I want/wish to start my own business, making and selling HT furniture - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-02-2013, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I want to start by saying I have some decent woodworking skills and have a little space where I can create some furniture. I don't intend on modifying homes or anything crazy like that, lol

I do have plans and intent on making things such as speaker stands, maybe some smaller HT units for shelving amps, receivers, turntables, etc.

This is all brainstormed ideas and I haven't done anything yet, so I am in the VERY early stages-- all in my head. I am nervous as heck to be honest since I'm scared I will fail. Stupid-- I know, but it's true and how I feel.

What made me lean towards making stuff is I remember last summer, I was looking online and at brick and mortar furniture shops and never found what I was looking for. When I DID find something that I wanted to buy, the price of a basic HT stand was over $1000.

I do intend on having someone cut out and work with good quality glass, but this is kind of far ahead, since I am again, in the brainstorming process.

My goal is to offer custom builds for a higher price, but will create blueprints of "standard" and basic HT furniture and create those once I get orders, and NOT charge an arm and a leg for it. These standard items will be sold the same to everyone, unless they want it customized which will cost a little more.

I plan to start within my city and maybe the small towns surrounding my city. Hopefully, one day, I can expand and do shipping across Canada.

Any ideas, advice or suggestions is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-02-2013, 04:15 PM
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I am not industry expert but I did something similar to what you propose from 1994 to 1999.

I created high end audio rack systems with all the bells and whistles and kept cost fairly reasonable considering the products were a combination of premium hard woods, isolation bumpers, phenolic laminate shelving with high density fiberboard plinths for the actual shelves. Cool stuff and we actually did lab testing with accelerometers to show that it isolated your components very well.

Started selling locally and then went online and sold direct. That brought in all kinds of issues. Had to design shipping boxes and make the design so that it could be assembled at destination and shipped flat.

At the end of 5 years, I literally broke even. That is not counting my labor. I worked for free for 4-5 years. I ran the business lean, but when volume increased, I had to hire help and buy more equipment and work a lot of long days.

In this business all is well and good when customer is happy. Myy stuff appealed to audiophiles - these guys are picky. The racks were well reviewed by online media and most users, but I did have 2 very vocal reviewers that just slammed my product. The one guy wanted me to do a custom wood choice for him and he drove me nuts for months. I wanted to just give him a refund but he insisted that I make him a new rack 3 times. I eventually sent him a refund and he never returned the last product. The other guy was a representative for another manufacturer who slammed my product as a knock off of brand "Z" which actually came after my product was on the market. Nonetheless, in the early days of the internet, these reviews had legs and it did hurt business a bit.

Fast forward to today. I don't see audio video furniture as being a smart business venture if you need to make money doing this. If you want a hobby business and are not needing income to live, go for it if you think it will be fun.

If you notice all the trend to small digital devices - home automation, wi-fi,and hiding components if you are a home theater person, I just don't see the market. You are also competing with cheap imports. that is very hard to do.

I don't mean to be curmudgeon, but it is a tough way to make a living. I did it as a hobby business. My friends, family, and I now all have cool audio racks. My kids get a kick out of reading about my previous life in online review archives. I did have Fabio and some porn star girls (not together) hang out in my room at CES Vegas. I guess that was cool. No I did not work out a trade. lol

By the way, the reason I stopped? Well I wasn't making any money but that was nothing new. I was working on a table saw at 2 am ripping parts for the racks. I started to fall asleep while working a table saw - standing up. I called it a night, went home and realized I had to be at work in 4 hours. I was a lot younger then but I realized eventually my day job would suffer, or I would lose a few fingers. Wasn't worth it - pulled the plug that week and filled the final orders.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-02-2013, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Damn, that sounds rough my friend. I will rethink this. I did however, still want to do woodworking as a real business, not a hobby. I want to make living room, bedroom decor and small tables, chairs, desks, etc.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-02-2013, 11:31 PM
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I'd look to partner with a small local firm with established clients and processes and over time develop product in line with your expectations/desires.

If the US the like Australia, you're never going to win the volume game over China etc, so you need very high quality products in a good business that has a core cashflow from a non-cyclical (within reason) product base. Do custom jobs only, charge appropriately and keep working capital in check.

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post #5 of 6 Old 07-17-2013, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BestInTheWorld View Post

Damn, that sounds rough my friend. I will rethink this. I did however, still want to do woodworking as a real business, not a hobby. I want to make living room, bedroom decor and small tables, chairs, desks, etc.

Well, there might be some lean years. It will help if you can live cheap or have a supportive spouse who works.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-17-2013, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have a wife, and I want to make money soon and not only break even. I think I will try something else besides this.
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