Insider's Guide to Furniture & the Home Furnishings Industry

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How do I become a furniture designer?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Written by Jeff Frank

Categories: Furniture Design

Tags: furniture designer furniture design

Comments: 0

The most important thing you need is a passion for what you want to do.

The rest is details and incredible amounts of hard work. If you feel that there is something important you need to learn, go learn it -- but a formal degree will provide only a minimal advantage over the long run. Imagination and passion are more important.

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25 years ago I put together a team that designed an entire line of sofas and sleepers.

My company licensed our designs (and patents) to a manufacturer who sold over $25 million of our furniture.

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10 years ago I did it again. This time I created a company to manufacture and sell the designs my team created. We are still growing and continually designing new products.

I did not have any formal design training. I cannot draw anything more complicated than a stick figure. I cannot use a CAD program. I cannot upholster or sew.

My talent lay in my ability to figure out what "voids" existed in the marketplace that were not being addressed by existing products and then understanding what features a product would require to fill those voids.

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Of course my skills alone were not enough so I found others with the skills I was missing and we worked together as a team.

In both cases my teams worked for over 2 years without pay before launching our designs into the marketplace.

Furniture design is highly competitive and can be extremely frustrating when starting off.

Originality is not always appreciated. Your best ideas may be knocked off and copied by others.

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Education, experience and skills may get you in the door. Long term success will require a genuine passion for what you are doing.

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