Category Archives: about me

What’s going on at VI, we’re still busy!!

By | about me | 2 Comments

We’ve gone through a lot of internal changes at VI in the last year. Added a new salesman, CAD designer, foreman, welders, wood workers, and I’m sure I forgot somebody. We’re beefing up the staff, hiring A team players with awesome attitudes ONLY, to handle the workload. What started out as a garage business has exploded over the last few years. Figuring out how to go from one customer a month to 100s of inquiries a week has been a challenging process.

Right now we are getting more inquiries than we can respond to. It’s a good problem to have your phone and email blow up daily, although it can drive you crazy at times. So if we haven’t gotten back to you, my apologies. We do care, but can only handle so much. VI is concentrating on our current orders while getting back to as many potential clients as we can. Right now the lead time is 8-12 weeks and it may go further. But we have open positions for an Office Manager with accounting experience, 2 Steel Workers/Fabricators, and a Wood Worker. Our employees are treated like family. Let me rephrase that, we care deeply about our employees and offer benefits like health insurance, and ownership down the road.

Our goal is to make an heirloom quality product that’ll stand the test of time, provide a high level of customer service, and do something that we’re passionate about.  I’ve got a bunch of new designs, some being made, some rolling around in my head. And we’re working on a new project making Vintage Industrial housing, so stay tuned for that.

Our new website is about ready to launch any day so check back soon…


What’s going on at Vintage Industrial

By | about me, commercial furniture, desk, dining table, Hostess Stand, seating | 2 Comments

We’re revamping our website finally! So expect that sometime next month. I’ve been updating it myself for 3 years and we’re finally getting some professional help!! My days as a web designer / furniture designer / fabricator / janitor / salesman / bookkeeper / everything are over! I’m focusing on design now which is my passion.

We’ll have a better shopping cart to easier facilitate online transactions and track orders. And it’ll look professional which is something I know we’re lacking. So stay tuned. Below are some new things in the shop…

Here’s a Bronx table we just finished this week. It has a 7′ x 40″ steel top and is a real looker. I actually like the steel top better than the wood on this design.

So you want to be an Industrial Furniture designer?

By | about me, furniture | 11 Comments

So you want to be a Furniture designer? I get so many calls and email from new, or aspiring designers, I decided to write this. I even saw this in the movie Magic Mike with Tatum Channing, the stripper with aspirations of designing.

Ellis Media Console

Here’s a couple paths that come to mind. The first is the one they teach you in school (at least I think so). I can’t tell you how many people have asked me what design school I went to, or what tradeshow I’ll be at. The fact is I never went to design school. School was never my thing. I’m more of a self-taught kind of guy. I thrive on research/inspiration, can’t stand reading books (unless they are audio-books, or have lots of pictures). My thought is if somebody is teaching it, well then do the opposite to be successful because everybody else is doing that, and why compete? And I don’t do tradeshows. We’re growing by word of mouth, and our internet success. Create something special that you love, show it to the world, and maybe they’ll come knocking at your door.


So here is path number one for the designer:


Go to art school, the more prestigious, the better.

Sit down, get a blank piece of paper, start designing. (gogogo)

Think of logistics, customer needs, packaging, fulfillment, options, etc.

Design with market needs in mind.

Keep cost down!

Create prototypes, check market reaction with focus groups.

Find factories abroad (if you don’t have one) to produce the product in the most cost effective way.

Market the product at tradeshows.


Sell sell sell!

Fulfill orders.


Or path number two (mine):


Surround yourself with like minded people.

Do research, internet, visit stores and places that interest you, feel inspired, walk around!!!! Don’t forget to look at other countries designs!

Repeat this until you get ideas that you love. I’ll have dozens of ideas before I act. Choose your best.

Don’t follow trends, MAKE THEM! Find a niche! Why bother competing with the rest of the world?

Design something that you want and love. (key word is want and love) Making something you don’t care for will bring you nothing but pain.

Make it!

Show it to lots of people. Make a blog to do that, put it on social sites.

Work at this all day, all night. Blog the shit out of this with pictures and interesting descriptions.

Wake up, repeat, go to bed. Don’t give up, this is hard work! Nothing good comes easy, the harder, the better! (I’ve beeen working 60-80 hour weeks for almost 3 years now)

Orders come in if you worked hard and smart enough. If they don’t keep making more. You will suck at first.

Find people to help that are awesome.


It’s passion that fuels creativity. If you lack passion, you’ll fail in my opinion. Make something for yourself, that you love. And others will come to love it too, if you show it to enough people. The only way you will fail is if you give up. Screw tradeshows, screw school (ya I said that), screw the normal way of doing things. It’s your attitude, not your education, that will get you places. And if your goal is to get rich and famous, then well you missed the point. A big ego will make things difficult to say the least.


I combined a 10 year search for “why I am here”, with a search for spirituality, and found I need to create something tangible, that I believe in whole-heartedly. And out comes furniture, something I didn’t know anything about 3 years ago. Yet I have architects, celebrities, designers, etc asking me for my opinion on design. I’m not trying to brag, I actually never feel content with my designs (and that’s what drives me). The more I know, the less I realize I don’t.  I’m am not an artist, I just enjoy trying to make the next thing that tops the last. What a strange last 3 years it’s been doing this. Sold my first table for $350, and last week one for $15k. At times I thought I was going insane, actually I was going nuts. Couldn’t stop working or get it out of my mind, even if I tried (vacations too). But I’ve found balance for the most part (as I finish writing this up at 8pm). Love what you do, and it’s not work, it’s play. Don’t you love what you do? Because you can, you just have to figure out how. And the tears will come if you venture down this road, but the reward is worth it…


Some of my dreams include:  Stores in NY, LA, Paris.  Opening up a non-profit organic fast food chain around the world. Handing off my company to the employees. Making a difference.  Moving to France for half the year. Flying into space.  Having a 1 on 1 with the Dalai Lama. Learning true inner peace. Realizing the 100 designs in my head which included create a Vintage Industrial car, house, and neighborhood. Building a loft and 3 story clocktower at our shop.

We’re Expanding Again

By | about me, press | One Comment

Vintage Industrial has been a little cramped with the 6,000 sf we had, so we’ve decided to add another 14,000 sf. It’s kind of hard to believe that we have 20,000 sf of warehouse now, but it’s true! We’re still in the same location, just using both sides of the historic Neil B McGinnis building now. Our plans for the new space include adding some spectacular showrooms with many new products, a new distribution area, offices, and more.

Just wanted to thank all of the people that supported us, fans, customers, and our awesome employees! We couldn’t have done this without you.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

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Every week I get calls and emails from people in a rush. At the moment we have an 8-12 week lead time for furniture, 2-4 weeks for casters. We’re busy which is good! If we weren’t, I’d have people sitting around doing nothing and that means layoffs or going out of business. I think America has gotten used to getting everything now, aka instant gratification. I know I have. The other day I waited for food at a restaurant for 45 minutes which seemed absurd at the moment.

I went to Ethan Allen recently. I’ve always loved their products and had a bedroom set from them for 25 years. Sold it for a pretty penny about 10 years ago!  But they have the same lead time we do.  They build to order, and do it in America and that is awesome! Almost everything I do is custom in some way so I can’t keep stock as everybody wants it “their way” as Burger King would say. With some large orders on the horizon, we’re going to be expanding the shop soon, once again. I’m considering taking on investors to help this business take off faster. My parter / wife Sim and I have at least 30 more products we want to bring to life, everything from art to garden to kitchen to lighting. But we have no time at the moment as we’re fulfilling orders.  Eventually we’re looking to make this a lifestyle brand. It’ll happen, we just need to be patient. Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart didn’t happen over night…


Ellis dresser that we’re working on


Big Thanks to the Crew at VI

By | about me, press | No Comments

I wanted to give a big thanks to the crew at VI for a job well done! Our first install at Lamb and Flag went through without a hitch. Our crew worked lots of over time, some a double shift, to get it all done. I think I worked a triple shift last week.

We took a much needed break to celebrate and had a bowl off. Gratz to Gabe for winning the tournament! L&F is opening up the first store around December 19th in Brea, California at the Brea Mall so be sure to check it out. And there are many more stores to follow. The space is absolutely stunning, be sure to check it out, and their clothing is very cool too.

We get a couple days break, then back to work on several new big projects many new designs. We are booked up 8-12 weeks right now and are thinking of expanding the shop once again to get our lead time down some.  Might have a showroom too in the near future. And we’re going to be published in several other magazines with hopes of some national attention, and maybe a reality TV show, oh boy. Yes we’re on fire here!

lucky strike.JPG

Vintage Industrial Furniture

By | about me | 3 Comments

Just wanted to thank all of our clients, fans and supporters for everything they’ve done. Business is good here, almost out of control. We’ve gone from a couple part time people to over 10 employees in the last 6 months. Our lead time has stayed from 6-10 weeks the whole time. My cellphone is the company phone and it’s been ringing off the hook. So if I don’t return your call right away, my apologies, I’ll get back to you soon. Looks like we’ll need a secretary. All of this growth has been difficult, but the response we’ve gotten is pretty awesome. Our main client base used to be residential, but now it’s mainly commercial (we still do residential so don’t worry). I suppose the quality of our product lends itself well to the commercial market. So our products are popping up in restaurants and retail stores all over the US.

My original idea hasn’t really changed, build something that I am proud of, in America, that’s made to last and can be handed down to the next generation. Make a minimal impact on the environment. Share the profits with our employees, and donate some anonymously to charity. And put a smile on our client’s faces. I’m a big believer in Karma, what comes around, goes around.

So this week we are working hard on the fixtures for a new huge clothing brand. We are also taking the time to finish a few new table designs that I am very excited about. Might make some pub tables for Lambeau Field, meeting with some reporters, and ship out a few waiting orders. And we’re about at max capacity in our 6000 sf shop. Might have to expand again.


By | about me, press | No Comments

What an interesting ride it’s been! Last year we were working out of a studio at my house. And today we’re in a 6000 sf historical warehouse. We’ve hired several awesome employees in the last month. I’m trying to keep our lead time down under 6 weeks which has been a challenge, while trying to keep the manpower available to work on new design ideas, of which there are many (keep your eyes out for some commercial quality chairs and stools coming soon). We’re working on getting in several retail stores (finally), building a center piece table for a sports talk show, building fixtures for retail stores, and basically expanding the company on a monthly basis in every way. I was told yesterday that we should put together a press kit which sounds like a good idea, just too busy at the moment building and designing!!

So I just wanted to thank our fans, friends, employees, customers and my wife for everything you’ve done to support us on this crazy roller coaster ride! There’s been some growing pains for sure, but it’s so worth it for the end result.

Our Own Little Haboob

By | about me | 2 Comments

You may have seen it on the news, but we got to see it in person. A huge dust storm hit the valley a couple days ago as we were driving home from a day at the shop. I managed to snap a couple pictures before it swept over us.

We’re Moving to a Historic Industrial Space!

By | about me, press | 2 Comments

I wanted to say thank you to all of our customers! With your help, we’ve outgrown our current space. Our new downtown Phoenix shop is in a historic warehouse that is currently being restored by owner Michael Levine. Our shop will be 4000 sf with room to expand to 20,000. This place is what Vintage Industrial is all about. This amazing building was designed by the architect (and Frank Lloyd Wright student) who did the Scottsdale Valley Ho.

We are currently hiring which will cut down on our 4-6 week lead time on custom orders (we’re shooting for 2-4 weeks) and allow for more new product development. And we found around 3 dozen original wooden gear molds that vary from big to huge! Hope to have these cataloged and up for sale soon. Thanks again for all of your support and stay tuned for more pictures and maybe a grand opening party!

Why Industrial Furniture?

By | about me, furniture | 4 Comments

I’ve been asking myself, why do people like industrial furniture for their homes and businesses? My first memory of buying this type of furniture was at Costco, I bought a chromed shelf made of welded wire on casters. Some people call them metro shelves. It was rated to something crazy like 500 lbs per shelf or a ton total. I loved how this piece looked, and it was built to last a long time under high use.

In college, I bought stuff at Target that fell apart after a year or two of light use. It was made of particle board, veneers, went together with an allen wrench, and it was cheap. The wood ended up bowing over time, and if you got it wet, the particle board would bubble. I had some Ethan Allen furniture ever since I was a baby. That lasted until I was in my 30s until I sold it for a good price.

I guess what many people don’t understand, if you pay more at the beginning for something that is quality, it ends up costing less in the long run because it will last, maybe outlive you. And if it has classic lines and is not trendy, it can stay in style for a long long time. A fan of mine, Naomi Siegler wrote me recently about this:

“I can easily see your pieces used in “hospitality” for “accent” pieces or “focal point” pieces. I can see it for restaurant or cafe too, because, it will be so enduring and strong and commercial use gets so much abuse.

Many people don’t realize it but, “hospitality” and “restaurant” furniture may often look residential but, has hidden reinforcement and strength. I think sometimes small businesses or new businesses make the mistake of not having an “experienced designer” specify for them. I will visit an establishment and a year or two later see that they are on their second round of furniture! Architects don’t support too, much in referring or advocating our expertise but, reps. and specialty fabricators like you see we can make a difference.

Did you know the famous metal chair …the “navy” chair by Emeco was originally designed more than 75 years ago for US Navy destroyers? Now it is all the rage and the authenic ones are still being made and sold and are kind of expensive compared to junk but, cheap if you look for chairs that will last more than a lifetime! You follow in a powerful tradition of metal furniture making that’s for sure.”

When I build something for a commercial application, it’s usually identical to the residential version. That’s because I way overbuild all of my designs. None of my designs can be disassembled, except for the 308 shelf. They are permanently welded and/or riveted together. I typically use structural steel like angle iron. I only use solid wood, no veneers. And one of my favorite parts, the casters, make it easy to move things around in your home for parties, cleaning, and rearranging.

So why are people drawn to vintage industrial furniture? It’s meant for heavy use and is well made and thought out. It’s a strong reminder of the past when people cared more about what they were making than the money they were putting in their pocket. While I do care about making money, I won’t build anything that I don’t like or that is or looks cheap. If I’m not proud of what I am doing, then I won’t do it, which is one of the perks of being self-employed. I love my job, even though it’s quite physically demanding work with a bit of danger mixed in.

An even rarer style is American made Vintage Industrial. Restoration Hardware used to make some stuff here, but has since moved just about everything to China. While I like their designs, I am trying really hard to support America by buying from here. And most of the industrial shops I visit (in person and on the web) are selling either true vintage pieces from Europe or new stuff from India. India is a HUGE maker of the vintage industrial style. And if you touch the pieces, the steel, although fairly strong, is about half or less the thickness of what I use. I get emails from Indian companies all the time and their prices are crazy. $17 for a metal stool, $50 for a coffee table, $150 for a huge dresser. This is about 10% of what I would charge. And they claim to use reclaimed wood. I’ve been told that they lie about this sometimes. How do you check? And where are they getting this wood? Maybe it was somebody’s beloved home or it’s a lie or who knows what. Reclaimed seems to be all the rage right now, but that doesn’t mean much to me unless I know where it came from. I recently bought a lot of reclaimed mahogany that was originally installed as bleacher seats back in a 1912 New Mexico schoolhouse. How do I know this is true? Well it looked to be reclaimed, had the proper screw and worm holes from age, and one piece had an old sticker that looked about right. So it’s probably true.

This Brooklyn coffee weighs around 100 lbs and would probably support 2000 lbs. While it will probably never be subjected to that much weight, it’s always nice to know just incase 10 people decide to dance on top of it.

Anyways, I’ve got to get back to work on this restaurant project. Thank for listening to my rant and please feel free to comment below!