podcastsmall business war stories

Goodwood NOLA: The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs in New Orleans, LA | Mike Dalle Molle and Jordan Gurren

The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs | Goodwood NOLA

Like many entrepreneurs, Mike Dalle Molle and Jordan Gurren started out working for someone else. 

Although they loved the work, they felt like there was not a lot of creative freedom. They had to do what they were told.

After receiving a lucky break where a local restaurant asked them to design a shelving unit, which led to designing an entire restaurant, they leapt at the chance to start their own custom furniture business.

They were only 23 and 24 years-old at the time. 

Now, less than three years later, they have a 6,500 square foot facility with 8 people on staff, cranking out amazing furniture every day.

For such young men, they have a lot of perspective and a ton of drive.

On this latest episode of Small Business War Stories, we take a deep dive into how they got their start, how they learned and adapted along the way, and what the future holds for Goodwood NOLA.

Listen to the podcast:

The Soul of America Tour

This episode is part of the Soul of America tour sponsored by Tecovas Boots, Badger Maps, and Impact Dog Crates. During April 2017, I drove with my six month-old puppy Muddy Waggers, my guitar, and my podcasting equipment with the goal of recording podcast episodes with small business owners throughout the heart of America.

Show Notes

A summary of our interview with Mike Dalle Molle and Jordan Gurren of Goodwood NOLA is below.

You can use the links below to jump to your interests.

You have an amazing, amazing shop here…what is Goodwood NOLA?

Mike Dalle Molle: Goodwood NOLA is a custom design and fabrication business. We basically focus on furniture, but we build all sorts of things. Our bread and butter lately has been commercial build-outs, so restaurants, retail spaces, coffee shops, that type of thing. We like to bundle things together. Tables, benches, chairs, wall features installations as much as we can possibly do.

Okay, awesome, awesome. You guys have a metal fabrication part, and then another wood fabrication part. Is there anything else, is there glass and things like that as well?

Mike Dalle Molle: We work in many mediums, but our two big focuses are woodworking and metalworking. We’ve recently started doing a lot of concrete work as well. We love the look of that, it is a really cool finish, great outside which is a very big struggle for us here in New Orleans creating exterior furniture that stays good over the years, doesn’t need to be maintained much. We are focusing a lot on concrete now for that.

How did you guys meet, what was the inspiration to get this going?

Mike Dalle Molle: Jordan and I met while working for our previous employer. We were working at a museum building a museum immersive exhibit. We were the younger people there, two of the younger people on-site, and we really loved the work, but we felt like there wasn’t a lot of creative freedom. It was kind of just taking orders, working really late hours, there wasn’t much reward in our hard work. That kind of led to what we are doing now.

Jordan Gurren: Mike has some friends who had a restaurant called District Doughnuts, they wanted a shelving unit. We were at work one day, Mike was like, “Hey, I’ve got a shelving unit I want to make for this restaurant.” I was like, “Yeah, sure, let’s check it out.” We ended up designing the shelving unit, and they were like it’s great, but we want to do a restaurant instead, so can you guys do that for us? That was really the genesis of it all.

Was that order big enough for you guys to say, “Well, we’re doing it?”

Mike Dalle Molle: It was, but it was more of the fact that we were so young at that time. I was 23 years old, Jordan was 24 years old. For us it was like we should really seize the day here, take this opportunity to build something.

You didn’t have a shop at the time. How did you make the early stuff?

Jordan Gurren: Well, one of my good friends had a garage, and we had a few tools and a chopsaw. That’s it really.

Jordan Gurren: As we sit here in this enormous fabrication facility, started three years ago with two tools, I mean tools and a chopsaw and a garage.

Mike Dalle Molle: Come September it will be three years. Now we are in 6500 sq. ft. facility, we have eight people on staff here, and we crank things out every day.

There is something really rewarding about making something with your hands that then ships out and then is a part of someone’s life, right?

Mike Dalle Molle: Absolutely. We’ve developed a lot over the last three years, in the beginning we were coming across many more struggles on a day to day. We were trying to find different ways of doing things without having to take the time that it typically takes to prototype with different methods. For us, it was lots of research, lots of literature, lots of videos, calling, everyone that knew how to do any of this stuff a little better than us maybe, and kind of putting our creative interpretation on some of their words of advice I would say. That really helped catalyze everything for us.

Let’s talk a little bit about the design process. If somebody brings you an idea, and they’re like, “I want a table.” How much of the creative process involves the interaction with that customer versus them giving you an idea and a sketch, and then you running with it?

Mike Dalle Molle: Well, I think that it depends on the piece in the project. For the most part, our design process starts with the customer or the client reaching out. Typically at least, they have an idea of what they want. At least general dimensions, or a general finish, “I would like a wooden table with metal legs,” anything is a good starting point. Then we bring them into the studio, show them some samples, discuss other projects we’ve done. We kind of brainstorm together, then our team takes the design upon themselves, and we put our spin on it, present options to the client, and they select one of the options.

Do you guys use manual sketches, or a CAD, or what do you guys do?

Mike Dalle Molle: We use a couple of software tools, SketchUp and Rhino. You know, in our line of work something that separates what we do from your typical carpenter or woodworker, is that everything is dialed down to super, super accurate measurements.

Jordan Gurren: Tight tolerances.

Mike Dalle Molle: Absolutely, yeah. Very tight tolerances, we use the CNC router a lot, which is a computer numerical control router so you can dial things down to a 64th of an inch accuracy.

Okay, so you use a CNC. How do you balance the fact that you make things by hand, and you fabricate these custom projects with using technology to make sure you use the latest advancements?

Mike Dalle Molle: That’s a great question, it is a very fine line for us, and we don’t feel pressured to do anything any certain way. A lot of people in our industry say if you’re not building with hand planes and chisels you are not a real woodworker. We don’t really see it that way, we use those tools every day in the shop, there is no question about that, but we also use technology to our advantage. It’s a big part of what we do.

Can you think of an example of a time when maybe you made a trade-off when it comes to that, so something that would have been maybe “more authentic,” or that a customer wanted a certain way and then you said well, if you use technology you can do something faster?

Mike Dalle Molle: I have a perfect example. Often times when we have exposed jointery, dovetail joints, or half blind dovetails, anything like that, we’ll use a jig rather than cutting them by hand, just because we are a big business, we have a lot of people in here running around, and efficiency and time are very important for us. Sometimes taking the time to hand cut the dovetails for example is a lot more time-consuming than cutting with a jig. That’s a great example of when we’re using technology to our advantage to make things a little faster.

Jordan Gurren: There are some compromises too, one of the first signs we made, CNC cut the sign unto some wood, and she still wanted the handmade feel. What we did is we took a hand burning tool, we burned in the negative of the image to give it that feeling of having some imperfections, because the CNC does it perfect. We can introduce those imperfections, and that’s really where we can walk that line.

Mike Dalle Molle: Just take a rasp and hit it a few times. Oh, we’ve done that.

Jordan Gurren: Some chains. We’ll burn it with a little bit of a torch.

Mike Dalle Molle: That’s also something that is kind of cool about what we do, all of us have a scenic background. Everyone that works in this studio, except for our two newest hires, all have a background in scenic carpentry. Set design, museum exhibits. Faux finishes are something we are really good at, and we’ve learned a lot from a lot of amazing people we’ve worked with over the years on how to age and faux finish pieces.

I think it depends on the piece, but we are more than happy to entertain those ideas when clients say they want it to look a little rougher, or more rustic.

Let’s talk a little bit about sustainability. This is something that is really important. How do you guys think about sustainability in your business working with pretty big chunks of wood?

Mike Dalle Molle: Yeah, that’s also a great question. We care a lot about that, that’s a big part of our business. That’s actually basically the meaning behind the name as well. Almost 80% of all the lumber that comes through our shop is recycled lumber. In Louisiana, and in the Gulf South in general, you have a lot of old cypress and pine at your disposal. All these homes that are getting gutted that are hundreds of years old, and people just pile it up and send it to the trash, so we come in- and use that.

Jordan Gurren: At the beginning of our business, the idea of sustainability started out with doing exactly that, going into dumpsters and pulling out these old pieces of wood. That was how we were sustainable, it’s like hey, we’re saving this from the landfill. That’s shifted as we’ve grown as a business.

Mike Dalle Molle: Yeah, we’ve implemented many, many new things. All the lights in here are LED lights, we have water filters in the shops, so no one is bringing plastic water bottles. We are very engaged in our community, we give back to the community all the time. We always make cutting boards or coasters for auctions to help any local businesses that ask. We just try to be as ingrained in the community as we can. We use a lot of materials that can substitute lumber. We use synthetic materials like Richlite, which are resin and paper-based materials. If a client says, “I want this beautiful exterior bench for my restaurant.

We’ll say, “Why don’t we maybe take a stab at this with Richlite instead, it’s a little more expensive, but there is almost zero maintenance, and you get to be a lot more sustainable, you don’t have to worry about a beautiful tree having to be taken down somewhere.” Furthermore, we are at the end of this year going to start replanting trees. That is something very new for us, but we like to offset that 20% that is new lumber that we use by planting trees.

Jordan Gurren: One thing that has been really helpful for us is we are part of this green organization called Life City, and they rank businesses. You become a member and they rank you on your sustainability and your green factor, how much you’re giving back, what is your footprint around the city. We have changed our paints to almost all water-based, with limited oil-based paints. Just focusing on local vendors is the biggest thing.

We have been working on the wood aspect of things with Life City. For example, we can’t just buy all this exotic wood like Ipe. We used to think Ipe was great, but in fact Ipe takes almost 300 years to mature to full tree. We’re not going to take a tree that takes 300 years to grow. We are shifting to black locust.

Do you use any exotic woods at all, have you guys used ebony, or rosewood, or anything?

Mike Dalle Molle: Not anymore, we’ve only ever really used Ipe (Brazilian walnut), and it’s plentiful down there.

Some people call it Ironwood, it is so dense, it is incredible wood, and these exotic oily hardwoods are great for exterior use as long as you maintain them. We care too much about that, and as a fabrication business that uses a lot of wood, we are mindful of that.

We’re about to make 50 tables for a client. All out of wood, but every single piece of wood is recycled. We’re not using an ounce of brand-new lumber for 50 tables. That’s what we aim to do.

Is that something that your clients then in turn highlight when they talk to their customers? For example, will this place talk about yeah, these tables are made with all reclaimed wood?

Mike Dalle Molle: I’m not sure, I’ve never really asked any of the clients if they go on to tell people that this is recycled. I think some of them care a lot about it, and some of them request that. We just finished a restaurant for a good friend of ours called the Daily Beat in the CVD. All the wood we used in the whole restaurant was recycled material. He requested that, he is very in tune with the earth, he loves being as sustainable as possible. For that project, it was something that was highlighted. For most of our work, it is really just us doing it because we want to do it. It also looks beautiful. It is very high-quality stuff too.

Jordan Gurren: You can’t fake it. We’ve tried. Reclaimed wood is reclaimed wood. There is a finite amount of it in the world, and we are going to use as much of it as we can to repurpose for as long as we can.

What is the wackiest thing you have seen in your line of work?  

Mike Dalle Molle: That’s a great question. You know, all of our inquiries for work have been pretty run of the mill, nothing too far-fetched, but the first thing that comes to my mind about wacky and odd things are probably all the characters in our industry, the different types of people we work with. You go to some of the lumber yards, and it’s four generations of the same family selling the same lumber in the same spot here in New Orleans. You meet a lot of characters, a lot of people with three fingers on one hand, all sorts of shop errors in the past. For us, it’s pretty streamlined in the sense that our inquiries for work are pretty typical.

No one comes to us and asks us to build totally ludicrous things. I think they see our brand and they see our company, and they know that this is high quality furniture, and interior production, commercial production also. I think for me at least, I don’t know about Jordan, but my odd and wacky feelings for our line of work would be with the people.

Jordan Gurren: I can definitely think of a good story. We did this live edged desk, so basically a slab desk, and the client was intent upon cutting down a tree sustainably.

Mike Dalle Molle: It was a tree that had to be cut down anyway, the roots were doing some damage to somebody’s crops, so it had to go.

Jordan Gurren: She didn’t want to up there alone to get this tree milled down and all that, so we went out there, and she ended up not even coming. We were in Angie, Louisiana. It is right in the boot of Louisiana next to Mississippi. It is right on the border, it is right up there.

It was deep backwoods, and it was an incredible experience, this guy came up, it was basically a complex, and he’s been milling trees down for years. This guy he has 3000-year-old glacial Cypress. He has Cypress from when there was still glaciers in Louisiana. He is a little out there, he said he was going to cook lunch for us which we thought was great, we were like oh, we are going to get a great backwoods country lunch. He opened up a couple cans of spam and chips, and we were just like, I’m not sure…

Mike Dalle Molle: He had one chair in his whole house.

Jordan Gurren: He had vines growing inside of the house. It was pretty incredible. We went and cut up this tree, and sliced it, there is actually still some in the shop over there, we sliced it into one and a half inch and 3-inch-thick slabs. We made a desk out of it, and the guy was great, but he was definitely out there on the edges, the fringes of existence.

Mike Dalle Molle: His compound was an old civil war refugee area so he said, and there were two buildings on his property that he didn’t touch since he purchased the property, and you can walk in and there were picture frames in the wall, and old chairs, and it was very ominous, it was a little creepy. I had totally forgotten about this, he was definitely an oddball. For sure.

Jordan Gurren: What I found with a lot of these guys who pulled trees, we get a lot of sinker Cypress. Sinker Cypress is Cypress trees that have fallen down deep into the mud, they’ve been down there for 100 years maybe, and there is these guys who wrap chains around these old logs in the Mississippi River, they get some tractors, they pull them out and they mill them down. It’s a certain kind of person to do that. These guys, they’re focused on getting these trees out.

Mike Dalle Molle: By any means necessary.

Jordan Gurren: Little coon ass, that’s what they say down in New Orleans. It’s like a Cajun backwoods. It’s its own little world down here.

What are ways in which you guys look to get involved with the community here locally?

Mike Dalle Molle: We try to get involved in as many ways as possible. Down here things are very word-of-mouth down here. For us, a big part of our business was getting involved in the community just in general, meeting people, networking, bringing business cards everywhere we went. Trying to befriend everybody, because down here you can’t just be good at what you do, you also have to be somebody that people want to be with and be around. It’s a very, very friendly city in that regard. On top of the fact that we try to be involved in as much giving back as possible, we are also involved in education, we teach at Loyola University, we teach a design program there.

That’s a big thing for us, trying … Not to sound corny, but trying to empower the youth to realize that they can do something as fun as this for a living. We love what we do every day, we come in with smiles on our face and everyone that works here does as well.

We need more people who do things with their hands too. It’s been almost like a forgotten art. Mike Rowe from Dirty jobs does a lot of work around this, he has got the Mike Rowe Works thing where he tries to empower people to think about more expansively about what a good job this, and yeah, you can make stuff with your hands, and be awesome, and it’s a good thing. The trades is something that you have this big push that everybody has to go to college, everybody has to go have a desk job, and that’s just really not true. There’s a lot of other ways in which you can make a great living, such as making furniture…

Jordan Gurren: Exactly, and I know NPR is actually doing a traveling podcast right now. Yeah, robot-proof jobs. It’s funny to think about that, because robots I guess could make what we make to a degree. People want things that are handmade, there is this Renaissance happening of people wanting artisanal, handmade, thought-provoking pieces of furniture. I would say we have a robot-proof job right now. Because people want things that have some soul to it. They want things that have the feeling behind it. It’s the same idea behind the reclaimed wood. This wood is hundreds of years old, it was in a house, it saw so much over those years.

Now it has turned into a beautiful coffee table. There is this romantic idea behind it. Also, we are here, we are making things, we are done, and we are doing what we want to do without anybody telling us anything else. It’s great, we just did this, we didn’t have a business plan. We didn’t come up with some ideas, people asked us if we can make furniture. We said yes, and here we are.

Mike Dalle Molle: I think there seems to be a resurgence all across the country of handmade goods. People I think are starting to get fed up with paying these rock-bottom prices for things that end up breaking. They want something that has meaning and purpose, and also something that they can rely on. They don’t want a piece of furniture that only looks the way they want it to look, they want it to actually function that way as well. We build sturdy, real furniture and we get to say come over to the studio, tell me what materials you like, you can come bring it back if there’s something wrong with it, we’ll fix it for you. It is just more personal.

Let’s talk about New Orleans a little bit more. What is it like to do business here? How have your interactions with the government and other small business people been?

Mike Dalle Molle: Yeah, so I would say all in all, New Orleans is a very good place to do business. You need to know what you’re doing, you need to have some type of plan. We found out probably three or four months into starting this business that we really needed to come up with a general plan. We are not really the type of business that has a five-year projection documented anywhere. We have our goals, we have ideas of where we want to be, but for the most part New Orleans is more about being confident in what service, or item that you’re providing to the public, and just being able to really back that up and being friendly and inviting at the same time.

People down here are not moving at New York pace, you know what I mean? It is a lot slower here. It is a lot more personal here. I would say that about New Orleans business.

Jordan Gurren: Yeah, and one thing I’ve really noticed about New Orleans is that people are incredibly receptive to young entrepreneurs. There is a lot of young people doing business here in their mid-20s to mid-30s who are starting businesses. People are very receptive, motivated, excited to do good work. I think that has been really helpful for us, because we’ve put good work out there, and we really had great response for it.

Mike Dalle Molle: Yeah, and to touch on the question about government, we did a really cool project with the Orleans Parish school board. That was awesome, they were a fantastic client, we designed a beautiful dais for them which is basically a big executive board panel desk for everyone to sit at. There are nine board members, each one has two and a half feet of space on this beautiful walnut custom built dais, and they were excellent. Our only interaction with the local government has been really good.

What would you say is the number one lesson that you’ve learned?

Mike Dalle Molle: Well, I would say it’s very hard to pick one lesson. There are many, many things and it’s very tough. If you’re planning on starting your own business, as long as you have a good idea about what you want to do, and you know that there is quality behind your drive, then go for it, because it is very rewarding. My one word of advice would be just be prepared to really be able to back up what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Because there are many low points in the beginning mostly that kind of are discouraging, but you soon realize that those are just stepping stones.

They are tests, and you have to go through those things. Maybe it has been easy for some entrepreneurs out there, but in our experience it was not easy. It was a struggle, but it is very rewarding because you realize that you do it all for yourself, and in turn you really get a lot out of it.

I’ve met dozens and dozens of people all over the country, and not one of them has said that their journey was easy in any way, shape, or form…

Mike Dalle Molle: It’s a grind. A business owner has a job that almost can’t have a description. You just wear so many hats. Any problem that occurs, it is your problem. You have to be able to resolve things without getting too personal, without getting too wrapped up in the nitty-gritty of each issue, you have to just be able to say I’m going to throw an umbrella over everything, and I’m just going to do it whatever I have to do. Jordan and I have a good relationship because we really found our balance in what our responsibilities are.

I would love to hear about that. What has been your founder, cofounder relationship like, and what makes it work?

Mike Dalle Molle: It’s all over the place. We founded the company with one of our friends, so there were three of us in the beginning. He left to pursue personal goals of his. We then also had a fourth member for a very brief period. We were really in a position where we needed physical help. We had everything laid out, we had the jobs, we could not get them done in time, we needed more people to help us, and we also couldn’t pay anyone. We brought someone else on board as a part owner, and they were basically paid in turn by equity stake in the company. That didn’t work out as planned, as well. After a few months, we ended that as well.

It ended up being just Jordan and myself, and we basically have 50-50 split on everything, and then it took a little while, but we figured out what our roles are, and what we are each individually responsible for.

I handle sales and acquisitions, payroll. I monitor all of the money in and out. I deal with things like marketing and day-to-day operations, and Jordan handles materials, scheduling, Jordan is the project manager. He handles the big projects, and I handle the smaller day to day things like all the small pieces we build in between our big commercial jobs, I handle those projects. Both of us, Jordan a little more than myself, but most of us are always dipping in and out of the field.

How much time do you guys spend in the shop actually cutting wood?

Mike Dalle Molle: Is tough to say now, for me I think it’s probably about 80%, 20%, now I’m 80% business and 20% out in the field installing, or cutting things, or cleaning up.

Jordan Gurren: I’d say it’s about 50-50. I’d say I’m about split even, because we are licensed contractors as well, which has been a big thing for us, and our responsibilities are very different, I couldn’t do this without Mike, and Mike couldn’t do this without me. I’m not good at responding to emails or text messages let’s just be real, I’m just not. I just don’t do it immediately, but Mike is so on it. That’s key for us. Mike can handle correspondence, making sure everything is getting taken care of on the business end of it. I know that we have every material coming in the shop, everything is getting built, everybody has the plans, everybody knows what is happening any moment, anytime. If they have any questions they can come to me, and I can answer them immediately, and that has been huge for us.

Mike is really focused on finding those jobs six months, eight months from now. Which is, it doesn’t sound like a lot of work, it’s like oh, I have a meeting on Tuesday for this job in December, it is June, it’s like all right, cool. At the beginning it was a little bit of tension, like all right, well you got this meeting, whatever whatever, you should be in the shop working, but now we understand that it is so important to establish these relationships in the beginning. That job in December could be our biggest job we’ve ever had. We just don’t know.

Mike Dalle Molle: I think a really good way to summarize it would be we always make decisions for the company together, but my job is to keep the company growing, and to keep clients happy, and Jordan’s job is to handle the projects at hand. It works really well, and we’ve dabbled in bringing other people in to help with administrative work, but what we’ve learned is that the best way to do it is just to let me have a full schedule of administrative work to do throughout the day, and what that does is it gives our clients a sense of importance. When the owner of the business is the one that they get to correspond with. Whether you want a table, or you want us to build your next restaurant for you. It’s really nice to be able to talk to somebody who can make decisions and give you full information.

Jordan Gurren: Just to go off what you were asking about. One thing, one piece of advice I would give is if you are starting a business, it’s scary, let’s be real. It’s scary. My biggest piece of advice would be things are … The shit is going to hit the fan. Just deal with it, figure it out immediately, just figure it out, it’s going to be all right, you are going to figure this stuff out.

We had so many walls that came up when we started this business that screamed hey, stop, quit. It’s not going to work out. This is not going to work, what are you doing, you are too young, you’re too young, you don’t have the experience. We found a lot of pushback from older people who were doing the same things that were like no, no, no you can’t do that, you are only 25, you’re only 24 years old. You can’t do that. We were like no, look, we’re here, we’re doing it, we’re making it happen. You get a lot of pushback from all kinds of people, just keep going.

That fear can take over…

Mike Dalle Molle: Oh yeah, we for a long time in the beginning at least for me, the only people who were supportive were the people I was working with and my family. Everyone else was like you seem like you are in over your head. There was a time where we were so in over our heads that we had to just take a step back and say to ourselves what do we want out of this, what are we going to get out of this, how do we move forward without ruining our lives? It is really hard when you quit your job and you are only reliant on your own self to generate income. We had bills to pay, we had rent.

Jordan Gurren: Still happening.

Mike Dalle Molle: Still happening.

Jordan Gurren: Let’s not sugarcoat this, we still struggle with that today.

Mike Dalle Molle: Absolutely.

Mike Dalle Molle: Absolutely, and we put the business first, so Jordan and I take a little more than we use to for ourselves personally. We make very little amount of money. Our lowest paid employee makes more than we make as owners.

Where do you want to go with this, what is your 10-year ambition?

Mike Dalle Molle: I think we kind of made an agreement to never have a goal that was really set in stone. Just because what we’ve learned over the last 2 ½ years is that things change all the time. Especially in our line of work, we have been lucky that we’ve created a bit of a signature style, we do this beautiful rubbed metal looked with this old reclaimed wood. It is very much a New Orleans thing, but we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had to keep up with the trends in the design world. Because they are ever shifting, and a lot of fabricators and designers have to stick with the trends. For us what we’ve decided is our goals are more about ourselves rather than the work that we are producing.

Jordan Gurren: I want to set the trends. Thinking about 10 year plan, you asked, right? We have this great warehouse here, and we just demolished part of it to create a show room. We’ve been talking about this over the past week a lot. We’ve had hours of conversation of okay, what direction do we want to move in? Do we want to sell retail furniture, do we want to be a West Elm where we have a line of furniture we just sell? Do we want to be super custom that you would call us up and you say I want this exact thing? Or, do we have a bunch of home goods, wallets, belts, T-shirts, cutting boards that you can just come in and buy?.

Mike Dalle Molle: We’ve produced leather goods, we’ve produced bells and wallets. We’ve produced keychains. We used to sell them, but to go back to your question on sustainability, we felt like in the bigger picture of things, leather is not something we want to get too involved with. It is not very sustainable. We feel like we are better at other things.

I do think what Jordan is saying is a good thing to talk about. Our views are ever-changing, but I think the beauty of this showroom that we are trying to put into our new office space is to test the waters and to see what people like, and to test reception from the public on how maybe we design a coffee table and we put three of them in the showroom, and we see if people like them, people will obviously be able to buy them. I think at the moment our goal is to just go with the flow, we have a lot of work right now, we are very busy, so there is no pressure at the moment. We’ve locked in some jobs for the next four or five months, and things are good. We always want to develop, and we always want to get better at what we do. For me at least I think, my 10-year goal is to just continue to get better, continuing to spread this very authentic love for furniture and for building and creating. Everyone that works for us shares that vision with us, and everyone in here kind of has that same goal. We want to continue to produce beautiful heirloom quality furniture and furnishings.

Is there anything else that you want our audience to know about your business? Do you ship so if somebody wants a table from out of state, can they get one?

Mike Dalle Molle: We definitely do ship, we’ve done projects in Philadelphia, we’ve done projects in Florida. We are about to do a project in Austin, Texas. We definitely ship, I think it’s just the fact that we’re not quite set up to ship a lot, so really, it’s about the client really wanting our work.

This stuff is also heavy. Shipping is not cheap when you are talking about big live edge slab tables and things like that. We absolutely do ship though.

What is your website, and are you guys on Instagram and Facebook?

Mike Dalle Molle: Yeah, our handle is @goodwoodnola on Instagram. On Facebook we are Facebook.com/goodwoodnola. On the web we are goodwoodnola.com.

Final Thoughts

If this was not your first time listening or reading to an episode, you will likely start to notice a pattern with our interviews. There’s a tremendous amount of passion and self belief driving all these small businesses.

As Mike stated during our interview, you must be prepared to back up what you are doing and why you are doing it because there will be devastating low points along the way. Being able to adapt and see these low points as steppingstones is the key to not only staying in business but building a thriving one.

If you have any questions or comments about today’s episode, please leave them below.


Pablo Fuentes

Pablo Fuentes was the Founder and CEO of Proven. He was also the host and producer of the Small Business War Stories podcast. Pablo is currently the Founder of makepath, a spatial analysis firm. He is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and UCLA. He loves dogs, film photography, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is also a blues guitar player and builder.

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