What was it that made you decide to take the leap and do the plane making full-time?
So, we started the business but we weren't sure what was going to happen. We figured, you know what, if we make two planes in a year, great. We'll use the money to pay for materials so we can keep making our own planes. The really significant turning point for us was when I got an email from a guy in California, and up until this point, everybody that commissioned a plane we had met in person.
We had taken out a little ad in the back of Fine Woodworking Magazine that was two inches by one inch, like a tiny little black and white postage stamp. From that we got an email from this guy in California who was very specific about what he was interested in. We emailed back and forth. It was a plane that we'd never made yet. He didn't care. He was willing to wait. We specced it out and gave him a quote. It was close to two grand. He said, “Fine, that's great.”
Two weeks later I get a letter from him, and in it is five post-dated checks and a little handwritten note, and it said, “I'm so excited about this, this is great, looking forward to working with you guys. I've taken the liberty of sending five post-dated checks, because I know that you're really new to this business and I figure this might help your cash flow.”
I'm thinking to myself, “Good lord. Here's a guy we've never met who's spending over two grand on these two guys that he doesn't know, in another country, and he has the care to think about our business.” So I've got that world running through my head. Then I've got my clients in the art direction/design side who, you get the phone call at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and they say, “You know that thing we've been sitting on for three weeks? We need it for Monday. You've got to work on the weekend and get it done.”
I've got these two parallel worlds that are running. One sucks, and the other one I realize I need a whole lot more of. It was that sort of interaction that I realized, you know what, I've got to get out of this advertising world because it's going to kill me, for a variety of reasons, but also because it was in such stark contrast to ... that client from California, that's incredible for somebody to think that way.