The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
Small businesses are the soul of America

More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.

I bought a house—and then moved into a van

It was just crazy enough to thrill me, and just practical enough to prove possible

A psychic in upstate New York once told me I’d meet the love of my life on the road. That’s not why I moved into my campervan just two years after buying my first home. But I can’t say I didn’t consider the romantic possibilities of life in motion. I was broke and bored, terrified of settling for the wrong place or person, and looking in all directions for an alternative.

I found the 1986 GMC Vandura on Craigslist. Photos of the big white van with its red bumper and extended ceiling told a story of travel and life among big trees and bigger mountains. In one, the interior glowed through the doors like cottages do in fairy tales, an opening of warmth and comfort, surrounded by the dark forest at night. I wanted to crawl out of my job search and through that sliding door. I wanted to drive to the woods and forget about my mortgage. I texted the owner and bought the van the next day.

Here was my plan: I would rent out my house as a vacation home and hit the road whenever it was booked. I could be a homeowner with freedom. A van dweller with stability. It was just crazy enough to thrill me, and...

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Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.