My dad is one of those hard working self-taught entrepreneur types. I worked for him several times in his various businesses over the years. At one point I worked for him when he owned and operated a manufacturing plant. Every so often he would receive a phone call from a contractor inquiring about the shop’s capabilities on a particular piece; a piece let’s just say that was out of the ordinary (another way of saying no one else would tackle it). Invariably my father’s response would be “sure, I can do that.” I don’t ever remember hearing him say, “no, we don’t do that” or even hesitate with an answer like “maybe, but we’ve never made anything like that ” . . . which often was the case! He just couldn’t bear to pass up work. Needless to say, his response of “sure” always made me a bit nervous.
Skip ahead a couple of decades and I found myself saying the exact same words to a client, “sure, I can do that” (I guess we really do turn into our parents). I don’t like to pass up work either! The clients fell in love with a gorgeous headboard that they saw in a magazine. I reassured myself that it’s just a headboard. It’s not complicated. In theory, although this piece is HUGE, it isn’t a big deal, right? So, I took the clients photo to my dad who proceeded to tell me all the details that I should have thought out. Yes, this is the same guy that never turns down a job. I still wasn’t daunted by the task. Okay maybe a little nervous . . . but it’s only a headboard!
I took the photo home and began to research it, i.e. the type of wood that the piece should be made of, molding pieces that outline the headboard, the appliques and finally, the finishes. Initially it didn’t present any complications. I knew my dad would be able to guide me with regard to the wood and moldings. So I began the search for the appliques. I have some experience adding pretty appliques to a small nightstand or an inexpensive repurposed piece, but this is the centerpiece of the room and the appliques are the gorgeous part of the headboard. Did I mention that it’s huge?
So the scale of the appliques turned into a major issue. I’m sure you’re all keenly aware of managing clients. Managing expectations in general can present its own complications, but the headboard in the magazine photo looked like a twin size bed, and my clients have a KING. I had a hard time explaining to them that the scale of the appliques is a REALLY BIG deal. So much so, that I decided to make them an actual physical paper piece to put behind their bed. I stayed up late one night and made a 6’ x 6’ “headboard” out of butcher paper! Why did I EVER say “sure, I can do that.” ?!!
Then the bigger issue presented itself. There are millions of applique options! There are onlays, and scallops, drops, rosettes, capitals, centers and centers with scrolls, etc. The list goes on and on. It was such a tedious task, AND, appliques are made out of various materials like wood, urethane, resin, etc., etc. which means that the finishing process can be a challenge when utilizing different materials on the same piece. Now I was daunted.
Long story short, eventually I found the right appliques and the project did move forward. I wish that I could tell you that it’s done and all is well. As I’m writing this article, the headboard is still in progress. And although it’s almost complete and will be stunning when it’s finally delivered and installed . . . next time I hope I will stop and take a breath before I say “sure, I can do that.”
Kimberly Pearson has always had a passion for retail and merchandising. From studying retail merchandising as a young woman to practicing a more restrained version as a professional organizer then to home interiors and Redesign in 2005, it’s just a part of her make up.
Today, that passion has taken her to a personal shopping service provided solely to the design trade. As a lifelong Phoenix resident she has a heart for local; primarily local vintage shops. Kimberly works closely with her clients to provide top-notch customer service in their search for special pieces all while promoting a more convenient method to support the local community. Kimberly Pearson if the founder of Brick & Mortar Vintage and can be reached at (602) 460-6277. brickandmortarvintage.com