May is Small Business Month! We can’t wait to share stories from local businesses around our region, and highlight the impact these leaders having on our community. Join us at Open for Business all month long for stories, inspiration, and connections!
The Greater Eugene area is home to so many amazing small businesses with unique stories and against-the-odds success. Handcraft Design was nearly 20 years in the making when Jared Hamilton opened this custom project fabrication shop 6 years ago. Read on to learn more about the Handcraft Design story and local impacts.
Tell us about the Handcraft startup story!
It’s been a long dream of mine to have my own fab shop, maybe 20 years ago. At a previous job my boss would turn away any custom projects and he allowed me to do them on my own time in the shop. When I moved to Eugene, I dove into starting my own business when interviewing for a new job and was asked, ”Why don’t you just start your own business.” So I started on it and have been licensed for nearly 6 years now.
Fabrication sounds like a lot of things, what are some types of projects you have worked on for example?
Interior staircases, exterior handrails, guardrails, custom food and beverage carts like, gazebos, and live edge furniture like tables, shelves, and mantels, plus architectural and structural metalwork of all types.
You mentioned recently at our Greeters meeting that you are teaching the next generation this craft, can you tell us more about that experience (how did you connect with them, what is the value for you, how is it going, etc.)?
I have known Megan for about 7 years. She is my good friend’s daughter. When I mentioned to her mom that I was looking for an apprentice, she told me that I should ask Megan. I find it fulfilling to be able to pass on some of what I have spent years learning and perfecting. I’ve been doing metal fabrication for a very long time, I’m proficient at that. My area of growth and learning is to be the best business owner and employer that I can be, I want people to want to work with me.
What have been some of your favorite projects?
Live edge tables, guardrails, wet bar and fence for Viking Brewing.
What has it been like as a small business in our region? What challenges have you faced? What has worked well?
I worked as an employee at another shop for several years, while building my business on the side and I’m now stepping out on my own. I maintained the relationship with the shop when I left, so I received many referrals from him. The biggest challenges I face are 1) clientele – getting my name, product, and level of quality out in front of the community. 2) space/funds – as a super small business, I have done my best to not accrue any debt, which has its benefits and detriments. Currently, I’m lacking the funds needed to expand space wise, which limits the work I can do. So, I’m kind of stuck in a catch 22. I’m exploring the opportunity to expand my business and take on employees and new business.
Producing quality work, maintaining close relationships with my clients, and my high level of customer service has provided me with a return client rate of over 75% and a very high referral rate as well.
How has being a member of the Eugene Chamber helped your business grow or expand your business network?
Being in the face of the community has started to expand my network base and help boost confidence in public speaking and selling my product.
How can the community support you?
Tell others about me and the quality of service and product that I provide to my clients.
Would you like us to link to facebook or your website?