The bet Myles Hagan made with his mother paid off in a big way. She didn’t think he could build a table like the one she saw in Pottery Barn. She lost the bet — and Hagan won the determination to turn the challenge into a successful woodworking business, Geoff’s Farmhouse Tables.
Hagan watched YouTube videos to learn the trade and opened the company in 2014. He sold $200,000 worth of customized, handcrafted tables and chairs in the first year. Geoff’s Farmhouse Tables now averages about $300,000 in annual sales, mostly in three states near the South Carolina warehouse but also as far away as Maine and Germany.
Craigslist drove the initial interest in Hagan’s craftwork, serving as a marketplace for the first few orders. The traction there inspired him to post about his work in Facebook groups as a way to build a community of customers. Then he built a Facebook business page. Facebook Marketplace, Google My Business, and Instagram are part of his promotional arsenal these days.
Facebook and Google have been valuable for advertising, too. The ads fit into Hagan’s limited budget, and by using them in conjunction with Google Maps, he can target customers strategically in areas that are not near a Home Depot or Lowe’s. Ducks Unlimited discovered Geoff’s Farmhouse Tables through Google and purchased thousands of products.
Geoff’s Farmhouse Tables also cultivates relationships with customers via Facebook. “Many customers save for years to afford a table,” Hagan said, “so we can interact with them over time, answer their questions and stay in touch. Then they end up buying something.”
Geoff’s Farmhouse Tables handles all sales online thanks to tools like Clover and Square. The shipping services company uShip enabled the furniture maker to expand beyond local sales. More e-commerce functionality will be added to an upgraded Geoff’s Farmhouse Tables website.
Hagan fears the movement afoot to regulate technology companies may backfire onto small businesses like his, raising barriers to success that digital tools lowered. “You’re going to kill small businesses,” he warned. “We have to have these tools.”