It’s easier than ever in this digital age to start your own custom design furniture business. It still takes a lot of work and planning, but more people than ever have become their own boss and opened their own business.
Keep reading if you want to be one of them and hope to do it with your passion for custom furniture.
Here are some top tips to start a furniture business of your own!
First Things First
Prior to hanging the ‘open for business’ sign, there are a few things you’ll want to figure out. Getting these details worked out ahead of time will help the business run smoothly when you do start selling.
Create a Plan
If you really want to make your custom design furniture business be a success, you need a plan to help get it there.
What Supplies Do You Need?
You can’t open a custom design furniture business if you don’t have any furniture. You need to figure out where you’ll get the supplies you need to create an inventory.
There are many different ways you can get started. You may want to build the furniture from scratch. This means you’ll need a lumber and hardware supplier.
You could also decide to refinish and upcycle old furniture. This may be an economical way of starting your business and allow you to build a catalog of projects you’ve completed.
What Will Your Business Look Like?
You’ll want to make some basic decisions regarding your furniture business such as how you are going to sell your furniture. There are several options available which means you have flexibility to start small and work your way to a larger enterprise as the company grows.
Even if you decide to sell online rather than a physical store, you’re going to need a place for you to run the business from. Keep business and pleasure separate so that you can be professional and organized when dealing with customers.
Whether your company is just you or a team of ten, you need office workstations that promote productivity, professionalism and are ergonomically correct for your company to reach its full potential.
One Person Operation
Many people just starting out as their own boss forego the overhead costs of a brick and mortar store and conduct all their business online.
Some business owners prefer more casual and economical forms of marketing such as posting on Kijiji or Craigslist, joining online communities, or setting up an online shop on a platform like Etsy.
These options work well for someone who is starting part-time or doing this as a side-gig while focusing their career efforts in other areas. You don’t want to quit your job to start a business without some plan for how you’ll earn money until you gain a client base and gaining profits in your business.
Most companies, whether a box store giant or one person working from their garage, have a business website to attract customers, showcase products and services, and close sales.
You may choose to allow orders online or simply provide contact information for them to connect with you.
If you know a lot about building furniture but nothing about building a website that’s okay. There are many aspects of the business you can outsource. There are many companies and freelancers who are experts in website creation and moderation.
If you decide to sell your custom furniture online you’ll need to consider logistics and costs. Furniture can be bulky and expensive to ship.
You’ll need to research the cost of shipping locally and internationally to ensure you don’t end up losing money due to huge shipping and duty.
You’ll also need to figure out how payment will be accepted, what services you’ll offer, and how you’ll keep business records. There are many companies, freelancers, software, and apps that can help you conduct the finer details of the business.
Where the Magic Happens for Your Furniture Business
You’re going to need space to work and store your inventory. You’ll need a workshop with all the tools required to create your beautiful designs.
If you have several customer’s orders on the go at once, you’ll need enough space to be able to sand one without getting sawdust all over one that you just stained.
Consider the weather when choosing your workspace. An outside area is great in the middle of a hot summer with little rain. You won’t have much success trying to work outside on furniture in the middle of a February snowstorm.
You’ve Got a Plan and Inventory, Now What?
You’ve created a business plan, made some awesome custom design furniture, figured out how to ship it, and even created a website to sell it but no one knows you exist.
So now what? How do you announce that you’re open for business to a world that has a billion websites wanting their attention?
You need to develop a marketing strategy that works for you, your business and your life.
1. Local Marketing
Many people feel it’s much easier to sell and buy furniture in your community than have to ship it across the country. You may be able to find all the customers you need right in your local community.
You can market to them through local community bulletin boards, Facebook groups, local business directories, direct mail campaigns, networking, and community outreach.
Many towns have Farmer’s, Crafts, and Christmas Markets where vendors can sell their goods. You may also be able to sell at local events such as summer festivals or Home and Garden Expos.
2. Online Marketing
A user-friendly, accessible company website is almost essential to making it big in business today. It’s not enough to just create a website though. You need people to go to it.
Creating social media profiles and business directory listings can help customers and search engines find you easier.
Search engine optimization of all your online content is critical to ranking higher in search engine results and to driving more traffic to your website.
3. Consignment and Business Clients
You can always find a local consignment store and ask for some space to showcase your custom furniture business items there. You’ll have to pay a small fee for space but it certainly is a great option when you don’t want the expense or responsibility of your own physical store.
Many businesses like to buy local when they’re renovating or updating their office. Targeting this market with flyers or catalogues as you build a relationship through networking.
Start Your Custom Design Furniture Business Today
A dream remains a dream until you make a plan. The only thing stopping you today from having a custom design furniture business is you. By following the tips above you could be making your dream business a reality today.
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