Hey, Joel, thanks for talking to me today. Can you briefly walk us through, um, your story and how you got, how you got to where you are today? Um, you can include as little or as much detail as you’d like our great Custom Metal Coffee Tables.
Uh, my story. Um, well, I guess I was at a point in my life with a career in printing that I was bored. And at the time I was doing mostly graphic design for a printing company, and I’ve always been somewhat of a creative type, but never did anything with my hands. It was all just, you know, computer designing. So, um, when I was a teenager, I had welded a bed frame together and, uh, it turned out well and I had it all the way through my twenties and thirties. So when I decided I was bored and I wanted to do something creative, I decided that I would try my hand at building furniture since, uh, that bed frame turned out pretty good. So I bought a welder and I bought some, uh, corded drill and grinder and chop saw just the very basic items and, um, put a picture of that bed frame that I’d built for our new Custom Metal Coffee Tables selection.
Like, I don’t know, 10 or 15 years prior on the internet. And, you know, it’s kinda stayed busy. I mean, a busy is a relative term, but I got response right away and always had something to work on. So it, my welding was completely self-taught and it just started with a photograph of something that I had made a long time ago on the internet. And, um, it really just grew from there over the period of 10, I don’t know, eight or 10 years, um, going from, um, I don’t know, I just enjoyed it as a hobby and I didn’t really take it too seriously. Um, but long story short as the years went on and the internet became more of a force that impacted printing because people were buying less brochures because they had websites. And so as I got better with printing, or as I got better welding printing, I felt like it was going to taper off and not be something that I could continue with as a longterm career.
So, and by that time I was recently married and had a baby on the way, and I was kind of at a crossroads. So that’s when, um, I felt like I really needed to take welding seriously. And so I started treating it seriously. And, um, it was a couple, three years after that point that we wound up, um, quitting a day job and going full time and moving to Arizona. And, uh, so that was kind of the Genesis of, um, how and why I got started making our Custom Metal Coffee Tables. Um, probably the most impactful piece that I built was the coffee table made from, um, the top of the coffee table was the sheet metal from an old Cadillac. Um, a customer wanted something unique and they had made a special request that was really outside of my comfort zone. And so I was really struggling with how to accommodate their request. And I was just going to,
What was there a request? They had brought me a beer sign from their college days. I can’t even remember the alcohol that it was just a thin small, old beer sign that was maybe 11 by 17. And of course, that’s not anywhere near the size of their coffee table. And they, I was like, well, this isn’t going to cover the top of the coffee table within there. They were disliked, make it work, you know, welded to something. And I just, anyway, it was a real problem for me. And I struggled with how to weld thick metal to this beer metal beer sign metal that I wasn’t even sure if it was metal. It could have been who knows what it was. But I was in, I have never been to a junkyard. I’d never been to, I guess I’d been to a scrap yard to sell steel that I didn’t need anymore, but never through the eyes of looking for something to buy.
So that was really my first time, um, going to a scrap yard with the idea of looking for something to buy or looking for an answer, but as luck would have it, um, this old Cadillac was there and the back the trunk lid was huge. And the paint on it was just still to this day. I mean, I’ve bought a lot of metal. And to this day, the paint on that deck lid was phenomenal. It was really cool and it caught my eye and I figured that I could cut. I could buy that hood. I could cut the skin off of it and bend that up and make the top of the coffee table. And I could like tell the customer that I, I still can’t figure out how to make your beer sign bigger than it is. So I’m not doing that, but this is what I can do.
We can wrap this Cadillac sheet metal across the top of your table. And he was in, and I just, I knew that that was, it was a huge light bulb moment for me, cause I’m a car guy. And I knew that that was a pretty cool, I thought it was a pretty cool idea. I’d never seen it before. I’ve seen really bad car furniture, like love seats out of the back of a Mustang. And it’s just, it just kind of gags. I just don’t like it. Or the bench made out of tailgates. It’s just, it’s very flea market and I don’t want to do that, but, and I feel like those coffee tables that we build are first and foremost, really cool modern pieces of furniture. And when you,
That, that metal is 40 or 50 years old and where it came from, it’s kind of a, um, a bit of information that makes that piece even more attractive, but it’s not in your face, overly automotive. So that, that piece was one that really, um, changed a lot for me, open doors. So it hasn’t been a smooth road getting to where you are now, if not, what were some of the struggles along the way? No, it’s not been easy. It’s um, luckily I’ve stayed busy relative to the number of people that are working with me for the best Custom Metal Coffee Tables around.
You know, I think a lot of businesses fail simply because they don’t have time to They don’t have time on their side. I mean,, they have to turn a profit. It might be a great idea. It might have a lot of, a lot of potential, but they just, they don’t have the luxury of time to, um, to build a market. But, and I didn’t either. I mean, I, I have had to pay my personal bills out of the business from like month one. So that causes, that’s kind of like growth retardant twin. You can’t invest back into your business. You’ve got to just pay the bills so that you can function the next month. So, um, it is taken a long time to, um, work through that. Um, inability to put money back into the company, to buy equipment, to make your product quicker and faster. Cause especially when you’re working by yourself, there are only 30 days in a month to get the top Custom Metal Coffee Tables.
And that sounds like a lot. But if, if one custom project takes you a week that you can only do four weeks four projects in a month and you better be making money on those projects because you’ve only got four to do. So you really start, you get, you can get yourself caught in a position to where you just, you can’t work any faster unless you had, you know, better or faster equipment. So you can maybe get a fifth project or a sixth project. And then I dunno, it’s, um, you know, I’ve been blessed, you know, with projects that have been, uh, commercial in nature and they’ve had, you know, repeatability. And so over the years, there has been instances where we’ve had, um, repeat orders on a monthly basis that we can kind of count on to cover our bills. So we have been able to buy some equipment here and there. Um, but all in all small business does take
And, uh, um, but overall it has been very, um, I still love it and I’m, you know, thankful that I get to do this professionally. Cause it’s, um, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels well, it’s hard work. And I go home freaking filthy and I go home tired when making our Custom Metal Coffee Tables. I used to run cross country in high school and we were so pumped driving or driving to the meet. And while we’re running, I’m like, I’m never going to run again. This is miserable. I hate this. I’m never doing this again. And then when it’s over soon as it’s over or you’re high five and your friends, you’re thinking, man, that was the best thing ever. And I go through that with work here. It’s a, there are times to where it’s me by myself at 2:00 AM, just struggling, wondering what in the hell I’m doing with my life, you know, but there are the days that are very rewarding. So, um, all in all, I’m super happy and grateful for the work, the business, and the people that work here.