|Fine Furniture-Wooden You Know It?|
In 1974 a young university student named John Brown decided to drop out of advanced education and look for something entirely different. He took a course in woodworking and there met a friend who shared his growing interest in making furniture.
The two refurbished some antiques, made some copies of classic Nova Scotia furniture and attracted enough customers to keep the business growing.
John's partner dropped out and John continued on his own. He worked on the production floor with the rest of the small staff and at the end of the year
showed a healthy but modest $30,000 in sales. This year he'll gross over a million dollars in sales to the Atlantic Provinces and the Caribbean.
"We also plan to market in New England and the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.”
John's Argyle Pine Label is the backbone of Woodcraft Manufacturing Ltd., a sort of Nova Scotia original style. The plans for each piece go from the drawing board to the mill shop where the lumber is picked out, cut, assembled by hand, then it's off to the finish shop where it is lacquered and polished.
"It's not a particularly sophisticated method of making furniture but we want to maintain a high standard in our all-wood products. We have diversified as well. We make custom office furniture in a combination of architectural finishes."
John Brown of Halifax took his dream of making authentic Nova Scotia furniture from a rented country store, expanded five times until now Woodcraft Manufacturing Ltd. employs 20 in an 8,000 square foot facility near Peggy's Cove.
His secret and advice for others?
"I was lucky to get some Government sponsorship. I had proved that my product was saleable so I was bankable. I grew gradually and have managed to keep complete control of my own business."
The same theme runs through these success stories: Work hard at what you like to do..Plan before expanding. John Brown turned a summer job and what he calls a "Nova Scotia flair" in furniture styling into a million dollar business. You can do it too if you follow his formula for success.
Return to table of contents