Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Better late than never - my AWFS wrap-up!

It's safe to say that a good time was had by all. At the AWFS show, that is!

If you attended, then you know there was fierce competition in the Fresh Wood Furniture Show, a plethora of woodworking projects made by high school and college students. 

There will always be some Malloof rockers,

 or some double wides, in this case,

but my favorite piece was this gorgeous musical chest made by Sarah Provard of Utah.

A few other notable pieces included this Whale chair, available in two different styles and designed for mass production by bending 1/8" plywood into this complex shape. Awesome!

And these two College of the Redwoods wall cabinets - small, but packing a mighty (design) punch. 

There was also a nice selection of guitars - a perfect high school project!

This Diad chair was particularly cool - slats of wood formed the back of it,

 but the back could be tilted forward to create a slick end table. 

The GL Veneer booth displayed this awesome octopus, carved from a tree root - I think the exhibitor said it took that artist six months to carve this! 

And this headboard was massive - I suspect this bed could hold 4 people comfortably... perfect for Vegas!

There were lots of other eye candy displays - from Vegas themed roulette wheels 

to massive saw blades, 

flags, and much more. 

I had a chance for a quick catch-up with Kayleen McCabe, TV host and contractor extraordinaire.  In 2009 she beat dozens of male competitors for the grand prize on TV's Stud Finder.  She also hosted DIY Network’s Rescue Renovation for five years, and is widely known as a good-will ambassador of woodworkers and DIY-ers everywhere. We're in discussions to possibly bring her here to host a weekend workshop in home renovation - wouldn't that be a blast!?! 

One of the highlights for me was attending a lecture given Paul Downs, author of Boss Life. This might be the single best book I've read on running a business, and his discussion highlighted many of his thoughts about various aspects including pricing, hiring and training employees, dealing with problem customers, and much more. 

This isn't just a book for the furniture industry, but a general guideline for running any small business. I had a chance to sit and chat with him after his lecture, and he gave me some really interesting pointers for my shop. 

You can find a copy here: Boss Life.

All in all - a very nice show, with some interesting prospects that I hope will result in some cool future projects!

1 comment:

Vegas Lupe said...

Thank you for posting your AWFS report, Jamie! It is definitely the event of the year here in Las Vegas, and where I have been able to get decent discounts on large tools for our shop.

I did not meet Paul Downs at the event, but as per your recommendation did read his book last month. Having a small business where you sell handcrafted items is a labor of love. Reading his book was rather discouraging. Although his business sells over 2 million dollars per year, he is still living from hand to mouth, with the possibility of closing his doors at any given time. It was nerve wrecking to read his account. I would be interested to know what advice he gave you.

In my past life (early 1990s) part of my job while working at a shop where we built handcrafted items was to do the bookkeeping. This little business generated nearly 1 million dollars per year, and it was a struggle to make the biweekly payroll. The experience made me gain respect for small businesses. It is not easy.