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Jory is like the Steinbeck of modern woodworking. His pieces come to life with a fusion of new-fashioned creativity rooted in classic, mid-century sensibilities.
The internet is a wonderful marketplace, but when you become the seller rather than the buyer things can get flipped on their head fast and business plans can be tested to their limit. Meet Jory Brigham of Jory Brigham Designs, a woodworker with a classic philosophy and approach to his craft that results in one-of-a-kind furniture creations. Brigham’s works tend to straddle the line between function and aesthetic, giving each piece its own personality that’s worth talking about for generations to come. After experimenting with five previous websites, he discovered Squarespace and how the platform would allow him to grow his business as well as convey who he is as a designer to potential customers. Through Squarespace’s all-in-one user experience Brigham has the ability to utilize their marketing tools, analytics, and award-winning designs to present his creations online and standout among the masses.
Every small business owner has a jumping off point – that sink or swim moment where you know you need to make a decision to go all in or back off. For Brigham that came about after having worked with showrooms and galleries to sell his furniture but struggling with how the Jory Brigham Designs brand was being represented. “We are so involved in every aspect of this business, and it was hard to hand over the keys to someone with a totally different vision. Now that there is no middle man we are able to deal with the end client directly. Our website is our showroom, and we curate that as necessary.”
“My goal has always been to constantly evolve, and I found I had very little control over showing my growth and evolution on my websites because it was too difficult to switch out content. Now I have two websites for both my businesses that I can easily change as I see necessary. Squarespace makes it possible to connect with my customers in a way that I have control over,” says Brigham.
Jory Brigham Design has a self-described new-fashioned creativity with mid-century sensibilities approach to design, but where does the inspiration come from? The answer is that it’s all around us in the worlds of design and fashion, as well as from fellow designers and artists. Brigham says, “Originality is everything. Without that we can’t define our own style, and without our own style we are left to compete against the mass produced rubbish that is being fabricated by container loads.”
Giving himself over entirely to process, he tries to never get committed to a design before the building phase begins. “I’m not one for 3D renderings as I feel this could keep me from being completely open to new ideas that arise when seeing the piece in its true proportions, colors, and textures. I also try to ignore most ‘design rules’ and do what I feel looks and feels true to me. I feel with this open mindset it’s possible to create timeless pieces of furniture that aren’t too heavily tied to a specific era or style that’s been done before.”
The end goal of the work is twofold: it’s about having created a piece you’re proud of and stand behind while also being able to give your customer something that’s going to enhance their life. “I know personally my surroundings and environment are so important to me. The products we bring into our life play an important role in creating a environment that we thrive in. My hope is that our furniture creates spaces that inspire, create curiosity, and encourage creativity. I hope people see the soul in what we create, and it brings life to the room they are in,” says Brigham.
When we asked about what sort of hurdles Jory Brigham Designs online shop has had to jump as it’s grown we got some really good insight. “It’s easy to capture the soul through photography, but it’s another thing to relay the quality of our pieces. Without having a showroom we’re left with certain issues that arise from people understandably wanting to experience our furniture in person before they make a purchase. As time goes on, and we build a reputation, this has become easier but it’s so important that we have a website that captures who we are and what we are trying to accomplish as a furniture company.”
Another issue can be finding a balance between being a creative person and running a business—it’s a tricky one that all business owners have to navigate with their own formula. Brigham’s take is that, “I love what I do so much that the lines of work and play get very hazy. It’s a constant struggle to balance work and family. Luckily I have an amazing wife and two kids that keep me grounded and from working as much as I would if I was left to my own devices.”
Some great advice from Brigham to his fellow makers also selling their goods online:
- Connect with your audience—they need to feel like you are genuine, original, and stand behind your work.
- Find platforms that you connect with to represent you and how you want to be perceived.
- Never hand over parts of your business to someone who does not fully understand your vision.
- Your products as a maker are so personal, and in a way a piece of you, so it’s important to stay in control of how the products are sold.
- Having the capability and power to customize and fine tune your website is crucial, Squarespace and their tech support gives me just that.
Squarespace excels at helping small business owners like Jory Brigham reach their goals and present themselves in the way they want to be seen. Control your brand’s narrative by teaming up with Squarespace and keep a finger on the pulse of your own growing small business.
Ready to get to work selling your own wares online? Take the first step with a Squarespace website. Use coupon code DESIGNMILK at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.