Custom Furniture for Gamers

geek chic custom furniture for gamers episode 423

Geek Chic entrepreneur Robert Gifford creates custom furniture for avid gaming aficionados in his Everett, WA workshop and he hopes the Sharks are game to invest in his business in episode 423. Gifford is a self-described Dungeons and Dragons geek from way back and he sought to create a multi-functional storage and game play solution for himself which morphed into a business. Geek Chic’s heirloom quality, custom furniture is like purchasing a “new antique;” all the woods are custom finished to the customer’s specifications and each piece of Geek Chic custom furniture is a unique addition to any home.

Is Custom Furniture a Viable Business?

Furniture is a $50 BILLION a year market in the USA; everyone needs it and everyone has it. At one time or another, if you own or rent a home, you’ve bought furniture. Geek Chic isn’t your run-of-the-mill, bargain furniture; it’s custom furniture designed around a gaming lifestyle. Whether you like to play cards or D&D, or any other role-playing games, Geek Chic will design a custom table that will accommodate your gaming interests and storage needs while doubling as a solid, quality coffee or dining room table.

Furniture is one of those items in the home that I personally don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on. When I purchase furniture, I look at it as something I will have to live with for at least 20 years, so I look for quality construction, aesthetics, and functionality. If what suits my personal needs costs a bit more than a “bargain furniture store” piece, I’ll plunk down the extra cash.

My father dabbles in custom furniture too, not as an avocation, but as a hobby. Our home includes a beautiful hutch, corner cabinet, and entertainment center built by my dad (he’s no slouch at wood working). Comparable custom furniture from a manufacturer like Geek Chic would cost over $10K. Geek Chic custom furniture isn’t cheap – a new coffee table will run around $3K, but when you amortize the cost out over 20 years, that isn’t expensive when you consider how often you will use it over that time period. Quality craftsmanship always comes at a price.

Are the Sharks Game for Custom Furniture?

I am confident that Geek Chic has a solid business in place. I assume they are looking to the Sharks to help with expanding their geographic presence, whether via more retail outlets or an aggressive eCommerce strategy. While there is no denying the quality of the furniture, I am not sure the Sharks will bite on this one. The biggest problem I see is the custom aspect of the business, I am not sure it’s scalable. There are custom furniture craftsmen in every major metropolitan area, Geek Chic just happens to be in an interesting niche. Gifford may field a ridiculous offer or two (Mr. Wonderful will most likely want to license the designs), but I think the Sharks stay out on this one. That said, I’ll take a Hoplite Table in a light maple finish to go, please!

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About Rob Merlino

Real Estate Agent, Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.
Rob can help you buy or sell real estate anywhere in the United States.

Comments

  1. There are custom woodworkers in every major metropolitan area in the U.S., but I worked for one of them and had a close eye on the two that were our major competitors. While there are individuals making custom, one-off, one of a kind pieces for discerning customers, the vast majority of these businesses actually build similar pieces in batches to hold down costs. Why set up a saw once for one piece of wood when you can set it up once for ten or twenty pieces? Time is money. None have the marketing resources to go after a market this niche and make it pay when it comes to scaling production.

    I’m also a gamer. The RPG sub-culture is incestuous and rewards brands that play to their desires. Wizards of the Coast is currently getting their drawers handed to them by a much smaller competitor, Paizo Publishing, largely because of one small mistake five years ago (to stop offering their publications as PDFs). After that, every move they made was seen as a cash grab, whether that was fair or not. You piss off the influencers here and you can kiss your business goodbye. Geek Chic handled what they expect will be a huge surge in business in a very savvy way, making sure that we who “knew them when” felt valued. If the Sharks don’t bite, all they’re proving is that they don’t know enough about either woodworking or gamers, not that Geek Chic can’t make it.

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