Custom Cabinets and Hardware
Employees: 28 full-time
Four years ago, Chase Norton, co-founder and CEO of Artisan Hardware, was working for a company that built garages, sheds and other outbuildings. “We found people requesting specific hardware. It was hard to source, even when we could find it. When we did find it, we realized it was expensive, hard to install, and low quality. So we decided to make it ourselves.”
Artisan Hardware opened in 2012. Today the company serves customers seeking handcrafted hardware for specialty doors, including hangers, tracks, design components, as well as the door itself.
“We put our products online, and they started selling like crazy,” Norton says. In the second year of business, Artisan Hardware grew by 300 percent and every year since they have grown by 100 percent, doubling their business each calendar year. “We found the right product to manufacture at the right time,” Norton acknowledges.
“We also make custom doors and also do custom work at the customer’s request,” Norton adds, including his own. Norton recently built a home and installed seven sliding barn doors, something he says helped them with advertising because the models could be showcased. “We just put them everywhere,” he says.
Except for a few bolts and washers, all components are manufactured in Utah. “We use a local foundry in Salt Lake City, TSB Foundry, and we assemble everything here in Utah. It gives us more control over the process. We are able to get samples quicker. We’re able to get artisans involved in the process. And face-to-face interaction in the manufacturing process cannot be overvalued. The end-cost is more expensive, but the quality outweighs the costs. I also feel that we can be more creative because we’re involved through the whole process. We can watch the aluminum get poured. We can watch the wheels get crafted. I love providing jobs and building a team. And when you have people under the same roof, working with the same purpose, it helps your business in the long-run,” Norton says.
Though the product is made in Utah, about 95 percent of Artisan Hardware’s products are shipped out of state. Distribution has been a headache Norton feels he is finally curing. “It has taken us years,” he admits. “We want to make sure our products arrive on time and in good condition.”
Challenges: Handling the life-cycle of a new product. What is the best way to make, package, ship and warranty it? “It’s a process,” Norton says.
Opportunities: In addition to hardware, custom doors: “The doors are becoming more popular in the design world,” Norton says. “There is tremendous growth and pride in making an artisan, American product.”
Needs: Finding the right talent. “There is a lot of talent out there,” Norton says, “But finding someone with the same vision that wants to add to our business culture, that is a challenge. And it takes time. The right people are out there, but the interviewing process takes a lot of time to ensure we find the right person.”