Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Family Business Grows

Made One Piece At A Time By Hand
Furniture Made by Christopher Wiener
One factor that keeps our rustic furniture unique is that it is hand made. Building furniture by hand, one piece at a time enables us to provide pieces that are one of a kind. While we follow a basic design for each piece of furniture, no two are completely alike. If we were to mass produce our furniture, we would have to run the logs through a big machine, and turn them into large dowels that would all be exactly alike. Creating "machined" log furniture doesn't fit our vision of what log furniture or rustic furniture really is. Above photo is Chris - owner, builder and Dad
It is less artistic, has little to no character, and is what we consider to be "cookie cutter" furniture. Removing all of the beauty of nature leaves a much more sterile look to the logs.

Don't get me wrong, there are companies that are mass producing log furniture in this manner, and they make a great product. In addition, you can find it all over the internet and in many stores and shops across the country. It is priced to sell, and it does. For those who like a plainer, (no pun intended) less rutic look, machined made log furniture is an excellent option. Price wise, it is quite economical. In addition, this type of rustic furniture can be made very quickly, reducing turn around times significantly.

This is not the case for our hand made, high end rustic furniture. Our lead times are anywhere from 4-6 weeks during the winter months, and 6-8 weeks during our busy season from March to October. Most customers are willing to wait for hand made to order furniture. We don't carry an inventory (however we have started to pre build and stock some of the basic components used to build some of our more common pieces) due to the fact that many people have custom requests when they order from us. Nine times out of ten, our customers ask us to build them something that varies slightly from the examples that can be found on our website. Having this option available has given us the opportunity to create pieces that are designed by us together with our customers, which creates a much more personal service to them. This is something that we love being able to do, and we would not want it any other way!

It has been an extremely busy spring and summer, and our lead times have crept up to the 8-10 week turn around time. The majority of our customers appreciate what we are able to provide for them at much lower prices than our direct competition, and they have been acceptionally understanding (for the most part). I don't know of any company large or small that is immune from back order situations, and of course we are no exception to this. It's something that all companies deal with. Some of our suppliers for crib hardware, pool table pockets and bed brackets have also been faced with these parts being on back order as well, which in turn has directly effected our turn around time this spring.

As we have grown as a company this year, we have had our three children helping in the shop from time to time, and have also had as many as five contractors working with us in our shop to crank out some of the larger furniture orders that our wholesale division has produced. We have also put on a large addition to our shop, which was very necessary to have the room to run our various machines and do the finishing. In addition we added on to our show room and lumber storage areas.

It has been exciting, rewarding and stressful! Do we still enjoy what we do? Absolutely. Are there days that we wonder why we decided to go full time building custom hand made rustic furniture? I would be lying if I said no. But for the most part, we are (on a smaller scale) going through the exact same growing pains and situations as any other company.

Our customers are the reason that we love our jobs here at Vienna Woodworks Rustic Furniture. So let me take this opportunity to thank each and every one of those who trusted us to build them furniture that they love. We have yet to have any unsatisfied customers - when it comes to the furniture itself. When it comes to the turn around time, and the drop ship delivery situation, most have been quite patient and understanding. There are always exceptions to this, which is why I practically beg and plead that people read our terms and conditions before they place an order, so that they will have accurate and reasonable expectations. Remember folks, 6-8 weeks is a guideline during the busy season, and delays do happen. We care about each and every order, and do everything possible to build your furniture as quickly as possible. We will continue to look for ways to improve turn around.

While I despise having to have such strict and impersonal guidelines on our terms and conditions page, I do so in order to be as upfront as possible, and also because my attorney told me I have to! Although I have yet to see any company be sued for having a product on back order due to unforeseen delays or delayed delivery times due to weather, accidents or traffic!! As I say at the end of that very long winded terms and conditions page, we strive to do all that we can to be as fair and accommodating as possible. Our customers are why we exist, and we truly value them, no matter how large or small the order they place.

Our family strives to keep our business personal, to provide the best value possible by building reasonably priced high quality rustic furniture, to fulfill customer expectations to the best of our ability and to be as accommodating as possible. Recently we had a customer who said that our furniture was well worth the wait. Comments like that are what makes what we do so incredibly satisfying!


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