Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019 - 42

How one-time gigs turn into
long-term revenue streams.

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or many people, the so-called gig economy has created an entirely new
way to make a living. The idea of side hustles may strike many fabricators
as familiar-just with a new name. It's not difficult to find fabricators who
started a business with a narrow, well-defined specialty, only to find
opportunities (sometimes intentionally, sometimes by happenstance) that have
expanded the scope of their work. In some cases, one-off projects have turned
into long-term specialties that have changed the very nature of their businesses.
Most find the changes have helped their businesses expand, but the gig
economy is not without its challenges.
ADD BALANCE BY DIVERSIFYING
When Gary Cruikshank, Custom Upholstery and Awning Center LLC in Brainerd, Minn., took
over the business from his father some 30 years ago, the company handled upholstery for boats,
autos and furniture. Awning work-now about half his business-was not part of the repertoire.
"As I've always said, I didn't start an awning business, the awning business started me," says
Cruikshank. Like many fabricators who have expanded their businesses, Cruikshank initially
thought awning work might be just something of a side hustle.
"People kept coming in and saying, 'Well, you made a boat cover for me, and we have these
awnings on our house-can you make us new ones?' Pretty soon someone else would say, 'I hear
you're doing awnings; I could use some awnings.' It was just a domino effect," says Cruikshank.
42 REVIEW DECEMBER 2019



Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019

Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019 - 1
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