any more garden shows and other marketing plans have languished for lack of time. But the web site is there and we have inventory. We still plan to make this our retirement business--if we ever retire from our current jobs. Despite the fact that we are not actively advertising or promoting this business, we do get orders from the web site and we fill them promptly.
Take a look. www.intothegarden.biz is the address. You might like something for your deck or garden. You might know someone else who would like it. Pass our web site address along.