Saturday, April 22, 2006

The world's only diamond willow headboard maker

When Dad, who lives in northern Minnesota, was 79, a stranger stopped and asked him if there were any diamond willows growing in the area.

Dad didn't know. He had never heard of diamond willows. The man showed Dad some beautiful walking sticks he had made out of diamond willows.

Dad researched diamond willows on the Internet and then went looking for them. He discovered lots of diamond willows near our farm. "I've probably been walking by them since I was five years old and never knew they were there," he says.

Now Dad is 82, a man with his own diamond willow business and website, Foss Diamond Willows, and someone who is having more fun working than ever before. In fact, recently he told me, "Life begins at 80."

While I've been launching Evergreen Leaders, discovering how to create a nonprofit that can help other nonprofits thrive, Dad has been discovering how to create a thriving business.

When the board and I launched Evergreen Leaders we focused on developing leadership workshops for nonprofit staff. Recently we have added strategic planning and fund raising consulting services in addition to the workshops.

Dad began making diamond willow walking sticks and lamps and marketing them at craft shows. But he kept looking for bigger ticket items that he could make from diamond willows.

After he made a diamond willow bed a couple of people suggested that he make diamond willow headboards. When a customer happily paid $500 for a diamond willow headboard, that got Dad's attention.

Now he has created diamond willow headboards for every size of bed. As he's shown them to customers he's dicovered that his customers see the diamond willow headboards as a perfect addition to their lake homes.

I'm proud of my Dad--the world's first maker of diamond willow headboards.