Neither Mark nor I like to be in front of the camera. Both of us are very comfortable behind the scenes but owning a business requires us to do things that are outside of our comfort zones. Today was one of those days. We had a photographer come to the house to take some photos for us. Thank you Dana from DanaNDesign – check out her shop on etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DanaNDesign
We had a lovely fall day for the pictures. Dana did a great job making both of us feel comfortable and got some amazing pictures.
Another item completed off our check-list! Stay tuned for more updates.
Mark was born in a quiet little town in Vermont where he spent his childhood out of doors hunting, fishing and trapping. As a young man he served his country in the National Guard and moved to Virginia where he raised his family.
An avid hunter and fisherman, Mark has bagged his share of deer, turkey and other wild-game however his quest for an elk has eluded him. He became an outdoor photographer and captured many animals on film. He was successful in elk hunting with the camera!!!
In 2010 Mark’s ability to walk became impaired and by 2013 he was wheelchair bound fulltime. In an effort to fill his days he turned to wood working as a hobby. He started with hand-turned pens – wood, acrylic and even deer horn. He then moved onto wood bowls and other utensils. Some of his bowls look like works of art! Bowls however can be very fickle and there is a lot of down time while waiting for the wood to dry. During these periods he would turn a duck, deer or turkey call to pass the time. Hunting calls became his passion and he has been creating his own designs and using his own photos to enhance the calls.
MK Unique Designs was born out of his mission to “feed the hungry children”. He’s not sure what led him to this but knows God is working miracles through this company. MK Unique Designs donates 10% of all sales (or more) to the local area food bank through his church Grottoes United Methodist Church. He also assists the youth of the church with fundraisers and donations.
Little black and white, furry, low to the ground, stinky balls of “your not going to work today” blocked the entrance to the wood shop! Where is that written in any “Start Your Business” books?
It’s hard to open a business. There are a lot of things to work out. What products? How to make the products? Where to market the products? Etsy? Ebay? Amazon? Brick and Mortar? Internet? Web page? and once you figure all that out….branding? themes? concepts? packaging? space? buildings? Then production. We are well on our way in those departments. My wood shop puts in about 8-10 hours a day building and creating unique one of a kind bowls, vases, boxes, hunting calls and many other wood items and the wool shop averages 3-4 hours a day.
In a new business even a small break affects the amount of goods being produced so we take very little time off right now. In the heat of the day we work on the computer in doors since neither shop is very cool during the day. We have a goal to have enough products by next fall to start going to craft shows to try to get some local business coming our way also.
As we pour every spare second into the business and we jump hurdle after hurdle. Read books and articles and realize what we could be doing better or different and then go back and change, update and rearrange. Frustration builds. We keep finding things we didn’t know or didn’t think about that cause us to slow to a crawl. Well this week we hit a full on STOP! In all our careful planning and preparation no book or article or wise words of wisdom prepared us for what was coming!
Little black and white, furry, low to the ground, stinky balls of “your not going to work today” blocked the entrance to the wood shop! Where is that written in any “Start Your Business” books? We had been smelling skunks in the neighborhood and one was in the yard one morning when I was leaving to go to work. Not so unusual. Then one in the driveway. Also not that unusual. The wood shop started to smell of skunk…..okay still not worrisome until…………..a little skunk poked its tiny head out from under the ramp up to the shop. FULL STOP! ENGINES IN REVERSE! RUN!
Time to regroup and rethink this business plan……
For all the animal lovers in my life the skunks were humanely trapped and relocated to a place where they will be able to run free.
So where to start……March of 2015 I decided to start a business. I fell in love with all things wool – washing, carding, combing, spinning, felting….. In an effort to support my hobby I decided to share my love of all things wool. Etsy seemed liked a logical place to start selling so MK Unique Designs was born. I invite you to join me on this journey as I work out the bugs and reap the rewards. This blog may be filled with heart-warming personal stories as well as pictures of our progress. Thank you all for coming along for this ride.