After well over twenty years of thinking about this new venture, I have finally overcome the ultimate procrastination.
Last January, with the aid of John Duff, a talented branding and graphics buddy, we came up with the name. Over the course of the next few months we finalized a new design. Then began a search for a supplier, a manufacturing facility, as well as the patience to overcome the dozens of hurdles you encounter on a new business start-up!
This is my story of the new Signature Lapboard.
I cannot now, for the life of me, recollect where our original lapboard came from, but I have lived with it for as long as I can remember. With certainty, I can picture the original, sitting beside my Mother’s living room chair back in the 60’s.
Having been in my possession, as these many decades have flown by, I can also confirm that the original board had many uses, and became a very handy accessory for every member of the family.
While I was still working at Standard Broadcasting in Toronto at CKFM, I overcame the first deferral of my creativity, by asking one of my best friends, (the late) Ted Pocock, to make me twenty copies of the board, to give to family and a few associates at work for Christmas. Teddy made custom kitchen cabinetry for a living, so he knew a thing or two about wood. I can confidently say that the folks who still own one of those lapboards will attest to their convenient practicality.
Fast forward another two decades of lapboard vacillation, and January 1st, 2020 rolled in along with the usual hangover, NCAA football games and of course, my favorite, the Rose Bowl parade. (Yes I was a drummer in a marching band in high school).
That day I made three resolutions: to write a children’s book, to slice up two large hollow logs in my possession into 14 custom mirrors for family, and….. to finally take the leap of faith: to manufacture the topic of this diatribe.
Sorry to report the book has not been written yet. My grandchildren will have to wait, as this is still on my to-do list; likely a 2022 project. But the mirrors were cut, sanded and beautifully rendered this past summer, with the assistance of yet another mentor in the ‘wood’ business.
I am blessed to know a highly skilled young man who also played an important role in the new and improved Signature Lapboard. Devon Cutting, humble and very modest, is noted here to award credit for what we have created, and to give thanks for what has become a great friendship.
To the nuts and bolts of the project, I literally worked with three manufacturers who had the inclination to accomplish such a complex task. I was indeed fortunate to find the fourth, who could finally achieve the results I was after, and the level of quality required. Bingo!
Suffice to say, producing the Signature Lapboard in its final form requires a highly specialized laser cutting, routing, and logo engraving machine (all in one) to produce what you see pictured here below. Then, the edges had to be perfected, and a finish applied that would impress anyone with a knowledge of professional wood working.
My belief was, that if I could make this product to spec, and if I loved it, that my marketing skills would be the final piece of the puzzle. Well, as many of you know, there are a lot of moving parts to manufacturing, distribution, and marketing.
All my life I have been surrounded by incredible mentors, so I would be remiss if I did not mention Dr. Chris Oswald as one of the key sets of business eyes on my work the past year. ‘Doc’ as I like to call him, is not only one of my two amazing Sons-In-Laws, but also the inventor of MuscleCare, and the CEO at his very successful Chiropractic practice in midtown Toronto. Chris’ unwavering experience, has been a significant bench marking factor in the implementation of this project.
So my bride Pam and I are now the proud owners of a supply of perfectly sized ‘pizza boxes’, (for Canada Post delivery), lovely custom greeting cards with a specially engraved pen, and an informative hang tag attached to each, one of a kind, new, improved, Signature Lapboards.
All we have to do now…… is sell a few.
Procrastination is one of my weaknesses, when applied to the corner recesses of my mind. Typically I am well known for my determination, my dogged persistence, and a reasonable balance from the left side of my brain getting too much in the way of my creativity.
We’re pleased to have crossed off the list the beginning of this project in 2020. Now we’ll see if the plot thickens in chapters two and three.
As Ben Franklin coined: “Nothing Ventured…….”