On a couch from Ferrari: how to make money on furniture from spare parts
In 2013, after graduating from the Physics Department of Moscow State University, Mikhail Karavaev got a job as an engineer in a telecommunications company. But he didn’t want to “work for an uncle”: he didn’t like to follow the orders of his boss, and he didn’t like the salary. At that time, he had been fond of cars for several years and watched what pieces of furniture are made from parts by craftsmen in Russia and abroad. In 2015, in the Top Gear program, Mikhail saw a table at the base of which was a car engine, and decided to try to make such a model, his friend Oleg Kalayev joined him.
The friends took the cylinder block as the basis (the basic engine part, the casing without entrails), they bought it for three thousand rubles. The lid was made of glass. The friends presented the resulting table to a friend who, like them, was fond of cars. A friend liked the gift, so Karavaev and Kalayev decided to continue making furniture. To do this, in August 2015, they opened a workshop. Mikhail remained in the telecommunications company for another year and a half, sometimes working remotely.
The workshop was placed in the Butovo area – in a garage that was rented for five thousand rubles a month. According to Karaev, a maximum of two cars were placed there (the area did not exceed 50 square meters). Friends found used car parts from ads on online services. Using improvised tools, Oleg and Mikhail made three more tables. They managed to sell in three months. Entrepreneurs looked at the approximate cost of such products on the Internet and sold theirs for 15-20 thousand rubles. At the start, the clients were the acquaintances of the founder of the workshop.
After the first month of the workshop, Mikhail launched a website to attract customers. He spent 30 thousand rubles on development. To make the assortment look more attractive to potential customers, friends decided to make other furniture and interior items and put photos on the site. Mikhail and Oleg made chairs and tables from disks, watches from clutches. We managed to sell the goods in six months. Among the buyers were not only acquaintances, but also those who learned about the workshop through the site and social networks.
The “Online Promotion” service will help to target and independently conduct advertising campaigns in search engines and social networks
The workshop received its first major order in February 2016, six months after the opening, from the Dairchik City children’s center in Astrakhan. The client wanted to purchase 14 sofas from the details of the Muscovite (two front wings on the sides with headlights). It took about three months to make. By May 2016, the order was ready. In the process, Mikhail and Oleg rented a nearby garage and used it as a warehouse. A wagon was ordered to deliver the sofas, the craftsmen themselves followed her to Astrakhan to check and assemble the furniture already in place. There, entrepreneurs recorded a video review of their first major project. The video was published on the YouTube channel of the workshop. For three and a half years there appeared 28 videos. The account has 268 subscribers. According to Kalayev, he plans to use the site to attract an audience.
In the summer of 2016, the workshop received orders for the manufacture of bar counters. There was not enough space for work. Entrepreneurs moved to a larger room in the same Butovo. The entrepreneur does not disclose the costs of moving. Then the partners hired four people (a fitter, welder, assembler, master of plastic and painter) and purchased equipment (compressor, welding machine). At the new location, the workshop worked for a year and a half.
In 2017, Mikhail quit and focused on the development of the workshop. Then the Rolling Stol survived yet another, the last one to date, relocation – to a room with an area of 700-800 square meters on the Ryazan highway, near Podolsk. Rent costs 250 thousand rubles a month. Unlike previous places, there was central heating, in addition, the owners allowed to divide the space into several zones, which helped to organize the production process. Now 12 people are working under an agreement with the Rolling Stol (three welders, a painter, a designer, three plastic masters, a seamstress, two assemblers, a courier).
About 60% of all products the workshop produces to order, 40% – to maintain the range. It includes business card holders and lamps from a piston (cost from 1.5 to 5 thousand rubles, depending on the size of the product), watches from clutches (from four thousand rubles). Prices for furniture that are made at the request of customers (for example, tables and armchairs) start at 20 thousand rubles, bar counters – from 95 thousand, sofas – from 80 thousand. About a third of all Rolling Stol products are in the premium segment. In the manufacture of such goods, motors designed for expensive cars, such as Ferrari, are used. The price of these interior items is from 150 thousand rubles, the maximum threshold is 600 thousand. Only one part can cost 200 thousand rubles.