In the age of high-speed shipping, a rising number of craft-made products are being edged out of the market—time is just too precious a resource. Many in the custom design industry are feeling the heat to shorten their lead times, but Dave Dawson of The Urban Electric Company and Scott Hudson of Henrybuilt have found that their honest approach to human-powered manufacturing has kept them competitive.
In this episode of the Business of Home podcast, Dawson and Hudson chat in Henrybuilt’s New York showroom with host Dennis Scully about saying no to multiline showroom representation, honing the Toyota method for maximum operational efficiency, and creating a community for like-minded companies.
The two CEOs met through the Makers Alliance—the peer-to-peer organization founded by Dawson that speaks to high-end product design and craft manufacturing—where they developed a strong rapport through a shared business philosophy (and sense of humor). Both call themselves craftsmen: Charleston, South Carolina–based Urban Electric offers customizable lighting fixtures made in a high-mix, low-volume production model; Seattle-based Henrybuilt produces a modular system of customizable cabinetry (and recently launched its first freestanding furniture line) using the Toyota method, a problem-solving approach centered around PDCA (plan, do, check, act). “To rely on old thinking and sentimentality is not going to work in the age of Amazon,” says Dawson. “The products that we produce are still really important, they’re still relevant, but the world is moving at a different pace.”
Now, Henrybuilt’s New York showroom is alight with a custom installation from The Urban Electric Company. As two leaders in pursuit of keeping craft production alive, their relationship will go on to inform their respective businesses, and will continue to challenge shifting consumer expectations.
This episode was sponsored by Buildlane and Dedon. Listen to the interview below, and if you like what you heard, subscribe to the podcast (free of charge!) to get a new episode every week.
Homepage image: Gaia Squarci