We Shop American Interview: Kurtz + Atkins

USA Made

 

 

On October 25th, in Frederick, MD, Citizen Frederick is presenting the Blue Ridge Market. This gathering of American makers not only offers a marketplace for people to buy USA Made goods, but to also meet the makers that bring these products to life.  In hopes to know more about the companies before the show, we were able to ask them a set of questions. In this spotlight, Kurtz + Atkins offered their answers – here’s what they had to say:

 

1. Briefly tell me what your company does and why you chose to focus on making your product(s) in America.

Kurtz + Atkins Design specializes in reclaimed and live edge wood furniture and home goods. All our products are created in our Montgomery County, Maryland workshop. We use only locally-sourced and sustainable wood, and all our materials are hand-selected. So many reclaimed products on the market are being mass produced overseas.

We approach each design as a one-of-a-kind piece that can stay in our clients’ families for generations. Our work is also inspired by the history of the materials we use. Most of our lumber comes from Washington DC buildings that are being renovated. Some of this wood has been around for 150 years, and we hope to create furniture that stays around for at least 150 more!

American Made means creating with our hands a unique piece that tells a story. Being able to take wood from a historic DC building and giving a new life that tells a story is about as American Made as you can get!

 

2. From raw materials to packaging & shipping, what problems have you faced by trying to produce a product that’s 100% USA Made?

All of our furniture is made from local wood and American made raw steel. We have run into more difficulties finding shipping materials that are made in the US. Our shipping supplier is great with guiding us towards American made products. They cost more, but a price we will always pay!

 

3. What support have you seen (from the community to other businesses) that’s made your business successful?

We have been overwhelmed at the amount support we have received. Citizen Frederick was an early Kurtz + Atkins supporter and helped get our name out there. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and on our interactive creative process. We are two very different people who combine our passions and strengths in every piece we craft. Clients love being part of the design process being educated on reclaimed wood. Throughout the process we keep them up to date on their project. Many of the clients makes multiple trips to our shop to see the furniture being created. That attention to detail has brought us many many referrals.

 

4. What has been your biggest challenge so far in bringing your business to where it is today?

Our biggest challenge is the back end operations like emails, website, supply ordering and social media. That is itself is a full-time job and with just two of us that makes it challenging to keep the saws spinning!

 

5. What has been the best channels to promote your product(s)? (social, press, ads, giveaways, actual word of mouth, event shows, selling to boutiques)?

On-line is the best channel. Houzz is a huge traffic generator for us. We have a partnership with a real estate team in DC that renovates 30-50 houses a year. We use the wood from the homes to build vanities for the newly renovated bathrooms, floating shelves for the kitchen, coffee tables for the living room, barn doors for the bedroom. That presence and word of mouth is huge for us.

 

6. Is there a void right now that could help better promote companies like yourself?

Time is the biggest problem. The two of us work 90+ hours a week to keep up with demand. The only promotion we get is if we generate it…that is tough.

 

7. Do you feel this show will be successful for you? How so?

Absolutely, It will get our name out there. It will be great for getting the word out about the amazing local craftspeople in Frederick. We have loved getting ready for the event through collaborations with Gitli Goods, Whiskey Bottom Candles, Dana Young Jewelry and Dapper Geek. Everyone taking part in this event are very passionate about what they do and they are a great energy to be around. We are excited to show the Frederick area how many amazing things are being created in Maryland!

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