Home Business Entrepreneurs: Build Willow Chairs, Homemade Lemonade and Painting Houses

The Bootstrap Businesses column showcases home business entrepreneurs: Learn how to build willow chairs, create a lemonade stand and paint houses for profit.

| March/April 1978

Home business entrepreneurs enter into new businesses, including learning how to build willow chairs, make a lemonade business and paint houses for a living.

Home Business Entrepreneurs: Build Willow Chairs, Homemade Lemonade and Painting Houses

If you now operate, or have ever operated, a successful home business that was inspired by an article you read in MOTHER, tell us about it in around 500 words (write to THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS Hendersonville, North Carolina): Be sure to mention when and where you started your venture and with how much "seed money"; what you make (net), and anything else that might be of assistance to other entrepreneurs. If your story is used in this column, you'll receive [1] the satisfaction of knowing that you may help someone else start a business and [2] a free two-year new or renewal subscription to THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Here in Oregon there just aren't many jobs for a woman who lives 16 miles from the nearest industry . . . with no car . . . and with a frightful aversion to the minimum wage. I'd been looking for work every available day for about four months and was running out of hope when I read Ernie Lewis's article in MOTHER NO. 43 ("I Build Willow Chairs for Pleasure and Profit").

I had no idea of what willow even looked like (visions of poison oak chairs danced in my head) and had never really thought seriously about taking on a business venture. However, the suggested tools — a bow saw and loppers — were handy, as I had borrowed them to prune my fruit tress . . . so I decided to give it a try.

After scraping my pockets I managed to purchase an assortment of nails from the general store, borrowed a friend's pickup (and the friend, to show me what willows looked like), and headed for the river.

My first chair — though far from terrific — was encouraging enough to make me try it again. I was hardly finished with this second attempt when a friend bought the chair right out of the back of the truck. Soon I was swamped with orders from friends of friends of friends. Antique stores looked for me. I even tried my hand at craft fairs . . . and always sold out.

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