Lifecycle of a product

Lifecycle of a product - Alabama Sawyer

November 01, 2021

Cliff and I started our wood shop in Los Angeles in 2005, right after we got married. The idea was to design and sell our own furniture designs, which we did in tandem with custom work and cabinetry for interior designers, general contractors and homeowners.

It wasn’t until the early 2010’s that we had our first success with products. The Noaway Countertop Compost Bin was the first thing that caught on. This was aided by the fact that Food52 picked it up and the Wall Street Journal included it in a holiday gift guide. We had already been making it for over a year when that occurred.

Noaway Countertop Compost bin

We got a taste of production, still at a small scale, and were determined to recreate that. It’s not easy to get that momentum.

I wanted to make a menorah. I love a holiday party, particularly if there is cooking involved. Our house celebrates Hanukkah, as well as Christmas. Menorahs don’t need to be authorized by a religious organization or follow specific rules. Many families have collections of menorahs, ranging from children’s art projects to expensive family heirlooms.

After drawing out ideas for a few years, we finally made our first batch in 2019. Psst! The design intends to echo our beam benches. We sold some—not a lot. I was a little discouraged, but I know at this point that business doesn’t go exactly as you plan and things can change quickly.

In 2020, things did change. Our listings to the trade, to wholesale and good old took off! Ok. Not thousands, but plenty and we hustled to keep up with orders and to fill them in 2021 as well.

A person I respect in the furniture business told me that it takes a year to see if a product is going to take. In this case it looks like we are following a pattern.

Hanukkah is the celebration of lights. The oil was supposed to last one day. It lasted eight. It’s a small miracle, celebrated by eating fried food like potato latkes and playing with a dreidel to essentially gamble for chocolate coins, known as “gelt.” 

Hanukkah Starts 11/28