“I just bought a building with a buddy of mine downtown. It’s going to be a retail showroom space of mine intermingling with a bar and restaurant. So I think my next big challenge is retail space, keeping it stocked, and managing my time at the shop. I’ve never been in retail, so it’s almost two businesses in a sense.”
- Bud Farmer
Expanding a business so that it develops an entirely new arm or subsection of the company can be an enormous challenge. In Bud’s case, he is branching Forrest Design Co. into an area that he is entirely unfamiliar with, so getting Steve’s take on how to give his company the momentum it needs can be a vital growth opportunity.
“I don’t know if they have an art week or a design week or something. You can make your business the center of this design, culture, and entertainment. Then, there are opportunities to integrate everything vertically with the restaurant and bar. So you’re making all the tables and making all the countertops. Everything should be branded with Forrest Design Co. right there.”
- Steve Larosiliere
Whether you are creating a new division of your company or growing an existing part of it, you can never have too much branding. Take every opportunity to show that you are involved with any business venture that you are working on. You never know what will catch people’s attention and further your company’s growth.
Taking Advantage of Event Planning
When a business operates in a public ecosystem, it is essential for that business to make every moment feel special, to make every visit feel like an event. But Bud and the owners of the restaurant he is partnered with can take that one step further by opening their space up to major event planning, which can be an incredibly lucrative business.
“One of the first calls you should make is to an event producer, marketing person, or an event planner. Have that person become part of your team. This is a big deal, and you could be the main event venue in town. That means weddings, birthday parties, corporate functions, corporate retreats, and if it’s all there, and everything’s for sale, that’s one angle.
Another angle could be something like Interior Design Week or architecture week, and you invite all these people to you since you have the space. So even once a quarter, you can be like, ‘I am releasing a new collection.’ Then you have an event just for that. You literally have an event venue, and you should be the most popular. I always tell people this; In the furniture business, you know what business we’re in? We’re in the audience-building business.”
- Steve Larosiliere
Creating a successful business in today’s world truly lives up to Steve’s words. Building an audience is more potent than simply making furniture or other products and hoping that they sell. By creating an inviting environment and an ecosystem where customers are excited to be there, Bud can promote his creations and his other business ventures and make a profitable venture for everyone involved.
Becoming a Local Spectacle
“For your business, if you have a space or desire to have a space, it’s not about selling furniture; it’s about getting everybody in your town and your local area to come and see you. You could find a local mill, start getting some of their stuff, and then treat the showroom like a curated gallery.
It’s still local, even if it’s two or three hours away. I know a mill in Dallas that you can talk to, and there are people in Houston. There are many people you can have a relationship with, and you could be that person there. Even if you want to take an annex of what you’re doing and just sell slabs in the back, you start building a community of woodworkers around you.”
- Steve Larosiliere
No matter what avenue your wood business operates within, if you are willing to put in the work and the time to learn the niche you fill in your local community, you will be able to develop a solid and long-lasting business. Always stick to what you believe in, enjoy what you’re doing, and don’t put anything of poor quality out there, and it will show in your work.