Furniture & Cabinet Maker, April 2004
Together Across The Divide
Following the cabinetmaker’s trail to find out how successful individual makers work in other countries.
… After visiting several more makers around the Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, it was time to fly to Texas where I was to meet three makers all living around Austin. Gary Weeks, who was perhaps the most successful maker I met anywhere on my travels -excepting Sam Maloof of course- had arranged for me to stay in a log cabin on a ranch in the most attractive setting. It had been built by the rancher and her two daughters -some cabin, some rancher!
Gary originally trained as a lawyer, the tried his hand as a builder before settling down to the business of making furniture. His success is almost directly attributable to his near-perfect working conditions. He built his own house and workshop; he identified a niche market and satisfies it with well made products at prices people will pay, while still giving him a reasonable return.
It seems that every mother-to-be in America wants a rocker, and despite the competition his sell well. There are other factors at work, such as carefully targeted advertising, streamlining batch production and setting up an excellent delivery system. And like his very successful Swedish counterpart, his wife played a key role in the business from Texas...