Since my blog entries published here and on my company blog at J Alexander Fine Woodworking, I started sharing the history of my young company. Last time we got up to the wood industry downturn and it's impact on Shutter Crafts, my family's company.
What I was learning in class at college I brought into our small 12,000 square foot, 7-person operation.
Things were going well. I was enjoying the mix of production, operations, and managerial duties on my plate and my father and I would discuss issues and opportunities facing the business late into the night. We were having incredible sales throughout the 00′s, much like many of you guys, and then late 2007 hit.
We sold shutters direct to homeowners and through window covering wholesalers throughout Idaho. By early 2008, due to the downturn in the housing market, our wholesale client list plummeted from 30 or so active accounts to around 6. That, as you can imagine, does not bode well for sales.
This is when J. Alexander Fine Woodworking was born. In March of 2008, rather than see my father be forced to lay off an employee, or spend his hard-earned savings keeping employees on staff waiting for a turn-around in the market, I decided to start a custom furniture business to create a new source of revenue.
Looking back four-and-a-half years, it seems a bit crazier now than it did then, but I didn’t really feel like there were many options for my father and for Shutter Crafts. The high-end window covering market was drying up and we had a pretty big operation to support, so why not start a new company and bring in more revenue?
We didn’t have to invest in any machinery and didn’t have to hire any personnel. We just had to create a company and begin the long and arduous task of finding sales.
And that is where I will pick up the story next time.