Artist Feature - Entrada Woodworking
I prefer to use a mix of trade, retail, and custom pieces in my projects. The goal is to give the client something unique that integrates with the way they live in their space. I especially enjoy collaborating with the client and the maker to design something for a room that is specific to the space. I always enjoy collaborating with Jeffrey of Entrada Woodworking, who I frequently use for custom projects. We're sharing his business story for our local artist feature this month.
Tell us about yourself and what you do in your business and the industries you work in.
My name is Jeffrey Giannone and my partner is Jennilee Hamilton. We are co-owners of Entrada Woodworking. Entrada specializes in custom handmade furniture using local, sustainable lumber.
Why did you choose this particular business to pursue, passion or schooling.
I came from a fine arts background. I studied at The American Academy of Art in Chicago and The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Initially I was just making frames for my paintings and occasionally small pieces for my apartment. It didn't take long after I graduated to realize that I was getting more fulfillment out of woodworking than painting. I also realized my training in color theory, composition, and just an overall attention to detail, made for a smooth transition into furniture making. In 2012 I was lucky enough to land a job at a high-end furniture design and fabrication company called BDDW. There I learned traditional techniques, joinery, and design. Needless to say, I fell in love and knew this is what I wanted to pursue.
What are some obstacles/wins you’ve encountered along the way.
Like most small business owners, the first few years for me were the most difficult. I never took out a loan to start the business, so every job felt like life or death. Although, having all my eggs in one basket made me that much more determined and dedicated. Another big obstacle was handling the actual business side of things. I was confident in my craft but didn't know the first thing about things like cash flow, balance sheets, expense reports, etc. That was a big learning curve in the beginning.
The biggest win was when Jennilee joined Entrada. She was definitely the missing piece that Entrada needed to jump to the next level. Jennilee brings such a creative eye and way of thinking to each project. It gives us a huge advantage to be able to bounce ideas off of each other and collaborate on design. The value of her joining Entrada has been immeasurable.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue the entrepreneur path.
I think learning how to fail is one of the most important lessons you can learn as an entrepreneur. Things will inevitably go wrong, in life and business, no matter how skilled you are or how much of a perfectionist you are. It's so important to learn from those moments, take that knowledge, and then push past it. I've seen so many friends start a business they're passionate about and then give up on it when things aren't going exactly the way they had mapped it out, not realizing that they're more experienced and more knowledgeable now having gone through it.
Who or what inspires you in your work.
I am definitely still inspired by BDDW. Having worked for them for a long time before starting Entrada, I got to work with so many skilled and creative people that consistently put out amazing work. Jennilee and I always stay up to date on other amazing furniture design companies like Radnor, Uhuru, Egg Collective, and Kate Duncan. Outside of the industry we get inspiration from all kinds of creatives, anywhere from painters/sculptors to talented chefs.
What is your favorite/least favorite part of your job.
Our favorite part of the job is collaborating with our clients and interior designers. Designing and building new and different pieces allows us to evolve and grow as furniture makers and designers. Also being able to create heirloom quality pieces that our clients will be able to pass down from generation to generation is extremely fulfilling. The worst part would have to be the financial and paperwork part of the job. It's the most tedious and exhausting part. One hour of paperwork feels like 14 hrs in the shop, but it's a necessary evil.
Where do you see this business going in the next 5 years.
We have big plans for the next 5 years! We are currently working on a line of furniture that will be available by the end of the year. After that we will be teaming up with a few interior designers, including Swell House which I'm very excited about, to offer a separate line of new designs and pieces. Entrada is growing fast and we're loving every second of it. We can't wait to see what these next 5 years bring!