Our owners in front of the vendor booth.

2015- Lakeside Woodworks Story, Post #2

“Not just A vendor booth, but THE vendor booth..”

I would guess not many businesses can say that one specific vendor booth was their business launch pad. Yet after some thought and tracking of the business growth, this vendor fair is really the start line of the growth LW. From a hobby to a full fledged and established business. We were already getting jobs constantly and constantly, very excited for where this thing could take us. 2 buddies seeing where it would go, as a side hustle to scratch the create itch. A “What If” more than a “When it Happens”, so let us dig into the start of LW so you can understand the beginning. And how that start has shaped where we are today and where we are headed.

To give you a better picture of the workings of LW before Fall of 2015, we has no business name or website or business cards. We just did the work by referral and moved on to next project. With the decision to do the Vendor Booth and the growing amount of work, we all decided (as in 3 of us!) to make this a thing. To actually make a business name. Crazy, right? As we were filing out the “lets become an official business paperwork”, we had to come up with a name. On the spot. We live on Lakeside Dr, and it’s where the shop already is… So why not go with Lakeside Woodworks? Done! Literally a 2 minute decision. Need a logo? Nick is proficient in Sketch Up from his Engineering days, so he drew up the original logo (not our current one!) so we could rush business cards in. A website sounds official.  Nick can kinda navigate computers so he built our first website. All for this vendor booth. That we tanked… Keep reading!

Keep in mind that we were totally flying by the seat of our pants. In all respects! I still chuckle at the fact that we thought it was necessary to name our lines of products. With different lakes from the state of Kentucky… Like The Cumberland and The Barkley. Ya know, our name is Lakeside Woodworks so it clearly is a genius branding move… Man, we were silly and glad we grew past that one! Maybe it was all the super late nights in a row where it wasn’t “work” and more fun just pitching ideas and see what would happen to stick. And part of starting a business is learning to just to do it anyway and then fail forward. Seems to be something we have excelled at from the beginning. The drive to become better and bigger and expand has ALWAYS been present. Craftsmanship for us has grown leaps and bounds, and a clearer vision of what we want to do. And what we don’t want to do, even if the money and jobs are plentiful.. That’s another blog post in itself!

The vendor booth that we referenced…that definitely has a defined line in our story and played out way different than what we expected. Was the Fall Bazaar itself full of cool local makers and possible business connections? Absolutely, like most any gathering of entrepreneurs and makers. We love these kinds of spaces and opportunities! With this one, we sold hardly anything and had to load most everything back into the trucks to take back to the Shop. Items we had spent many late nights designing and crafting and naming, thinking we knew what people would want to buy.

So this vendor booth sounds like a total bust, right? We could have take it as a sign to “Close Up Shop and Move on”. Take on a negative focus and question why are we doing all this… I mean, we didn’t sell much at all. Even though it did not pan out that day as we had envisioned, we instead left feeling like we had a solid footing on the potential of LW. That this was something we needed to do for real and just keep at it. Did we have any clue that this day would help propel us in the next phase? Hopeful at best. Was it immediate? Nope! Were we discouraged with the amount of handmade items we loaded back up that day? Yes! We didn’t dwell on it and just moved forward to next project. Work was still waiting and we knew how to work hard 🙂

The relationships made that day helped shape the early stage of our business and launch it in growth. The immediate connections and long term partnerships that started that day are hard to measure. One of those vendors was a local jewelry maker Lauren Parker that had a booth next to us. We connected as Mom’s of small kids in the homeschool world and both in beginning stages of business. Jump forward and now we have collaborated together on jewelry pieces that are in 2 Shops in Downtown Georgetown, including the Shop named The Hidden Trove that Lauren and her mom recently opened this past year 2019.

The weaving of details, opportunities, growth, and perfectly placed people is one that is more than I could have dreamed up. And I am dreamer and visionary so that is saying something to blow the doors off my dreams!  It is a true testament to the huge blessing we have in our hands and the doors keep flying open. From 2 guys making whatever wood related items friends and family wanted to now 5 guys and 1 wife and 2 dogs and 1 cat.

Back to the the jewelry shop, The Hidden Trove- it’s in the same location where we had our first TV spot 3 years prior in 2016. That space had originally been an art shop, High South Art, was owned by our friend Margi who we met at that Fall Bazaar. One of our creations for the Fall Bazaar was live edge wood coasters and Margi thought they would be a great fit at her new shop in downtown Georgetown.Who would have seen that weaving of people and opportunities? We do live in a small town yet that’s one that still has me mesmerized. From an Art Shop to jewelry maker to newspaper articles to TV spot and much more, it all ties back to this day.

When I fast forward and zoom out to take it all in, this day was a smashing success. Because of where we are today. A day in the LW life that is mostly full of time with kids basketball games and family time and daddy/daughter dances, with a solid portion of purposeful and meaningful work mixed in. We absolutely love to make and create and put in long hours at the shop because we love what we do. If we had not busted tail to make that booth happen and having no clue what what was happening and came out with exhausted smiles on our faces and full trucks of our goods to take back to the shop, who knows where we would be today. It taught us to hold tight to our vision and just keep at it. Next up is our first counter top and 2 business partnerships.  Stay tuned!

Check out pt. 3 HERE.