Anyone currently in the process of starting there own
I'm beginning the planning stages of getting my own custom furniture
business started and would like to hear from folks that are doing the
Would entertain the idea of forming a discussion group to exchange
ideas and "best" practices.
"I'd rather be a woodworker than anything else!"
I'm working on it. I started out renting space in a cooperative shop.
$300 a month, 10x10 bench space, wood storage space and access to all
the equipe 24x7. They wanted artisan type people, no big cabinet or
production work. Kind old and sparse equipment but a real nice
Powermatic 66 setup in a 10' square table.
Then I found a newly opened cabinet shop right near my home. Cut a deal
for basicially the same price, only allowed in shop on off hours &
weeekends but top line equipement and lots of it. Every time I sak
about a hand tool the guy has three different versions, two still in
the package and wants me to try them all.
I'm doing short run products. Some furniture but mostly smaller pieces
like wine racks, plantstands, shelves. I'll be doing kits too.
Basically unassembled verisons of my products that I'll assemble later
if the kits don't sell.
Did eBay last year. I'm going to try the local art fair circuit this
year. With hopes of getting my own space and equipment next year and
transition into a fulltime manufacturing gig selling to retailers
rather than end customers.
Wed, Jan 12, 2005, 9:32am (EST-3) email@example.com (Sev) claims:
<snip>I'm beginning the planning stages of getting my own custom
furniture business started and would like to hear from folks <snip>
Don't quit your day job yet.
Success is getting what you want.
Happiness is wanting what you get.
- Dale Carnegie
I built furniture in my garage for 15 years. I had the best tools and honed
my skills without customers looking over my shoulder or worrying about cost
or mistakes. I took jobs when I wanted to buy more tools. A friend started
coming over to use the tools and we would up in business together. We didn't
make much money for the first few months. Our landlord was a contractor and
he would give us some work. He knew architects who would send us work.
Within a few months we had a 6 month back log. I would suggest that you make
friends with home remodelers, designers, architects that specialize in
working with homeowners and interior designers. I had a book of my work and
I went through the phone book under these categories and phoned each contact
and tried to arrange a meeting. We had way more work than two guys could
Well that is the plain truth. Way too many people do not appreciate
furniture that does not come in a box ready to be assembled. Good furniture
is expensive and most people can live with particle board. I started
serious WW as a stress relief hobby in 1978. In 1995 I retired at 40. I
started WWing professionally shortly after and stay busy but I certainly
would not have wanted to depend on this profession for my main income in the
beginning. 99% of my business now is by word of mouth. The customers are
pretty much sold by the time I meet them.
The woodworking is the easy part. The making money part can be difficult.
Know what you want to make and can make well. Target people that have money
and can appreciate custom work. Don't bother handing out your business card
to the people coming out of IKEA.
Evaluate your skills. If your hobby is making reproductions for museums, you
have a good start. If you made a bird house and a planter and thought it
was fun, you have a long way to go.
Assess what you have to invest. What tools do you need? Check around for
shop locations if you can't do something at home. Rent? Fix up? Bring in
Decide how much money you want to earn. Then take a look at your skills and
abilities. If you think that coffee table can be sold for $500, you know it
has 180 in material, can you make three a week? Knowing you HAVE to make
three tables this week to support yourself, will it still be as much fun as
it is now as your hobby?
I hope it works out for you and you enjoy your career. Once established you
will always have an income if you sell to people that have money. No matter
how bad the economy gets, the rich usually remain rich and continue to buy
I started a business on the side making niche products (see the nav
instrument web page below). I got lots of orders. And filled them...and
found myself not enjoying the process at all.
Now this was a side business - I still worked my regular job. So that was a
little different than what you plan. Still you want to watch out turning an
avocation into a vocation:
there's a risk of not enjoying the work anymore.
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments:
If they are coming out of Ikea empty handed, they might be a good
customer. I went to Ikea once and wouldn't buy 99% of the junk they sell.
Half the particle board production in Taiwan must go to Ikea.
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