Behind the scenes
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by Faith Teel
For those of you who have been following along on my adventures as I design our first product for production to sell nationwide...
...I've made quite a bit of progress, and had a few reversals too.
All in all I think this is one of the most fun side projects I've worked on for a long time. If you've never planned a product launch, I highly recommend it as a distraction from the depressing nightly news. This is the best hobby I've had in years.
Since this is the first time we've ever designed a cabinet for production, I turned to my beloved Aunt Katie and Uncle Stephan for advice.
They run a larger cabinet workshop in Pennsylvania, so they're familiar with the ins and outs of large-scale manufacturing.
A quick chat with Uncle Stephan made one thing clear: we are entering entirely new territory with this project.
Selling custom cabinets face-to-face to Asheville locals looks something like this:
We email, meet, shake hands, design the cabinet, build and install it, and voila, you've got a fabulous new living room centerpiece to call your own.
Selling online looks more like this:
Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin. Soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, pulling string (B) and thereby jerking ladle (C), which throws cracker (D) past toucan (E). Toucan jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and ignites lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K), which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M), allowing pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth, thereby wiping chin.
I could update this for e-commerce to say something more like:
Cabinet (A) is designed, then we make a prototype (B) and take photos (C) then set up a Shopify website (D) and order our first batch (E) and run Facebook ads (F) and get our first order (G) which we ship out to our new customer (H) ...
And so on. It's really way more detailed than that.
I soon realized that my original cabinet idea was a laughably huge project for my first foray into e-comm.
So it was back to the drawing board, and I've come up with a much simpler locking medicine cabinet that looks like a painting in a standard gallery "floater" frame...
...but pops open to reveal a 4-inch deep cabinet. How could it be four inches deep without giving away its status as a cabinet? It recesses neatly between the studs in your wall, that's how.
It's the perfect option for people who take strong prescription medicine and need to secure it from curious grandchildren and other visitors.
And with a mirror and an interior light, it would also make a very cool speakeasy cabinet. Great for keeping your teenagers from watering down your liquor, or surprising your guests at parties.
Speaking of impressing your guests... look what I found.
I've been researching popular art trends and have come up with seven absolutely gorgeous paintings. Can't you envision the cowboy art, or the 12-point buck, gracing the walls of a man cave?
And then there's this charmer:
A cow under a rainbow! How "modern farmhouse" is that? But still so elegant.
I'll probably come up with a few more; I know there are many people out there who prefer abstract art.
But meanwhile, I have a question for you:
Who is your favorite Asheville cabinet maker?*
*Besides us, of course. ;-)
Right now our calendar is full until the end of January and there is no way we can do the manufacturing for this project ourselves.
I was planning to ask Aunt Katie and Uncle Stephan to make them for us, because their work is absolutely incredible. But sadly, their workshop is closing permanently in response to the Corona virus.
This isn't quite as tragic as it sounds. They were planning to retire soon anyway, and after several decades of dedication to their business, they say it will be a relief to them to "only" work 40 hours a week at a normal job.
But it is the end of an era. They're such talented people and have been a real inspiration and support to us in our business.
The silver lining is that I now have an opportunity to work with a local Asheville cabinet business instead. So if you've worked with any really talented cabinet shops in the past, please send me your recommendations.
And keep your eyes peeled for our next email. We're finally allowed out to do cabinet installations, so we should be putting in the secret door bookcase soon. See you then!
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