Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hellman-Chang: Stand Back, Shut Up And Listen

I can't think of anything else these two friends from Brooklyn could possibly be thinking in front of an audience of would-be entrepreneurs. These guys, (C'mon, they're from Brooklyn) Daniel Hellman and Eric Chang, a.k.a., h/c, (yes in lower case) mind you, must have a pair of solid walnut balls hanging over the entrance of their Brooklyn workshop. If not, it's probably a safe idea to go for it now guys. Hang away my friends, you deserve it.

Let's face it, it's rarely the time you see a couple of old friends from "the good hood," Bushwick Brooklyn, that is, literally make a name for themselves with as much pinache as Hellman and Chang have. But what should we expect? It's 2014 after all. This is the new age, at least according to Imagine Dragons it is. The days of the Old Yankee Workshop have come and gone. Forget plywood, MDF, and veneers, these guys are from the Owen Wilson school of woodworking. As in, Meet The Parents, that is. We're talking solid wood here. Hand sculpted wood, no less.

Truth be told, I snatched one of their full page ads (this is a cow town, nobody can afford this kind of stuff here anyway.) from a design magazine at the doctor's office. (Excuse me but I forgot to charge my phone.) Tore it right out of the magazine and tucked it into my jacket. Forgive my disbelief, but I just had to see if these guys were any good. I mean, who markets a furniture line covered in sawdust dressed in fancy Canali business suits?

Umm, Hellman and Chang, of course. Who else would have the wooden cojones to do such a thing? Absolutely brilliant. Again, what would you expect from a couple of Northwestern and NYU grads? Take note business majors, these guys have h/c furniture showrooms in dozens of countries. No, they're not your typical week-end woodshop warriors, like some writers I know. Let's face it, my best work is still on paper. Too bad, I'm a tinkerer at heart.

But these guys, they actually have a business plan. They design and make exquisite high-end furniture and market it to celebrities and other rich folk. Of course. Think about it, even cheap furniture is expensive, so make it much better, price it accordingly, and they will come. No problem. It's not rocket science folks, it's just good business.

If nothing else, h/c serves as a great example on how to start-up and launch a luxury furniture line with amazing success. The secret? Quality workmanship, good marketing, and even better publicity. That's the advertising trifecta folks. It works every time, plus it doesn't hurt to be handsome and stylish.

Now ultra modern furniture is not my cup of tea, I'm a shabby chic kind of guy, but I can appreciate great design when I see it, and h/c furniture is inspiring. But let's put things in perspective. This kind of success doesn't happen over night. In fact, this kind of success doesn't happen at all, unless you decide to make it happen. Then again, most folks are not ready for anything like this, in more ways than one. But for those of you who are, take the leap of faith. You just might surprise yourself.

It's apparent that Hellman and Chang have taken that leap, and they've finally arrived. Now staying on top is the hard part, but I'm sure they'll do fine as long as they diversify and keep expanding. In other words, never stop designing, because as you already know, endless selections are the lifeblood of any business. And, as long as you keep your heart and soul in it, you can't go wrong.

C'mon guys, you still gotta love the smell of western cedar in the morning. So roll up those sleeves and keep on cutting.

I really think they're on to something folks. Or, as Donnie Brasco would say: Forget about it.


1 comment:

A. R. Arias said...

Yeah, I put my outrageous suicide plans on hold just for this one.