When it comes to running any business, it is essential to know where to start to survive. Whether you have a degree in furniture design and manufacturing, or you have taught yourself how to design and manufacture unique pieces, you need business management, marketing and finance skills if you want to sell your designs. Our furniture store start-up guide covers all the information you need to help you decide whether this business is a good match for you.
You have to decide what kind of furniture to make. Whether it’s home upholstery, office furniture or kitchen cabinetry, you need to specify the materials you’re going to use, such as wood, metal, bamboo, etc. This comes hand in hand with your market identification. You should also decide whether to sell locally or expand to a wider market at the same time. A market analysis can evaluate your furniture type demand and identify competitors and their range.
If you want to run a brick and mortar store, you need a space that matches the needs of your customers. For instance, if you’re making custom living room sets, you need enough space to display various options. Also, if you market your furniture to families, make sure that the space is suitable for parents with kids and sleepers. In your area, researching zoning laws will tell you where you are allowed to run your business. You need a workshop location and a warehouse space even if you decide to operate strictly online.
You need to invest time as an entrepreneur in writing a business plan that gives you a roadmap to success. Even if you see yourself more as an artist, business practices such as defining marketing strategies, developing financial projections, and eventually considering expansion still need to be devoted time. It also defines the structure of your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, which is essential for tax consequences.
The basic machinery and special equipment will enable you to streamline and make it more efficient in your production process. Cutting larger pieces of timber requires a drop saw, while cutting angled and curved shapes requires a band saw. With a reliable automatic saw with a measuring stop system, the cutting labor content and intensity with solutions for cutting aluminum, steel and timber can be significantly reduced. For drilling out square mortising holes and a finisher for sanding off the edges and faces of timber, you need a mortising machine among other machines.
Inspiration can come in many ways for a resourceful artisan. The natural world is filled with shadows, shapes, and silhouettes that can transform your designs into shapes, lines, and colors. Even everyday items like windows, food and buildings can spark ideas on table legs, cabinet layouts and other elements of furniture. Lastly, inspiration may always come from the needs of your customers. Overall, your furniture’s design and aesthetics will be determined by your chosen style, such as contemporary, country, traditional, etc.
Even if you operate strictly from a brick and mortar store, a high-quality website should be available to display your work. Do not hesitate to hire a good web designer to make a professional look for your online presentation. It is important that you regularly update your site with new pieces, and maybe consider adding a blog page where you will post updates and photographs of the best of your professional photography work. Besides having a craftsman’s great skills, running a successful custom furniture business requires a bit of entrepreneurial edge and know-how from the marketer to make it profitable.
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