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.

The Neighbors Issue

Two neighbors stand back to back rinsing their parked cars with hoses in their driveways. There are two matching buckets filled with soapy water and sponges between them. Illustration.Mary Kate McDevitt

Getting familiar with the strangers next door.

Think of your neighbors before the pandemic: Their letters in your mailbox and the inexplicable bowling-ball sounds from above, or the person you passed on the street who looked so familiar but you weren’t sure why.

These weak ties were always crucial to our sense of community, but now, three-plus months into a routine of self-isolation that has more of us sticking close to home and relying on our neighbors for everything from groceries to social interaction, we’ve gotten more acquainted with those strangers next door. We’ve met through local mutual-aid societies that sprang up amid months of isolation, or simply because we’re spending more time on the porch or stoop. (This newfound intimacy might be tinged with frustration as we come face-to-face with each other’s quirks.)

In Curbed’s Neighbors Issue, we look at what it means to form relationships with the people who live closest to us, whether we met before or during the pandemic, or whether we live in L.A.’s bungalow courts (we stan the most neighborly form of housing in the U.S.), a New York City apartment building, or a pair of RVs that caravan together....


Two neighbors stand back to back rinsing their parked cars with hoses in their driveways. There are two matching buckets filled with soapy water and sponges between them. Illustration.Mary Kate McDevitt

Getting familiar with the strangers next door.

Think of your neighbors before the pandemic: Their letters in your mailbox and the inexplicable bowling-ball sounds from above, or the person you passed on the street who looked so familiar but you weren’t sure why.

These weak ties were always crucial to our sense of community, but now, three-plus months into a routine of self-isolation that has more of us sticking close to home and relying on our neighbors for everything from groceries to social interaction, we’ve gotten more acquainted with those strangers next door. We’ve met through local mutual-aid societies that sprang up amid months of isolation, or simply because we’re spending more time on the porch or stoop. (This newfound intimacy might be tinged with frustration as we come face-to-face with each other’s quirks.)

In Curbed’s Neighbors Issue, we look at what it means to form relationships with the people who live closest to us, whether we met before or during the pandemic, or whether we live in L.A.’s bungalow courts (we stan the most neighborly form of housing in the U.S.), a New York City apartment building, or a pair of RVs that caravan together. As the country roils amid COVID-19 and the renewed movement for Black lives, we’re thinking about what it means to be a neighbor beyond our front doors. —Sara Polsky


CREDITS
Writers: Diana Budds, Jessica Gross, Hadley Meares, Zan Romanoff, Melody Warnick, Andrew Zaleski
Editors: Sara Polsky, Mercedes Kraus
Art Direction: Alyssa Nassner
Illustrations: Mary Kate McDevitt
Copy Editors: Emma Alpern, Cynthia Orgel, Carl Rosen
Special Thanks: Mariam Aldhahi, Megan Barber, Willy Blackmore, Marisa Carroll


Two neighbors stand back to back rinsing their parked cars with hoses in their driveways. There are two matching buckets filled with soapy water and sponges between them. Illustration.Mary Kate McDevitt

Getting familiar with the strangers next door.

Think of your neighbors before the pandemic: Their letters in your mailbox and the inexplicable bowling-ball sounds from above, or the person you passed on the street who looked so familiar but you weren’t sure why.

These weak ties were always crucial to our sense of community, but now, three-plus months into a routine of self-isolation that has more of us sticking close to home and relying on our neighbors for everything from groceries to social interaction, we’ve gotten more acquainted with those strangers next door. We’ve met through local mutual-aid societies that sprang up amid months of isolation, or simply because we’re spending more time on the porch or stoop. (This newfound intimacy might be tinged with frustration as we come face-to-face with each other’s quirks.)

In Curbed’s Neighbors Issue, we look at what it means to form relationships with the people who live closest to us, whether we met before or during the pandemic, or whether we live in L.A.’s bungalow courts (we stan the most neighborly form of housing in the U.S.), a New York City apartment building, or a pair of RVs that caravan together. As the country roils amid COVID-19 and the renewed movement for Black lives, we’re thinking about what it means to be a neighbor beyond our front doors. —Sara Polsky


CREDITS
Writers: Diana Budds, Jessica Gross, Hadley Meares, Zan Romanoff, Melody Warnick, Andrew Zaleski
Editors: Sara Polsky, Mercedes Kraus
Art Direction: Alyssa Nassner
Illustrations: Mary Kate McDevitt
Copy Editors: Emma Alpern, Cynthia Orgel, Carl Rosen
Special Thanks: Mariam Aldhahi, Megan Barber, Willy Blackmore, Marisa Carroll



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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.