This project helped an entrepreneur start a new business, Chairshop, which will utilize sustainably harvested forest products in the construction of high-end chairs for sale to an international niche market. Most of the handcrafted chairs made at Chairshop will be marketed through a national collective, The Boggs Collective, for $700 to thousands of dollars/chair. This collaboration will allow the entrepreneur to be an independent designer, chair maker and business owner while providing efficiencies usually afforded only to larger companies. Chairshop will be the first Iowa business to join the Boggs Collective, providing a new business model for Iowa craftsmen that struggle because of the mass production of furniture and limited local markets. It will capture a segment of the market that provides a premium for the product and makes the business more feasible. This project brings the forest community, craftspeople and retail sales power together to maximize the value of forest resources, creating the greatest jobs benefit for local communities. Processing forest products from stump to high-end furniture also extracts the greatest value possible per board foot of lumber harvested, resulting in job creation and opportunities for other craftsmen interested in starting similar businesses or joining the collective. The RC&D recently secured a $25,000 NRBOG grant for this project!
Photo: © Jessica Rilling Photography
January 26, 2011