It is easy for a business to say that they care about their clients, and whatever it is that they do, but you almost never hear exactly why they care. One can assume profit will be the primary motivator in most businesses, and there's nothing wrong with that. But sadly, I've often gotten the impression that for some businesses, profit is the only reason they care. In this post, I'm going to discuss the reasons I care about the furniture I design and build.
- Custom furniture is often expensive. There are many other things in the world on which my clients may choose to spend their money. In some cases, it could be a nice new car, or a dream vacation. I understand that, and feel the weight of it as I design and build. Essentially, I feel like I've got to build something that my clients will find more valuable than anything else on which they could have chosen to spend their money.
- Consider this scenario: You are headed out to a new restaurant. You've eaten light that day, so that you'll have plenty of room to indulge. But when you get your food, it isn't very good -there's no solid reason to send it back, but it's definitely a disappointment. I hate that feeling, and when I present a piece of furniture to a client who is seeing the finished piece for the first time, I don't want to give them any reason to feel that way.
- Wood is a valuable resource, and shouldn't be wasted. I've seen more than my share of beautiful boards wasted on shoddy work, and I honestly feel bad for the wasted board. It isn't a case of "There will always be more." Every board is unique, with its own story to tell.
- Much of my self-esteem is wrapped up in the furniture I produce. I feel great when I've produced something beautiful. I feel low when I'm struggling to make a project work. That's how it should be. To me, furniture is an art and craft. It isn't a product to be banged out as quickly as possible, with little regard for quality. I'm concerned with quality on a deep level, and if I don't achieve it, I feel rotten until I have achieved it.
- I need to receive good reviews and earn new business from existing clients. And the only way to do this is to meet and hopefully exceed their expectations.
- Eternal glory. Can that be achieved through the fabrication of custom furniture? I don't know, but I'm trying to find out. I want to stand out out from the crowd; to produce work that will get noticed and talked about. I want to produce extraordinary designs. I can't chase glory on every piece - for example, a simple kitchen table. But on those pieces I can, I go all in.
- This is a business, and there's no reason to stay in business if I don't make money. I can't do that if I produce low-end work.
I'm in this business because I love what I do, but the phrase "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." definitely does not apply. The craft of furniture making is hard work. There are ups and downs. But at the end of the day, I choose to fight for what I want to do with my life. I want to create a lasting legacy of quality. And that's why I care.