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Black Friday...nope

Remember when Black Friday was on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving)? It was a whole thing. Consumers waited patiently with bated breath.

Not too many years ago this slow burn started to happen. Some brilliant marketer decided to stretch the Black Friday to Cyber Monday (don't quote memory is fuzzy).

Companies followed...

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Two daughters of the step kind...

I've been a step father, for lack of a better term, for around 10 years now. Honestly, I didn't plan on that when I started dating my wife and I'm not really sure why. Probably some insight to my level of emotional maturity at the time. To be fair, they didn't consider me a step father so it was an easy conclusion for me. In the beginning, I was just a guy that was hanging around and taking that part of my duty with a grain of salt... Continue reading


For years I've heard the United States referred to as a "melting pot". The idea being that it's made up of many different cultures blending as one. I never gave it much thought... Continue reading

Don't quit yer day job...

Before there was J. L. Lawson & Co., I had a small jewelry line I was trying to build. I had a cool brand name, logo, imagery, website with decent sales, good sales with a local retail store and some online stores. I learned the basics of jewelry making and had some pretty cool and mildly popular pieces with a small newsletter following of about 800 people... Continue reading

Pop's Tops

Memory is a funny thing. It's rarely 100% accurate although you'd swear on your life that it was. My vivid memory of my dad's first batch of tops took place in December of 2012 because it was for that holiday season. When combing through the photos, I discovered that it was late August that they arrived. What I do remember clearly is being blown away and calling him immediately... Continue reading

Be an Eagle

Ten years ago this month, I started a thing with my dad. It wasn't a big thing, just a cool way to spend some time and make him some extra money. In short, if it weren't for my dad, this business would have never been. Six and a half years later, he got hit with cancer of multiple types. Eight months after that, he was gone. Those of you that have been around already know this story but I figure it's worth repeating on the ten year anniversary of J. L. L.... Continue reading

Lawson Ceramics...

A few years before my dad died, I was out at the shop in Joshua Tree doing my thing when I ran across this 70's green vase. I'd seen it many times but it was one of those things that you see but don't see. Sort of like the junk on your coffee table that accumulates and one day you really see it and can't believe you didn't sooner. On this day, for whatever reason, I decided to pick up the vase for an inspection. I guess my thinking was "why the hell is this random green vase born from the time of bellbottoms, The Doobie Brothers and myself floating around the shop?". So I pick this beauty up and on the bottom of the vase I see...LAWSONS...huh?... Continue reading


I was just out in the shop on the lathe stewing over some snarky comments on Instagram. This is just one of the many reasons I'm not a fan of social media but I'll leave that for a later discussion. Generally speaking, I don't read comments because I don't want to dwell on negative feedback (it stings) but I also miss out on mostly positive as well as questions about the product so decided to scroll through. There's a particular attitude about the coins that has been brought up multiple times and I just can't get past it (specifically the O2 Worry Coin). The comment has been about the cost and why Copper or Bronze is so expensive. This thinking never ceases to amaze me. I suppose the thought process is that since a pound of Copper is only around $7, why would the coin be $35? I assume that the majority knows that material cost is just one aspect of the product that dictates the final retail cost but this is for the minority. Rather than break down the costs and bore you, just know that the material is the least of the costs involved in getting a product to market.

Part two of this equation is about perceived value. Does any of this minority actually believe that the "leather" in a Louis Vitton bag is worth thousands? I'll bring it down way lower...what about the material cost of those Nike's you're wearing? All of us can walk into a thrift store and fill our entire wardrobe for about $100 but I'm guessing most of us don't unless we have to. We buy products we like without giving the production cost of said product much thought but we scoff at products we don't like and try to tear down the makers.

Admittedly, I'm guilty of this as well but it doesn't come from a place of sincerity, it comes from ego, cynicism and insecurity. I'm going to work on that.


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The Slide Box

Around 8 or 9 years ago, my dad made this little slide box. From a machining point of view, it's not all that impressive. Don't get me wrong, it blew my mind back then because I knew less than zero about machining, but it's just a chunk of aluminum milled out to fit inside a piece of steel tubing. Machining aside, what amazed me the most is that my dad just made it for no reason. He did this all of the time. He would just be sitting around the shop, see a piece of tubing (in this case), and decide to turn it into a slide box. This is one of the many characteristics of my dad that I miss the most. He didn't need a reason to make something, he just got inspired and made it. I have pieces of his similar to this all over my shop now. He once bought a Dremel scroll saw on a whim, made a couple of funky wood pieces (photo to come at a later date) and never touched the saw again. All of my life I considered my dad an old school machinist but recently I've come to realize that he was a craftsman/maker. The sad part is that I don't think he ever realized this which is part of why he rarely shared anything he made until I essentially made him do it. Ten years ago, I thought I was just starting a side thing with my pop in an effort to help him make some money. A year later, I talked him into teaching me some basics so I could help out. I had no idea what this would turn into and never expected to discover that my true passion is also in being a maker of goods. I'm not a master of this craft by any means but I'm continuing to hone my skills and can't thank you enough for going along this journey with me.

Check out my little homage to my dad's slide box here.

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Just over two years ago, I was told that it takes about a year to get over the loss of a parent but I'm not sure "get over" is the proper terminology. Can you really ever get over the loss of a loved one? Of course not. The right way to phrase this... Continue reading