Freedom – why Colorado’s Artisan Shop Inc. Works With Glacial Wood
The Artisan Shop has been making homes beautiful in the northern Colorado area since 2010. With two locations in Loveland and Boulder, some of the real estate the company has worked on is quite large – in both budget and scope. Why do customers and homeowners choose the Artisan Shop for their custom kitchen, bathroom, and bar work? Because of the freedom they have to define what exactly they envision for their spaces – because the Artisan Shop will meet those needs each and every time.
Brandon Sullivan is the company’s VP of Production and Engineering. He’s tasked with managing all design standards, all production employees and floor operations, and ongoing training, quality assurance, and engineering of the Artisan Shop. Brandon has over 15 years of cabinetry industry experience and prior to being a force behind the Artisan Shop’s inception, worked at another shop focused on high production and low margin that didn’t care about quality of product going out, nor the relationship with the customer.
Brandon recalls, “that business model was – if it’s screwed up on the front end, we’ll take care of it on the back end. There was an entire service staff and fleet of trucks dedicated to going into the field to fix issues and address everything that was wrong on job sites. That company was working on 1,200-1,400 houses a year … but there wasn’t any quality in the work. It was so restricting – having to sell within a set of parameters based on what the company could produce. There was no freedom in building anything custom for any customers.”
Knowing what he knew, Brandon worked to establish and build the Artisan Shop on entirely different business principles. He continued, “In Loveland/Northern Colorado alone there are eight substantial cabinet shops. There’s one across the street from the Artisan Shop, and yet another one around the corner. If a person is looking for a cabinet shop, you don’t have to go far in this area. To set yourself apart from the other ones, you have to do or offer something different. Something, ideally, that the competition can’t (or won’t) do. What we do to set ourselves apart at Artisan Shop is focus more on the quality of the product we’re putting out. We employ construction methods that no one in northern Colorado will even touch. This includes levels of grain matching, inset furniture piece styles, and cabinetry.”
Custom + Creativity = Relationship
Quality, craftsmanship, and customization reign supreme in the Artisan Shop’s demographic. Considering that in Boulder County, the cost of an average home is $1.3M, the demand for premium homebuilding services and expertise is just that: demand.
“We have the freedom to do more custom for those clients. We’re able to explore our creativity. We don’t have to worry about slamming out 200 cabinets a day. We work with homeowners to determine what they want, and to go over the entire design process with them. We focus on the relationship – and that’s intentional,” Brandon said.
“When it comes to vendor relationships, the Artisan Shop needs to work with companies that don’t restrict our freedom as creatives or designers. Almost everything we manufacture we do in-house. The only pieces we outsource are some wood turnings, glass products, aluminum framed doors, and acrylic products. We have our own line of subcomponents we put in cabinets. We offer six rustic-type woods. Alder is the most common. The rest are cherry, walnut, white oak, maple, and hickory. We collaborate with a local mill who takes the log can – the center of the tree that is typically cut up or discarded – and mills it to our specification to show different types of grain patterns and character in the wood,” Brandon said.
By doing this, Artisan Shop has to ensure continuity throughout the entire project including the wood used in doors, moldings, corbels, and turnings. The benefits of using Glacial Wood is realized when the Artisan Shop has a project that requires a certain wood or grain. Brandon and his team can glue the blank in Colorado and ship it to Brooten, MN for the team at Glacial Wood to make the legs for the Artisan Shop. That way, the company will have the same look throughout its client’s project by design.
Pushing Past the Stigmas
Brandon said, “they’re one of the only vendors that offers that particular service which is why we partner with Glacial Wood. Speaking of vendors, the types of people we do business with are those who profess our level of commitment to quality, and to the whole process, start to finish and follow through. In the construction industry, a lot of the customer service tapers off toward the end. We acknowledge that, to our customers who might assume every company is the same, and we work hard to avoid the standard. That happens in consistency and quality, manufacturing standards, and lead-time. Also, the custom aspect of it is important too. They might be looking for a custom turning for their powder bath – but then they have plumbing and fixtures that present issues or challenges to the woodwork they desire. They need a custom solution tailored to those specifics. With Glacial Wood, freedom of design means we can contort to our customers’ unique requests or challenges.”