HOW THE BUSINESS STARTED
Today, we have Kevin Scheimreif from Steel and Grain. When Kevin was a kid, his dad had a construction business and he would go help him. He worked in the shop and on the jobs during summer break, where he learned how to do everything from electrical, plumbing, additions etc. He vividly remembers how he built his first nightstand when he was 11.
After high school, he realized he really didn’t like the business. He then went to work for someone else for a couple of years as a mason. He left this job and took many other jobs but he never quite felt satisfied with himself. One of his friends, Kevin, later asked him to help build his house. This wasn’t something Kevin knew how to do but was up for the challenge. He did this work for some time but construction still wasn’t satisfying to him, so he decided to start building custom furniture. He started the business in his garage and inherited some woodworking tools from his dad after he closed his business a few years before. This is how Steel and Grain was born. It’s been his fulltime job now for 5 years.
Kevin is passionate about furniture and he does high-end woodworking where he incorporates steel metal work into almost every piece.
MARKETING & BUILDING SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING
When he started Steel and Grain, one of his friends, Abby, convinced him to get into Instagram. He wasn’t conversant with the app at the time but he was willing to try it out. He would post his work and connect with other wood workers, checking out their stuff while getting inspiration. Before he knew it, his videos were going viral and his network grew tremendously.
He has also been going to arts festivals where he markets his products. Although some shows don’t end up converting to sales, there are really good ones out there. Social media and art shows split 50-50 in sales conversion.
Most of his shipping orders are through social media. His first order was a $6000 desk being shipped to California. All the other orders are 3-4 hours away from his workshop.
When he started out, he had no clients, no social media accounts or anything. He just quit working in construction and started building furniture hoping they would sell. Now, he wishes he would’ve done things differently by first getting a customer base, hustling in the evenings and weekends, and building some income before quitting the day job. He didn’t make a penny for the first two years and would live off credit cards which he awfully regrets.
He’s currently building new stuff for upcoming shows this year. He believes he’s going to gain new skills from this project. Even though he’s never done anything with drawers and edges, he wishes to gain skills from them this year. Aside from this, he’s got other projects like rough cut coffee tables, walnut tables, and others.
Instagram: @steelandgrain or @steelandgrainslabs
Email: [email protected]