By day, I work with a crew of guys in the world of general contracting. In the past few months we've tackled a high-end gut kitchen renovation, a bunch of tile work, the complete renovation of a 4-family building, and a variety of projects at a couple upscale west county restaurants. We've been busy.
Once you've set - as an example - kitchen cabinets enough times, it becomes a pretty pedestrian endeavor. There's still satisfaction to be found in a job well done, but ultimately, every now and then I find myself in need of a bigger challenge, and those are the times that I head into the shop and build furniture, or home decor style knick-knacks.
Sometimes the challenge in those projects stems from being solely responsible for the entire life cycle of the project: design, construction, finishing. Sometimes the challenge in those projects stems from using reclaimed materials, which are almost always imperfect (and more times than not pretty beat up), and finding a way to clean up the material enough to use it while not ridding the material of all its character. Sometimes the challenge in those projects stems from simply constructing something where 16ths and 32nds and 64ths of an inch can make the difference between something that looks really good, and something that looks like it was slapped together by a drunk giraffe.
Needless to say, over the past few years, some of the things I've built have started to take up a lot of space. I don't spend a lot of time trying to sell the things I sometimes randomly build, mostly because I enjoy the construction aspect of the projects, and once one thing is finished, I dig right into the next one. The sales part - pictures and text and dealing with things like Etsy and shipping and whatnot - isn't something I really enjoy, so...I recently decided to go about trying to outsource the selling of some of the things I make.
As such, I recently partnered with Urban Matter, a home accessories & gift boutique located in south St. Louis. I contacted them, went in for a visit, brought along a variety of small items I've built over the years, and just like that...they bought a bunch of stuff from me. The items they bought aren't super exciting or in any kind of large scale or quantity, but the ladies that run the place seem to "get" the reclaimed stuff. Truth be told, the stuff they seemed to like the most are things that I typically build, or "make", with the scraps that are leftover from bigger projects; if I tear apart an old door, cut away all the crap and get down to bare pine that I use for something like a sofa table or cabinet, all the cut-offs and scraps then become...picture frames, business card holders, wall/"folk art", crates...whatever I can come up with based on the materials I have. Otherwise...I'd be making 2 dozen trips to the dumpster every week, or the shop would be inundated with all shapes and sizes of material, neither of which I'm real excited about.
All three of those came from old doors (and much larger projects), and the patina was such that I couldn't bring myself to throw away the scraps. These little business card holders aren't pricey or fancy but they look kinda cool and really, they're just another outlet to try to grow the business and get more products on more shelves.
The picture frames seem to be halfway popular as well, so the next few weeks will be busy trying to cram in some shop time when we're not busy with upcoming work at The Tavern and Namaste, and I think I'll have to bite the bullet and get the Etsy store up and running again...