A Midwinter Update with Brooklyn Mammal
Brooklyn Mammal has had a good several months since we initially profiled them back in October 2009. Since then, Adam Lesser and Michael Miritello, the two behind this Red Hook-based sustainable wood shop, have sorted out several aspects of their business and its ongoing plan, but that doesn't mean that they still don't face hiccups in the realization of their new enterprise.
One major hurdle that they have completed between the fall and now is securing a work space and setting it up to be the most functional for them. Besides the salvaged material that they moved in, Brooklyn Mammal also has amassed an impressive collection of machines and hand tools. They can put those tools and materials to use now that they have created a decent sized client base, which is putting them for the first time in the creative and business front seat. They have so far enjoyed all projects that they have taken on, including both the creative inception and manual construction of the items, but also the first-hand interaction with their clients. By opening this type of dialogue with each project, they now have a greater specific understanding of what each client wants, which has made Brooklyn Mammal more attuned to the process of sourcing material, scheduling their projects, and, in general, the designing and planning that goes into their clients' requests. And breaking news: as of this Friday, one half of Brooklyn Mammal will cut down his full time hours at his day job, allowing him more freedom to expend energy into this start up. (Makes the fact their studio includes a view of the Statue of Liberty apropos, no?)
Some of those hiccups I mentioned have to do with this now-nicely set up work studio. Their landlord, who has become more comfortable with the youthful and perhaps more experimental woodworking duo that shares space with veteran carpenters in the past few months, has proved to be a bit challenging. The particular issue comes from part of their core initiative - to use reclaimed materials - on the larger shared machines, which the landlord has had minimal experience with so far. But they plan to continue negotiation with their landlord so they can put a prized stash of reclaimed pine to use.
Among other enhancements that they wish to tackle in the near future include designing a product line to sell at local craft shows and include on a forthcoming website, obtaining a permanent mode of transportation for deliveries and late nights, and finding where that pesky yet ever-intelligent "mouse" lives that somehow manages to open the Mammal's Tupperwared stash of snacks, nibble on it, and then securely affix the lid after. Hmm.
Yet all in all, their operation has had stable and progressive growth from a top-down view. This includes refining their business plan, which will continue to be tweaked and focused as it is a living document and they continue to discover how they want to define their business. They have also tackled one of the drier aspects of business, but a hugely responsible one, by securing liability insurance...just in case. And, perhaps most excitingly, they can see themselves financially through the summer with their current client list and planned projects.
Most importantly, and effectively put by Brooklyn Mammal itself, is the statement on what they are most proud of: "Less than a year ago, starting a business was just an idea. Now we have a name for our business, a focused plan, a shop space, clients, and we're managing to pay our bills with the money we make from our work. We feel like we've managed to get the ball rolling and we're achieving goals that we set for ourselves. We feel positive about where we will be a year from now."
Stay tuned since we will be following the continued growth of Brooklyn Mammal throughout 2010.
Photos: Courtesy of Brooklyn Mammal.