Tell us about your business!
Aaron Keastt: Hog Island Woodcraft builds custom and limited run wood furniture. We are proud to be located in Detroit, whose history is rich with innovations in design and manufacturing. One of the greatest places in Detroit is Belle Isle Park, which French settlers called Ile de Cochons (Hog Island). The name pays homage to Detroit and the rich history of people who have settled the Detroit River. We make our furniture from a 120 year old carriage house in the Woodbridge neighborhood.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
AK: I studied interior design and architecture where the work was enjoyable in school, but the work lost its creativity when I entered the workforce. Making furniture was a way to play with ideas and shapes; it was more fun to be in a workshop than in a cubicle. I made a lot of pieces for myself, friends and family. It reached a point where I didn’t want my day job anymore. It was scary! After an 8 to 9 hour day it was tiring to come into the shop and work there as well. Many details of the business were being put on the back burner. As long as I was working another job, important things were not getting done.
“The class immediately made me feel that I was going to learn skills and make my job more efficient, most importantly, it gave me the confidence to run my company. “
What was your experience with Build?
AK: I watched from afar and saw Build grads that found success as entrepreneurs and crediting Build for th
e skills. Before the class, I was trying to run before I could walk. Tiffani (Sadek) walked me through the nuts and bolts of planning for a business with processes that I could always come back to and refine. Even now I’m still learning from what I learned in Build. The class immediately made me feel that I was going to learn skills and make my job more efficient, most importantly, it gave me the confidence to run my company. .
What’s next for your business?
AK: Over the next few months I will be prototyping new products and building out my inventory. I want to focus on limited run (5-10) pieces and continue doing the custom work that I enjoy; it’s a great way to get personally involved with the projects.