Vision and discipline are the key ingredients that keep a new business moving forward. Talent is also a requirement along with a strong belief in your abilities. The caveat is...loving what you do.
These combined ingredients are merely the "backdrop" of my company, upon which is placed the most important element of all...incredible people who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively with me. Over the past 2 months, I have mentioned certain individuals as situations arise and my company evolves. Now I would like to succinctly list all of the people, groups, entities, and firms that have been directly involved with ddkdesigns,llc.
This is what it takes to start a pet bed company:
Smucci pet beds by ddkdesigns are distinctive and beautiful. The designs are incredibly diverse and unique, each bed resulting from a distinct source of inspiration. With The Natural Elements Line of pet beds by ddkdesigns, I have pushed my dreams even further by creating my very own custom Smucci fabrics. I wanted to recreate the beauty of colorful parrot feathers and the mystery of the ancient gingko trees' fan shaped foliage, recall treasured childhood memories of collecting seashells on a sandy beach, or jumping into a big pile of freshly fallen autumn leaves... and then splash these awesome images all over the interior of my pet beds.
And so I did.
Here are some of the results...
Sand, Seashells, and Sunshine
copyright© 2008 ddkdesigns, llc.
all rights reserved.
I am so fussy about the quality and appearance of my pet beds, and it is wonderful to have expert advice on hand at all times. I am working on a Matisse Bed, on a grander scale for a German Shepherd, and have almost doubled the size of the original bed. In doing so, there are more variables to consider such as the strength of the curved walls, and the selection of appropriate materials. I am fortunate to have the engineering expertise of Paul Walker, as he was able to increase the strength of the bed's exterior walls while maintaining aesthetic qualities, as well as the invaluable assistance of master carpenter Rody Shroyer who addressed the implementation of Paul's plan. Rody had many suggestions, and stood by to assist in seeing the large Matisse Bed become a reality. At one point, as I was plastering the walls and the tool in my hand literally broke in half, Rody calmly walked over to the miter saw and made 4 plaster spatulas from the bendable plywood I keep in stock. It was brilliant, and it worked beautifully. It is great to have a team who can not only solve problems. but has the ingenuity to adapt when progress is haulted.
Both Paul and Rody are making plans for a fun-filled motocross weekend, and have enjoyed the thrilling, adventurous aspects of racing for many years together. They have been best friends for as long as they can remember, at least 40 years, which is so evident in the way they communicate and relate to each other. How rare to find 2 people who have known each other for such a long time, and who continue to truly value, respect, and honor each other. It is so refreshing to watch. And I just may pull away this weekend from the Walker Workshop myself, and enjoy watching these two best friends coach their children on the motocross track. I am certain I will not be surprised that their kids are, by far, the best guys on that track. They have had the priveledge of being taught how to play with a champion spirit. Details are forthcoming about the national motocross championship of Paul Walker and the international racing career of Rody Shroyer. When Paul and Rody's kids race, they do so with honesty and integrity, and leave everyone else behind in the dust. I just love it when the good guys win.
In the spring of 2000, my 3 children and I were home on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon following Carolyn's golf lesson, Meghan's piano recital, and the completion of Jamie's homework project for English. I had hired a landscape company to take on the task of cutting my lawn that season, as I knew the myriad tasks of assisting my children in meeting their responsibilities would be daunting.
The doorbell rang, and the landscape crew stood at my door. One of the boys was holding a tiny bird, his hand stretched forward for me to see as his eyes questioned my response. "We found him before the mower got him...we don't think he can fly."
I carefully took the baby bird, warmed it within my enclosed palms, and thanked my lawn crew for bringing it to me. They looked relieved that I had taken the burden of the tiny bird from them, and left.
I placed the bird in a cage, built by my mom, complete with a nest I had salvaged after a rainstorm knocked it to the ground. I attempted to feed the baby, but it was clear that my dietary selection of water, bread and worms was not at all appetizing to him. I set the baby bird in the nest, inside the cage on my back porch, while contemplating what to do.
I remember the discouraging words of the lawn crew as they left my house and the few friends I frantically called for advice, "forget about it debi, just let him be."
Over the next few days, an amazing thing happened.
A brightly colored, yellow male finch began swooping down close to the cage and making all kinds of remarkably loud noises. The baby, quiet until this point, began making unusually loud noises in return. I took the cage, with the baby still inside, to an open area in my backyard and just watched. I will never forget what I saw next. The adult male finch landed on top of the cage, screetching loudly, and began feeding the baby bird through the openings of the wired cage.
This scene replayed every 2 hours over the next 3 days. At dusk, all activity stopped, and I would bring the baby onto my porch for warmth and a good night's sleep. At dawn, the feedings resumed.
My children and I watched this connection between the brightly colored adult male bird and its' baby for three days, with incredulous awe, quietly and from a distance. Meghan's friends would stop by, and we invited them to watch. My mom and sister, Carol, could not believe that this was happening, as they stood by to see. At the end of the third day, I held the baby bird one last time, placed him on top of the cage, and watched him fly up into a nearby tree with his dad.
And then I cried, for a really long time. I felt so sad that the baby bird was gone, and so simultaneously happy that he had made it, and was able to fly away with his family. But even more, I had experienced something very special, along with my children, their friends, and my family. Life stopped as I knew it, with all it's busy stuff. I relinquished all control, listened to a bigger and wiser voice, and... I just let it be...
A few months ago, I had the priveledge of meeting Fifi O'Neil, the editor of Romantic Country Magazine. Delightfully vibrant and very elegant in her demeanor, Fifi travels the world in search of beautifully romantic homes, along with New York photographer Dan Mayers, and presents them in her magazine for the world to enjoy. Fifi and Dan were on a special assignment in Toledo for three days to photograph the wonderfully shabby chic residence of Michelle Bassett as well as the well known, downtown Sylvania shop "Canterbury Home" owned and operated by Michelle and her mom, Beverly Minck. At Michelle's generous insistence, my Smucci Ballerina Bed by ddkdesigns was photographed by Dan Mayers and has been presented by Fifi in the newest issue of Romantic Country. Michelle's home and shop will be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine. (www.canterburyhomeandgarden.com)
Marcus has truly been the Smucci cat mascot for ddkdesigns, putting up with an hour long photo shoot under expert direction and handling by the talented and gentle Dan Mayers. To view Dan's amazing photography and published books, go to www.danmayers.com. Marcus is also the cat, originally rescued along with his almost identical sister, who appears in most of the photos in my blog. He is precious and hilarious, as he romps through the house at night and sleeps by day in my sinks! Marcus was the inspiration behind The Original Cat Bowl Bed, as it is his preferred place to take a cat nap.
In a rare moment, shy Maggie is photographed with her brother as he rests in my bathroom sink.
The design of The Smucci Ballerina Bed has changed slightly from it's original format, and a sumptuously soft throw has been added for snuggling. This beautifully unique, hand crafted and hand painted bed, is a tribute to the powerful strength and fragile grace that a ballerina acquires and carries with her for a lifetime.
Smucci's distinctive and uniquely elegant pet beds were premiered at a Loft and Home Essentials charitable event for the YWCA on Thursday evening, September 18, 2008. Well attended, the silent auction of 150 donated purses were bid upon by 200 guests, who were also treated to a live auction and fabulous food by Manhatten of downtown Toledo.
As the first official "unveiling" of pet beds offered by ddkdesigns, llc, the recent Loft and Home Event signifies the launch of Smucci products in the Toledo area. The interest was impressive, and there were many comments about the diversity of the design elements, as well as the wonderful addition of custom fabrics created especially for The Natural Elements Line of Smucci Pet Beds.
Another event is now being planned, and details will be coming out soon!
My sister and I are both bleary-eyed from lack of sleep due to the chaos of our combined schedules. The workshop for ddkdesigns is located in her pole barn, and is only one of many activities that takes place there.
Distinctive and elegant Smucci pet beds by ddkdesigns continue to be hand crafted during Homecoming week for Whiteford Schools. Float building, a major undertaking in the Walker pole barn, brings Amy Lynn Walker's entire freshman class (and talented parents) to assist in the secretive assembling of this massive structure which will be pulled by a tractor onto the football field during the Saturday game's halftime. More photos to follow of the finished product which had a decidedly "Jurassic Park" theme, complete with erupting volcanoes, flying pteridactyl dinosaurs, and a cavewoman named "Kelly Debora" in a star performance.
...who not only provides the wind beneath your wings, but gives direction to your flight.
...who doesn't just passively listen, but wholeheartedly believes in you.
...who you can completely count on, for anything at any time.
...who is never burdened by your concerns, but rather inspired by your insights.
...who looks with you at things anew, outside the box, and without judgement.
I am among the lucky ones, as I have such a person in my life. She anticipates my needs, sometimes before I do, and with unending energy helps me find a solution. Consumed with the myriad details of raising 4 children, she is busy, yet tirelessly excited and interested in the details of my life. She greets me every day with a huge smile and a reassuring hug, and willingly dives into the list of tasks involved in starting a business.
My sister, Carol Lynn Walker, has been all that I describe. She has provided me with the tangible components of a functional workshop for ddkdesigns, complete with willing staff (her sons, husband Paul, and friend Roddey Shroyer), as well as the welcomed diversions of baton twirling (Kelly Debora) and freshman float building and volleyball (Amy Lynn). But, most importantly, she has given me the precise assistance I need to make my ten year dream become real, via the intangible support and immesurable belief in me.
How do I thank you, Care Care La Moco? I love you with all my heart.
The motocross track is a path, carefully planned and carved out of the earth, that challenges the rider with abrupt turns, unexpected whoops or hills, and all the variables of human error and unpredictable weather. It is a short path ridden, but is much like the long life we live, complete with a great start, an unpredictable middle, and the ultimate end, marked by a waving black and white checkered flag. As motocrossers make their final lap and cross the finish line, they look back over the lifetime of the course and review their entire performance. For many it is about finishing first, but for some it is about the integrity of the ride.
There is no place to hide on the motocross track. The manner by which you conduct yourself is made plainly visible for all to see. The decisions you make are knee jerk, completely reactive, and based upon your experience and judgment which are inextricably interrelated to your character. The track is a testing ground which reveals who you are.
I love watching my nephews ride, padded and protected with all the gear they so carefully don for safety and in preparation for any unforseen event. They are incredibly focused as they fly over the whoops, strategically land, and prepare for the next hurdle in the track. Seeing them finish safely is a blessing, but the most telling part of the race is to hear their interpretation of how things went. They are always congratulatory to the winner, humble in their abilities, and stick to the notion of good sportmanship. They don't cheat, are realistic in how they view themselves, and always look to the lesson that can be learned from the race. Their performance on the track is a mirror image of the real lives they live. The short race on a motocross track is...life condensed to the most basic and important elements.
They are simply amazing. Tim and Jeff, I admire you both.