HOW CLAY STARTED THE BUSINESS.
Clay Klener, from Evolutia, specializes in reclaimed wood. They started salvaging large textile mills in the South East in the early 2000s as a family business. Although they’re from Birmingham, Alabama the first project they did was in South Carolina. A lot of the textile mills they were after were in South Carolina, Georgia, or Alabama. What they did was dismantle old structures, salvage the wood and bricks, bundling and tag it, inventory it and sell it wholesale.
Now, they are more into the retail side and they salvage wood from all over the country as well as buying wood from brokers. They then put out finished products like architectural pieces and other products for mostly interior applications.
Starting the business was very difficult because, as it’s a new industry, there are no standards or standardization like there is with new lumber. The business is rewarding, however, you might encounter issues with purchasing or salvaging material, having a large waste factor, or getting material that may have some damage.
TAKING BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
The number one thing that must have taken the business from the beginning stages to a better level is better and proper equipment. This enabled them to stop outsourcing when trying to produce certain orders. It allowed more control and consistency in whatever they were doing.
The other thing is increased inventory. They’re always dismantling, salvaging, or purchasing reclaimed material so having it on hand was very helpful. Customers like to see what they’re getting and this really helped push the business forward.
WHAT HAS KEPT THEM MOTIVATED OVER THE YEARS
In such a business, every day is different and this is a motivating factor. Also, everyone in the business enjoys the history of the salvaged materials. They’ve done large commercial projects that they were really proud to be a part of.
THEIR IDEAL CUSTOMER
They have several ideal customers. First being contractors because they bring repeat business and totally understand their material and how to use them. They’ve also been involved in restaurants where they give materials and do tabletops for them. Although it’s hard to downsize to the ideal customer, they deal with contractors, home owners, and architects and designers.
Over the years, reclaimed has become harder and harder to find. Clay wishes they’d collected more wood over the time they’ve been in business and especially the first years. This has caused them to miss out on some pretty huge deals in the past because of lack of inventory. Also, the material holds so much value now and he wishes they’d done more large projects. Knowing how to manufacture the material in the beginning could have saved them tons of money but it’s all a learning curve.
FUTURE PLANS & ADVICE.
They hope to bring in more profits with the booming economy at the moment.
He would advise anyone getting into the business right now to tread lightly. There’s a lot to learn in this business and unfortunately, there’s no instruction manual. Things like getting the correct materials, learning your own process, etc. Most importantly, pay attention to your bottom line, get adequate equipment and employees, and make sure you’re consistent in what you’re putting out.
Check out Evolutia Made at: https://evolutiamade.com
Or on Instagram at: evolutiamade