Despite all the naysayers, threats of draconian regulations, nights of ramen noodle dinners, confusing tax policies, and endless hours in the workshop Blue Room Briars, the online store I launched with Scott Townsend, is still alive and kicking. In fact, it is thriving. Don't get me wrong, we're a long way from providing a stable standard of living for two full time employees, but our first year of operation has, frankly, exceeded my expectations.
It's incredible the amount of work that Scott and I have put into this business, and while I'm not sure we've achieved "well oiled machine" status, we are no longer just two guys, one basement, one garage, a laptop and a lathe. I have a fully equipped, insulated workshop and Scott has a cozy office set up surrounded by filing cabinets and hundreds of pipes from all over the globe. We've catalogued over 1000 pipes. I've made over 100, and refurbished another 700 or so. We've introduced our own line of production pipes and gathered artisans from across three continents, and as good as this may sound, we're just getting started.
Making so many pipes has increased my speed and skill. Although I take a lot of commissions, it's nice to be freed from any design constraints. I can finally explore my own aesthetic and finish some ideas I've had in the works for years. Here's a nice group shot of some of the latest to come out of the shop, courtesy of Scott's excellent photo editing mojo.
Regarding the FDA Boogeyman, the whisper around Washington is that the grandfather date for the deeming regulations will be moved up from 2007 to 2016. This is great news for a lot of people, me included, although it's best not to count chickens before they hatch. In the meantime keep your fingers crossed and pray that a modicum of common sense will prevail.
Of course, none of the success Blue Room Briars has achieved would be possible without you. Thank you guys so much for the support, kind words, encouragement, prayers, and patronage. While it has been an emotional roller coaster, one thing I can say is that at the end of every day I stop and consider how good it feels to be doing what I love, not for someone else, but for myself. Thanks for making that possible.