1) How and when did you start your business?
Fort Wayne Industrial Revolution: In 2017 I needed a coffee table for an industrial apartment I was renting out and I couldn’t find anything online or in stores that fit the look I was going for. I built my own tables, friends asked me to do more and then I made my own dining room table.
2) Do you have a funny story about when you started?
FWIR: I didn’t have access to any power tools nearby, so I used my landlords.
3) What was your business’ first big sale? What's your most recent?
FWIR: A 120”x48” conference table for ObiCai Restaurant Group made from black walnut and black epoxy. A custom walnut and epoxy clock that is 33” in diameter.
4) What about your craft are you most passionate about?
FWIR: A finished product in a client’s space that they are thrilled about.
5) Do you have a business thesis?
FWIR: Fort Wayne Industrial Revolution sets out to create one of a kind tables salvaged from local, natural resources. We customize live edge tables, river tables, charcuterie boards and modern-industrial furnishings. We hope to inspire the local community to repurpose trees and create value in natural resources. We are passionate about cultivating Fort Wayne’s growth. We approach every project as a unique opportunity to utilize classic woodworking techniques to modern aesthetics.
6) What is your current best seller?
FWIR: I make custom cleaver charcuterie boards, a huge hit around the holidays.
7) What inspires you?
FWIR: Providing for my family, creativeness and customer satisfaction.
8) What's the most interesting thing about how your business interacts with your area?
FWIR: I work out of my garage and try to source all my materials locally, within the community and surrounding community.
9) What is the most interesting thing about what you make?
FWIR: Not a lot of people venture into the epoxy business nor very large tables. My items are 100% customizable to the client’s needs and wants.
10) What would you do with your business if you won a million dollars?
FWIR: I would use this as a means to build my own building and purchase equipment to make my business more streamlined.
11) Do you have any advice for someone starting a business in your field?
FWIR: Be patient, start small and seek advice even if you have to pay for that advice. Buy quality tools, and those may not always be from Lowes or Home Depot. Do what you do well and work to improve on the areas you may struggle in. Be honest and remember to really work with your client. Always know that the client is excited to work with you.
12) When did you know that you could make a living doing what you do?
FWIR: When I kept getting phone calls weekly. Slow and steady at first, and they keep coming.
13) How did the pandemic affect your business?
FWIR: I got busier, more people stayed home and used the money to upgrade their homes vs. going on vacations.
14) How can customers help best during the pandemic?
FWIR: Be patient with supply demands.
15) Does your business support any local nonprofits or causes?
FWIR: I do, I offer up some small donations such as charcuterie boards from time to time.
16) How do you take care of your mental health while operating a business?
FWIR: I take breaks as needed.
17) What is your favorite part about Indiana?
FWIR: Honest values and good people. Although I love the mountains, I do enjoy all the hiking available in the area.
18) Do you have a favorite store?
FWIR: Oak Tree Supply in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
19) How do you find new customers?
FWIR: It all starts with communication and a consultation with the client. I don’t find them, I don’t cold call like some people would do on LinkedIn. I use social media and my website to expose my brand. I work with local bloggers to offer discounts to their followers in exchange for social media exposure. Referrals help too.
20) How do you handle shipping?
FWIR: Case by case basis, I’ve delivered as far as Atlanta, GA. 82. I have shipped worldwide.
21) How does your business make the world a better place?
FWIR: By repurposing trees that fall, instead of making firewood, and creating relationships with suppliers.
22) Is this your full-time job?
FWIR: I am an Electrical Manufacturing Engineer for L3Harris.