After nearly twenty years of chasing, attaining & refining my dream...everything began to change.
For over 2 decades, we enjoyed what seemed to be every possible facet of our dream fleshed out. Furniture design ended up just being the start of the wildest adventure of our lives. We traveled the globe, taught fellow makers how to experience the most of their own work, and experienced a satisfaction far beyond what we ever thought possible. We had really found what we were made to do. Well...at least we thought we had.
In the blazing summer of 2011, I walked into the furniture market just as I had every year before. As I looked around the arena, however, I soon saw that nothing was in fact, the same...everything had drastically changed. That year was the year the bottom of the hand-crafted furniture market--my market mind you--fell out. Over 90% of the luxury furniture we were so proud to say was made right here in the US, was now being manufactured overseas, and for a fraction of the cost.
At every corner I looked, I saw last year’s Amy Howard Home designs--MY DESIGNS--cheaply replicated, but marketed as an affordable alternative. I thought my heart might stop right then and there. I had spent years drawing out, cutting, feeling, formulating and hand-painting these designs. They were a part of my heart, they were a part of me, and now they were “theirs”.
We couldn’t compete. As grossly misrepresented as I felt my creativity had been, the buyers didn’t care. I saw disposable knock-offs, the buyers saw a delicious bottom line. Just like that, everything was changing. Until this moment, I had always been able to roll with the changes within the market tide, but this time, it was different. Not only was it personal, it was incontestable. Even if my loyal clientele had wanted to buy my original designs, they couldn’t. Thier market had changed too. Jobs were being lost, incomes were being cut and in a moment we all realized the season we loved so dearly was coming to an end.
We had a choice dear maker, you always have a choice. We could either fold or survive. But survival meant giving all our dreams back over to possibility, chance, and the ever unknown entrepreneurial journey. Could we do it all over again? We decided there was no other choice but to move forward. This was still our dream. Even if it was going to look totally different.
Dear Maker, this isn’t just my story, this is all of our stories. Without warning, without reason, and without preparation, the market will change. Sometimes it just requires you to tweak a few things, but sometimes it requires you to change everything. If you know the root of your dream to be worth weathering season upon season of change, you can survive anything that comes your way.
Going back home
During a fateful dinner meeting with some of the most influential entrepreneurial friends we know, we all came to the conclusion it was time for us to go back to our roots. It was our only choice. It was the only the that, after all of this time and experience under our belts, made sense. The heart of Amy Howard Home had always been to provide our clients with a luxurious home furnishing and decor product they couldn’t otherwise find alone. The future of our business was going to look completely different, but our heart, our core foundation, and our reason for existing would be the same.
We took every ounce of passion, knowledge, experience we had collected over the years, and bottled it up...literally. What better way to serve a client on a budget than to teach them the skills and supply them with the product they needed to do it all on their own? So the Amy Howard at Home© line of artisan lifestyle products was born! What better way to share our passion with others than with the gift that keeps on giving...knowledge.
Next week we will dive deeper into the nuts, bolts, and details of what this magnanimous change looked like for us. In the meantime, read all about this journey in your copy of A Maker’s Guide!
Until next time.
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