My name is Aaron Masterson and I am the Founder of Local Furniture Outlet located in Austin, Texas. I am a passionate plant-based lifestyle entrepreneur who not only believes in supplying customers across America with top-quality furniture made from well-seasoned wood but also in environmental health programs.
Though my startup is majorly based on creating furniture for different parts of a home, we also create awareness of the benefits of maintaining a sustainable environment through the One-for-Three program which ensures three trees are planted to replace every tree felled across the country.
I have over 18 years of experience as an entrepreneur, and I have been able to grow my brand into a family business over the years.
What We Do
Local Furniture Outlet is an eCommerce company that sources, packages, and transport wood-based furniture to our customers in the United States of America. Our sole focus is sourcing high-quality, wooden furniture through a range that includes chairs, tables, beds, cabinets, and so on. Our products are suited for homes and offices.
We are an environmentally conscious company that not only provides comfort to customers through our products but also a sustainable environment. At Local Furniture Outlet, we believe that if we take care of the Earth by implementing programs to maintain it, the Earth will reciprocate.
To reduce our carbon footprint at the company, we make use of biodegradable and recyclable packaging and ensure our processes do not contribute to deforestation and environmental degradation by replacing each tree felled with three others.
What Inspired Me to Start My Business
I decided to venture into business in 2007 as a result of an idea I have always had since my college days. Selling different brands, sizes, and grades of mattresses has always been a business I was inspired to invest in by my colleague in school. Additionally, the opportunities I discovered about the viability and feasibility of this market in my intended region of business gave me more conviction to pursue this business idea. The first move I made was to purchase a warehouse in Corpus Christi.
As a startup business, the staff I employed in this company were mostly made up of family and friends. Within a year of operating the business, we earned a significant profit margin that exceeded our projections. The significant success achieved in the first year of business is attributed to the lack of competition within the locality of our company.
We made a net profit of over 110% of the total funds invested by the end of the year. We were also able to earn so much by process optimization and practices by sticking to a supply chain, excellent service, reduced storage fees, and a strong workplace culture that kept both employees and customers engaged.
A couple of years into the business, our earnings from the warehouse had tripled and were projected to reach as high as five times in value by the end of year three. After careful study and research focused on expanding our business and product offering, I decided to explore other opportunities within this market that I could take advantage of.
Through extensive research that lasted over three months, I was able to identify a gap our business can fill in the furniture industry. The majority of customers who have a pressing need for high-quality furniture in different localities and regions need to travel miles across the country to acquire furniture for homes and offices. The high demand and low supply of these products across different localities meant that consumers had to pay so much more to acquire the desired furniture
This was a problem we decided to fix in this market. As we created strategies to expand our company operations to include supplying furniture, a roadmap that entails how our company will source high-quality furniture, sizes, and utilities were also integrated. Due to the increasing arms that we are adding to our company, we executed a rebrand that was launched by a change of name to Local Furniture Outlet.
Having created a new brand that offers all kinds of furniture, we had to set up numerous supply chains where we can get popular, high-quality brands of furniture to serve the customers within our locale and beyond.
Launching Local Furniture Outlet
After securing prototypes for the company, the next line of action was always for us to raise capital to expand into a large-scale manufacturing company and take our business online. Within six months of securing our prototypes, we were able to raise $180,000 from family, friends, and reinvested profits from our running company.
This fund was just enough to create our first production run. However, we still lacked the expertise or experience in taking the business online. This part of the business was so hard because I had to continuously seek funds from family members to keep the business going. At some point, issues of quality slippage, factory closure, inventory not matching the prototype – all contributed to me wishing I never decided to expand my business.
As time went by, we found out that we didn’t have the capacity to import our products back into America. We had a series of challenges concerning ways to transport our furniture to America to meet the 2-week delivery time that was provided to customers, funding, as well as another warehouse.
Just when things seemed to be out of our reach, we got a breakthrough through a skilled investor who helped us through his contacts with experts in storage facilities and shipping products from China.
Subsequent to the official launch of our company, Local Furniture Outlet, sales were rapid as we sold off most of our furniture within 2 months of opening. Despite lack of investment in marketing, the huge sales we made within such a short time shows just how much customers needed furniture supplies within our locality.
Fast sales we recorded can be credited to word-of-mouth marketing where customers who make purchase with us spread information about us, what we offer, and services customers enjoy when they engage in business with us.
Given the early success recorded by our company, expanding our company and production size was inevitable. This will help us effectively cater to the growing demands of our customers within our region and across the United States.
Before the pandemic struck in 2020, the increasing demand for an eCommerce platform where our customers can easily place orders for furniture from wherever they are led us to strategize on launching an eCommerce website.
This not only helped customers, but was also of great advantage for us in terms of exposure, reach, customer engagement, lead generation, customer conversion, and sales. Within the space of 4 years, we have been able to grow our revenues exponentially, especially after the launch of our eCommerce website which brought the attention of new audiences from far and wide.
To minimize the cost of furniture and provide customers with the best deals, we fully source raw materials like wood, paints, and other materials to produce high-class furniture for 15% less. This became the major selling point that led to an exponential increase in our customer base and sales.
Our Performance Today and Future Projections
Local Furniture Outlet is enjoying its best year so far in terms of revenues and customer volume. Things picked up from last year when we generated revenues worth over $300,000. We have 6 warehouses spread over different regions between Texas and California.
These warehouses supply customers who are within the areas where customers make orders from. As a result, furniture deliveries are rapid and our customer satisfaction rate is through the roof. We also have a workforce that totals more than 700 employees who are experts and have become an important part of our success story. Speaking of future projections, we are currently creating a roadmap and strategies that will help us burst into the international scene in the furniture supply market.
By creating new prototypes and modern furniture designs that fit into the modern trend, Local Furniture Outlet will continue to evolve according to customer needs. We have a plan to become a destination where all furniture-related needs are well fulfilled while maintaining our company culture. These are long-term goals we want to approach step by step.
Lessons I Learned in My Entrepreneurial Journey
Establishing a company out of nothing has to be one of the biggest challenges anyone can take on. During the early years of the company, our well-designed and data-oriented business plan gave me so much confidence that everything is under control. Since there is a plan from strategy to execution, I thought nothing could go wrong.
The reality is that everything could go wrong, and this is why most business leaders acknowledge the fact that learning never stops in business. Every single day that goes by, there is something new to learn either from project management, employee management, business operation, strategy implementation, or organizational policies.
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Several challenges also make up for an integral part of our company journey. We struggled to raise funds to expand our company at some point, despite having a convincing business plan. This is why hiring the right employees for your company is important, because they provide the necessary support in terms of resources and intuition.
The contribution of every employee that formed part of the team helped to significantly steer the company in the direction of success. On a final note, one lesson entrepreneurs should bear in mind when looking to create their business is that your business will always require more money than what your business plan suggests.