Tell us about your business.I founded Phloem Studio in 2010 after being laid off from a cabinet shop. I wanted to start my own furniture design studio and it was perfect timing. I grew up in a house my dad built in Michigan across the street from Lake Huron. He taught construction trades at a technical school for years, had a business building furniture, and he built wooden sailboats. Woodworking was definitely around growing up. Now dad works for Phloem part time. It's awesome. We are influenced by the past, but dedicated to living within the contemporary canon, outside of any trend or fad. Each piece of furniture is made by hand to order with the finest materials available. We are happy to offer customization on everything in our line. Our furniture pieces are inspired by moments shared with family and friends. We work very closely with a small crew of talented collaborators. Our aim is to design collections of furniture that feel familiar and unique, like your home.
What makes your business stand out?Phloem is a small, independent, American furniture design studio with a father and son working together on what they love. Every step of our process is done under the same warehouse roof. We handle every aspect of the design and woodworking. Our upholsterer and leather worker are in the same building. We design with intention and honor each materials natural qualities. We make every piece of furniture to order by hand.
What's the best business advice you've received?Don’t stop. When you’re 23 and you want to make something cool, your ability to execute your vision of cool probably isn’t there. It may not be there for a long time. Most people don't realize that it's completely normal to be horrible at something for a while. That's how you get better. People get frustrated with being patient and just stop. You will never get anywhere unless you keep at it. There is something fantastic and amazing that only experience and failure can teach you about your craft and your life. I wake up, thank my stars that I get to do this for a living, and go to work. There are bad days and there are good days, but you don’t stop. You push through the bad days and cherish the good days. You have to keep going. I’m 36 years young. I can’t wait to see what I’m going to be drawing and prototyping and building when I’m 70.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.