“I can do that.” That fateful comment evolved into working at home making Stained Glass Cabinet Inserts. What started as a hobby, evolved into “Job Numero Uno” for a very long time.
Background: our first house was built in the 1890’s. There were transoms over the doors between rooms, as well as over the front door and it’s matching sidelights. Perfect spots for leaded/stained glass, but evidently out of the budget when the house was built.
Lo, those many years later, enter mechanically inclined new owner with an equally limited pocket book, who really wanted Art Glass in those spots. At that time, Stained Glass teaching studios were located largely on the west coast. Even buying supplies was difficult. Treks to the library found a few how-to books with mail order suppliers listed in alphabetical order. Off went an order for basic hand tools. Locally, one commercial glass company had just started carrying some art glass (in primary colors, only) and one size of lead. Sheepish is the first thought that comes to mind when thinking back to that first project–a transom for over the front door. So proud then. Geesh, I should’a had a V-8, instead, now. Have to start somewhere, right?
Not long after that first project, job change meant house change, too. The glass bug had bitten hard, but feeding the glass monster was an expensive proposition for a young couple on a tight budget. What to do, what to do? New tactic. How ’bout making some small panels and selling them at a craft show? Sounded simple enough, but after only two shows it became obvious, that while most people admired what had been made, each “o-o-o and a-a-a-h” was immediately followed by an inquiry about making something size specific for a dedicated location in their home.
Two of those questions turned into commissions, but the best part came near the end of the second show. A man walking through stopped at my booth and said something on the order of “These are really nice, but could you make something about 12″ wide x 24″ high that would fit in a kitchen cabinet?” “Sure, I could do that.”
The rest is now, tritely, history. After making a few displays for what turned out to be the owner of a kitchen remodeling center, orders started to arrive. With that came the confidence to showcase a selection of designs for other dealers. Some sales calls, some word-of-mouth equaled many orders–probably 5000 orders to date. So, if someone asks you if you can do that, provided it’s legal, of course, say “Yes, I can do that!”