The Dancing Needle Blog: #2 April 14, 2017
There are some scenarios in life that require massive amounts of wine just to be able to endure it. My wife and I have been, at best, casual drinkers of wine here and there and more "there" than "here" because we never purchased wine for home. Drinking wine was for special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays or when our 12 year old daughter finally had her period and her attitude went from bad to worse. Yeah, those are the occasions where we normally drank a bit of wine. Then Ellen launched The Dancing Needle and now wine flows in the very pipes of our home. Who needs water?
So let's pickup where I left off on Blog #1 (go back and read that one if you haven't already) I was trying to explain the origins of The Dancing Needle and how it came to be and I explained how we searched for a while looking for a good choice for a home business opportunity. Again go back and read if you haven't.
Now that Ellen picked embroidery as a business, we realized that we had much to learn and I realized that I had even more to learn than her. I mean, who even knows these words in a sentence: garments, nap tack, solvie, satin stitches, bobbins or machine hoops. I've been in engineering design for a long time and I know a bunch of stuff about a bunch of stuff but these words fell on my ears like poems spoken in Greek. I knew I was not cut out for this but I also knew that I can learn just about anything once I put my mind to it. So, like all good engineering managers, I laid out a project plan that began with knowledge gathering, market analysis, potential customers, financial goals and projected growth. This spreadsheet was impressive and it would one day be the road map for our embroidery empire! I made a business plan! Ellen was not at all impressed and thought it best to go to retail stores and look at embroidery machines.
All that work...huff.
First stop was a Jo-Ann's store that sold Viking embroidery machines made by Husqvarna. Yes, the same Husqvarna that made the orange lawnmower that I mow the lawn with! Heavy machinery baby! Yes! I was so going to enjoy this! So we walked into Michael's (swear - second time in my entire life that I had been in a Michael's store) and walked to the back where we saw what appeared to be a Viking store (think Apple Store) built inside this Michael's. They must have had 20 machines that looked liked sewing machines with iPads strapped to the front and there were all these women just drooling over them like they do for newborn children. "Ooos and Ahhs" were heard everywhere and I have to admit that it was sort of impressive even though I did not know what I was looking at. Ellen had done some research on Viking machines so she sort of knew what she wanted to see so she asked about the location of a certain model machine and was quickly shown to her by the helpful sales lady who was obviously a Viking fanatic.
We watched as the sales lady artfully and quickly worked through the demo where she created a flower on the touch screen and then embroidered it on the material below with such ease that even I could do it. Impressed, Ellen said, "How much?"
She replied, "This model only costs an arm, leg, a little bit of your sanity, the foregoing of vacations for the next five years, and it automatically smashes your dream of replacing that seventeen year old truck you currently drive. Hee hee!"
That's what I heard but what she said was $4000. It took some time before I was able to swallow again and before I could respond at all the sales lady said, as she gestured to a machine on the other side of the table, "But why would you want this model when this other one is so much better?"
There it was, the Cadillac of Viking machines. It can magically embroider designs with such ease and speed that it made the $4000 model look like my seventeen year old truck. It was the classic bate and switch to the tune of $10,000. That's right, 10K for this machine that had Ellen ooing and ahhing like the rest of the folks in the store. I felt light headed and my mouth was dry. I would have never thought that an embroidery machine could cost that much which just goes to show how much I did not know about this market. I must have blacked out because the next thing I know we are in the car and on our way home. Ellen took some information about the machines and simply walked out if the store. She was every bit as dismayed as I was.
Our goal of starting our own business just took its first major hit right in the kisser and the meaning behind the well-known phrase of, "You have to have money to make money" suddenly became clear to me. That evening, we drank wine.
If you read this far then thank you very much for doing so. I'm not a blogger nor a writer so please do not tell my English and Literature teachers of my writing sins. Like our page on Facebook to get notified when the next blog post appears!