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Try, Try Again!


When I was young first learning upholstery I sometimes would learn the hard way to re-upholster. Now I try to work smarter not harder!

If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again.” Many teachers and parents have said this quote to help someone that is failing. As a young apprentice, this quote was brought foremost to mind, while working in the upholstery shop. Many times a piece of furniture had to be redone until it was just right. Recliners are one of the hardest chairs to recover, and an upholsterer learns that if the pattern from the original chair is cut at a slant, then the new fabric must be cut at an angle as well. In trying to save on material, it seemed simple enough to just cut the fabric straight across. However, after everything was cut, sewed, and in place on the chair, only then did it become obvious why the inside back of the recliner was cut at a slant. The inside seat slopes down to form the cushion, and with the inside back cut at a slant, it fills in the area. Success does not always come easy, but being persistent, taking breaks to recharge, and keeping that enthusiasm alive is the keys to being successful.

Persistence is just as important as having talent to do the upholstery work or the brains to figure it out. Perseverance is the key to being successful in the upholstery trade. Often pieces of furniture that come in are similar to others that have been reupholstered with outstanding results, so the job is contracted. Then when the job is completely taken apart, it is apparent that the pieces are totally different from the others. This is where persistence comes into play. Thinking outside the box to figure out a way to bring the chair back to new again is perseverance in action.

Taking a break is also an important aspect. It will often lead to creative breakthrough that is needed to get past the hurdle, especially when a person is ready to throw in the towel. People should simply do the following: read a book, run around the block, or take a cold shower to get completely free of work. Exercise has been proven beneficial in burning off excess energy and bringing much needed clarity. After the break, go back, and it will look completely different, and nine times out of ten the answer will be simple. Sometimes a person makes things harder than they have to be.

Enthusiasm is the heartbeat to any lifelong trade, particularly someone who works with his or her hands. As a young apprentice in the shop, and as a business owner today, being passionate about creating something beautiful is what helps to reach goals. Also knowing that a job must be completed and delivered to the customer’s satisfaction is what guarantees a payday. Keeping the big picture in mind helps to stay persistent. In addition, one should note that if an entrepreneur works smarter, he does not have to work harder. As a master upholstery man, Mr. Barkman once said, “The only difference between an experienced upholsterer and inexperienced one is they know how to fix their mistakes” (Barkman). Learning from past mistakes helps to perfect the art of upholstery, and a person can reach the pinnacle of success with enthusiasm.

Referring back to that hard job, once the piece on the inside back of the recliner was re-cut at a slant, and re-sewn, and re-applied to the chair, it fell into place. The chair never reveals that the inside back had to be done repeatedly. That is how it is with anything in life. Perseverance is more the key than talent or brains. At the end of the day, persistence will let you take a break in that recliner, which has been newly reupholstered, simply because a person was willing to try and try again.

Happy Upholstering,

tammy brown

Works Cited

Barkman, Lafayette. Personal interview. 16 Feb. 2015.

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