Thursday, November 10, 2011

C.L.A.P. Features: Miller Upholstering

In the spirit of supporting and promoting creative women, we are starting a new project on the C.L.A.P. blog called "C.L.A.P. Features." For it, we will be showcasing independent female-friendly businesses, organizations and individual creative types that are hip to the C.L.A.P. mission. 

I am very excited to present, for our first "C.L.A.P. Features" post, Helen Miller of Miller Upholstering. I first met Helen when she swung by the C.L.A.P. booth at a show we were sponsoring at the Kitty Cat Klub a few months ago. She was very enthusiastic about the zine and bought a couple to send to her daughter in London. A while later, she contacted C.L.A.P. about carrying the zine at her shop, Miller Upholstering, and is now one of our vendors. 

With that, I am pleased to present one of C.L.A.P.'s biggest supporters, Helen Miller of Miller Upholstering! 

The shop!
How and when did you start your business?

2001 – started as a result of not being able to be “hired”  in an established interiors/upholstery workroom at a living wage.  Also wanted more authority and creative license than such a position would have afforded.  Wanted to combine professional workroom practices with a craft/fiber-arts approach and see both disciplines have a place in home decoration.

A sample of the fabrics Miller Upholstering carries
What services or products do you offer that readers of C.L.A.P. would be interested in?

•FABRIC ! (new and vintage) and a go-to source of know-how in interior/domestic arts.

I assist the DIY’er with supplies and instruction as well as take custom orders for upholstery and soft home furnishings.  Vintage restored furniture and one-off cushions and fabric are for sale in shop and millerupholstering store on etsy. 

Helen at work
What is the best thing (or things!) about your job?
Full-on, hands-on arts and crafts every day, the study of interiors, furnishings, textiles thru the ages, the endless surprise of weave and pattern and how they work for or against certain frames (clothing constructionists know about this too), finding notes, photo’s, money and toys in furniture, redecorating the shop, THE WINDOWS!, playing great music in the shop, not having a boss make me listen to KQ or BOB-what is that?102?, counting my moneybags, watching my bank account rise (and fall – witnessing and learning the direct result of my endeavors) – oh and so I don’t sound completely self-indulged,  the sight of people reunited with their restored/reupholstered piece of furniture  - tears of joy, gasps of disbelief, pride of ownership and pleased with their decision to reupholster (no buyer’s remorse here!)

More of Helen's cute space
What advice do you have for other creative women interested in starting their own business?

Be ready to hunker down for a long slog – plan, and have as much capital as you can, because if you shoe-string it, you will be hating life.  But if you shoe-string it anyway – try and have a good time…enjoy yourself 100% or it ain’t worth it.  Have your support systems in place, i.e. mentors,  smart advisors (as opposed to ignorant advisors – and know the difference!), friends, etc.  Be adaptable, pay attention, cross-promote and be friends with other businesses, be good to your customers, treat them like gold,  KNOW WHO LIKES YOU ON FACEBOOK AND ACKNOWLEDGE THEM – if they are fellow or neighboring businesses LIKE THEM BACK if you deem them worthy.  Eat well and get a good nights sleep.  Don’t forget to exercise.

Anything else you would like to add?

Have no regrets – it’s a journey, not a destination, right? 

To find Miller Upholstering:  

Miller Upholstering

3614 E. Lake St. Mpls MN 55406

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Holly - Thrilled to help kick off your feature series, support & share the zine - looking forward to reading your subsequent interviews - Helen