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.

These marble-like tables are made from recycled jeans

Sophie Rowley’s designs are a practice in upending expectations

Sophie Rowley’s new tables are like a Rorschach of design. What do you see—is it marble? Is it denim? In fact, it’s not exactly either.

The designer created Bahia Denim, a new material that gives old denim sourced from recycling centers a marble-esque look. From a distance, the tables look like they’ve been sculpted from dark, marbled stone. Up close, though, you can see the denim’s fabric qualities poking through.

Close-up of blue table topPhoto: Sophie Rowley

According to Fast Company, Rowley creates the effect by dipping different shades of denim into a plastic-y bio-resin before layering them in a criss-cross pattern. When the resin dries, the material takes on the softness of a fabric with the stiffness of a resin. “The exposed surface is jeans, so it has a soft and warm sensation,” she said.

Table with square topPhoto: Sophie Rowley
Table with round topPhoto: Sophie Rowley

The multi-hued denim merely creates the illusion of marble, but it’s no cheap knock-off. The process has its own brilliant charm—it’s cheaper than mining stone from a quarry, and it’s better for the planet.

Want more sustainability-minded design experiments? Check out these impressive...


Sophie Rowley’s designs are a practice in upending expectations

Sophie Rowley’s new tables are like a Rorschach of design. What do you see—is it marble? Is it denim? In fact, it’s not exactly either.

The designer created Bahia Denim, a new material that gives old denim sourced from recycling centers a marble-esque look. From a distance, the tables look like they’ve been sculpted from dark, marbled stone. Up close, though, you can see the denim’s fabric qualities poking through.

Close-up of blue table topPhoto: Sophie Rowley

According to Fast Company, Rowley creates the effect by dipping different shades of denim into a plastic-y bio-resin before layering them in a criss-cross pattern. When the resin dries, the material takes on the softness of a fabric with the stiffness of a resin. “The exposed surface is jeans, so it has a soft and warm sensation,” she said.

Table with square topPhoto: Sophie Rowley
Table with round topPhoto: Sophie Rowley

The multi-hued denim merely creates the illusion of marble, but it’s no cheap knock-off. The process has its own brilliant charm—it’s cheaper than mining stone from a quarry, and it’s better for the planet.

Want more sustainability-minded design experiments? Check out these impressive material innovations at Milan Design Week 2019.

Sophie Rowley’s designs are a practice in upending expectations

Sophie Rowley’s new tables are like a Rorschach of design. What do you see—is it marble? Is it denim? In fact, it’s not exactly either.

The designer created Bahia Denim, a new material that gives old denim sourced from recycling centers a marble-esque look. From a distance, the tables look like they’ve been sculpted from dark, marbled stone. Up close, though, you can see the denim’s fabric qualities poking through.

Close-up of blue table topPhoto: Sophie Rowley

According to Fast Company, Rowley creates the effect by dipping different shades of denim into a plastic-y bio-resin before layering them in a criss-cross pattern. When the resin dries, the material takes on the softness of a fabric with the stiffness of a resin. “The exposed surface is jeans, so it has a soft and warm sensation,” she said.

Table with square topPhoto: Sophie Rowley
Table with round topPhoto: Sophie Rowley

The multi-hued denim merely creates the illusion of marble, but it’s no cheap knock-off. The process has its own brilliant charm—it’s cheaper than mining stone from a quarry, and it’s better for the planet.

Want more sustainability-minded design experiments? Check out these impressive material innovations at Milan Design Week 2019.


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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.