Demolition Revival Furniture
Tell us about your business.We are a green studio woodshop on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Our mission is to turn our small island's construction debris into one-of-a-kind pieces of heirloom-quality furniture. The look of our work is inspired by the materials at hand, and limited only by our imagination. I started this business after working in the building trades here and being dismayed and disheartened at the sheer volume of usable building materials that wound up in the landfills every single day. We live on a planet with finite resources -- the thought of cutting down more and more trees to satisfy our appetite for beautiful homes and furnishings when we have an endless source of reusable reclaimed wood struck me as absurd, tragic, and unsustainable. So I stopped using new materials and began to create beauty from the ruins. We started selling very locally, but now freight our custom and ready-made work all over the mainland northeast. We hope to expand our market and inspire reclamation.
What makes your business stand out?The unique look of our designs is dictated entirely by the materials at hand, and our business creates very little end-product waste. Almost every scrap and trimming eventually gets used in a piece of furniture. Over the years we have created a signature look that marries the design requirements of contemporary living with the visual pleasure and lasting quality of antique and vintage furniture. And let's face it, there are very few female woodworkers making a living building furniture! Customers are always surprised and intrigued that I actually run the business, and not a husband or boyfriend. I hope I can inspire other young women to try their hands at woodworking.
What's the best business advice you've received?When I first started, I was timid about pushing the look of my pieces too much, I hesitated to use the intense colors that I gravitated toward. Although I had bold ideas about design, I was afraid that I wouldn't find customers for my work, and I thought that if I kept my work more conservative that I'd be more successful. I opened my studio to the owner of a very high end boutique home furnishings store for a private showing, and she immediately gravitated toward the more elaborate and unusual pieces tucked in the corner. She advised me not to try to compete with anyone else, but to take my own vision of what was beautiful and interesting as far as I wanted, and that the market for my work would find me. And she was completely right! I have always been grateful for her encouragement and insight.
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