How to Start a Furniture Manufacturing Business

When it comes to running any business, knowing where to start is essential for its survival. Whether you have a degree in furniture design and manufacturing, or have taught yourself how to design and manufacture unique pieces, if you want to sell your designs, you need skills related to business management, marketing and finances.
It’s also important to choose the proper insurance coverage to protect your furniture business and property, no matter what type of furniture you specialize in manufacturing.
How to set up your business:
Find your niche
You need to decide what kind of furniture you’re going to make. Whether it’s home upholstering, office furniture, or kitchen cabinetry, you need to specify the materials you’re going to use, such as wood, metal, bamboo, and other suitable materials. This comes hand in handy with identifying your market. At the same time, you should decide whether you’re going to sell locally, or expand to a broader market. A market analysis can assess the demand for your type of furniture, as well as identify competitors and their palette.
Choose a location
If you’re looking to run a brick and mortar store, you need a space that suits your customers’ needs. For example, if you’re making custom living room sets, you’ll need a space large enough to display different options. Also, if you’re marketing your furniture to families, make sure the space accommodates parents with children and strollers. Researching zoning laws in your area will tell you where you’re permitted to run your business. Even if you decide to operate strictly online, you need a location for your workshop and a warehouse space.
Write a business plan
As an entrepreneur, you need to invest time in writing a business plan that provides you with a roadmap to success. Even if you see yourself more as an artist, you still need to devote time to business practices, such as defining marketing strategies, developing financial projections, and eventually considering expansion. It also defines your business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, which is essential for tax considerations.
Purchase or lease machinery
The basic machinery and special equipment will allow you to streamline your manufacturing process and make it more efficient. A drop saw is indispensable for cutting larger pieces of timber, while a band saw is needed for cutting angled and curved shapes. A reliable automatic saw with a measuring stop system enables heavy reduction in the cutting labour content and intensity with solutions for cutting aluminium, steel, and timber. Among other machines, you need a mortising machine for drilling out square mortising holes, and a finisher for sanding off the edges and faces of timber.Find inspiration for your designs
For a resourceful artisan, inspiration may come in many forms. The natural world is full of shadows, forms, and silhouettes that can be turned into shapes, lines, and colours of your designs. Even everyday items such as windows, food, and buildings can spark ideas for table legs, cabinet layouts, and other furniture elements. Finally, inspiration may always come from your customers’ needs. In general, the design and aesthetics of your furniture will be determined by the style you’ve chosen, such as contemporary, country, traditional, etc.
Create a website
Even if you strictly operate out of a brick and mortar store, you should have a high-quality website to display your work. Don’t hesitate to hire a good web designer who’ll make your online presentation look professional. It’s important that you update your site regularly with new pieces, and perhaps consider adding a blog page where you’ll post project updates and photographs of the best of your work taken by a professional photographer.
Apart from having the great skills of a craftsman, running a successful custom furniture business takes a bit of an entrepreneurial edge and marketer’s know-how in order to make it profitable. [1]
Obtain licenses and permits
Every state requires some form of business or license to operate legally in that state. Visit the website of your state government to research what is required to open your furniture business in your state. Your state may have specific regulations about the location of your furniture making business. Also, familiarize yourself with state and federal consumer safety regulations.
Furniture manufacturers must comply with requirements regarding formaldehyde emissions from wood, greenhouse gas reporting, hazardous air pollutants from wood and metal coatings, and hazardous waste disposal.[2]
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