Happy New Year to you all!
It`s six years of Voss Guitars! And because I am at home since the end of November to take care of my youngest daughter (she is going to the kindergarten for 3 hours now!) and my son, I have plenty of time to recapitulate about these six years. Which is pretty much fun and I am often amazed what happened in these years.
When I started the blog I wanted to share some of the process of starting a luthier business. But I left out a lot of the boring stuff ,like the paperwork, and focused on my building and the instruments. which is a lot more fun to take photos off and share them. Also I left out a lot of the personal side. Although this might fall into the category of boring stuff as well.
Therefore I am going to write about some of this boring stuff now.
Becoming a luthier was not a wise decision. It started as a very naive social romantic utopia in my head. And it was a call. It challenged me like nothing has ever challenged me before in my hole live (this was before having Kids). When I started at Stephan Schlemper`s shop I had no woodworking experience before. And I made so many mistakes I was surprised he continued to let me work on his guitars. The funny thing was that I knew from the moment I discovered luthiery as a career that this is what I have to do in life. Which was perfectly right although I could not know what to expect of it because I didn`t have any experience whatsoever.
I finished my apprenticeship after three years, married my (then) wife and opened my own shop six months later. During this time I started to work as a postman again and I continued to carry the post on saturdays for two years. Monday to Friday I was in the shop. I build my first guitars and was so incredibly lucky that I found people who liked them and I even sold one of my first Instruments a few months after it was finished to a lovely guy who became a friend later. From then on my business would carry itself. I could pay the dues. And it never stopped. Sometimes it feels unreal to me that an operation like that is actually working.
In September 2014 our son was born. Lovely times. A new adventure started. And the extra hours in the shop payed off because I could reduce my time there and spend time with the new addition of my family. I spend two really happy months at home. But only 3 weeks later I got a call and was told that the Deusche Post AG will not extend my contract. That was desastrous news. Two weeks before Christmas I knew I will loose my Job on which I depend to pay my social insurance costs. It was the first time (but surely not the last) I thought I`d better close the shop and get a "real" job.
So the next year was very mixed feelings. I had my first Baby which gave me endless joy but so many worries about the future. It was hard on my psyche and even my body. I developed a slipped disc by october.
After a year of unemployment money and mini business I turned fulltime untill I ran out of money. Just in the right moment I found a job again and so in June 2016 I started working in the logistics department of Ikea.
I am still working there every Friday and I love it. I did not even expect that I would enjoy driving the forklift that much. In November 2017 our daughter was born and again I tried to reduce my workshop time as much as I could. I just spend enough time as I needed to be able to pay my dues. And this was hard sometimes. Not only did I need to be very focused and effecient (I still spend about 200 hours on an instrument) but I love being in the shop as much as I love being with my family. Getting the balance is still a huge struggle for me.
Right now I am at home for some weeks and accompany my daughters addaptation phase in kindergarten. I am super happy to be so fortunate that this is possible. And I am even more happy about this all, having my Job and my shop and my family. Life is treating me well. Very well.
To all of my Friends and customers, to my colleagues whom I share my shop with and especially to my ever supportive wife and my family. I love you all. Thank you so much!
I wish you all a great 2019!