We had the good fortune of connecting with David Jauregui and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
II’m from Santa Ana in Orange County and I moved to San Diego to work in the shipyard. I ended up leaving that job after about 1.5 years and then was bouncing in and out of jobs for the next 3 months.
During those three months, I began to make furniture products out of wood from pallets I found on the streets for my backyard patio in the duplex we were renting. I was pretty much out of money after not having significant income for a period of time so I had to make things for the backyard because I couldn’t afford to purchase anything
My money ran so low I began to sell personal items on Craigslist and offer up to help pay for rent and bills with the help of my then girlfriend now wife who was working. Some of those personal items I was selling weren’t selling quick enough so I decided to list the backyard pieces I made and they sold quick. I immediately knew I should quit the job I was at not making any commissions once I sold my first item.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We started out of a backyard moved to a garage , then a bigger garage and now we rent a warehouse in the industrial area of national city but it took about 5 years to get to where we are at now.
Im proud to have started with no money , no tools , no roof to work under, no furniture building experience and to have made it this far and have been able to bring on my cousin as a partner and have three full time employees. It has changed my life and i am hoping i can change others lives with the opportunity to work a full time job that they are happy to work at.
Im also ecstatic over the raving reviews on etsy and how many referrals and returning clients we receive. These things let me know that we are doing a great job.
I basically went all in and used that money from my first sale to buy a drill and electric saw, because I was nailing with a hammer and cutting wood with a hand saw for the first products I made and sold. My shop was my backyard portion of the duplex, I didn’t have a garage so I worked under a tarp that I put up .
I eventually made a makeshift shop out of wood I found free on Craigslist from a few different demolition sites. The shop looked like a 3 world shanty home with a tarp for a roof. The backyard of our place was against the freeway and there were a lot of homeless which had stolen items from our backyard before so this helped to protect my items from the elements and keep my tools safe.
I had my makeshift shop over a drain which flooded when it rained and the tarp roof would also eventually capture water when it rained which would form huge water sacs that would need to pushed to drain so the shop wouldn’t collapse from the water weight. Eventually, we were not allowed to renew our lease by our new landlord who had just purchased the property.
We found a home to rent along with my wife’s brother that did have a garage.
During this time, I was doing much better with selling my furniture on Craigslist and offer up and my girlfriend had been selling custom outfits, rave and festival wear on the side on Etsy which eventually became and is still her full time job. She told me to start selling on Etsy, I was hesitant because selling products locally only taking cash was much simpler than getting legit and going online with shipping and all that.
I eventually did it and began selling and shipping to the continental 48. It started slow but eventually picked up as I just watched the market I was in and listened to my customers so I could create the right product.
In order to ship products and take as much profit as I could at the beginning, I needed to get clean free cardboard from recycling bins around the business because I couldn’t afford to purchase custom cardboard. Even though we now purchase cardboard we also still source free cardboard from recycling bins. It’s cost-effective and good for the planet to recycle and reuse.
The first rental we were in with the garage was eventually torn down to build 4 townhomes so we were kicked out. I was doing better then financially than I had ever been so we were able to get into a bigger house and much bigger and better garage. I had been needing help for a while now but I finally got my first consistent employee who was my friend Zac who also worked a second job.
I kept getting help from friends and family to help me with my work. My cousin Fabian eventually began helping and I saw that he wasn’t there to just work, he want to take part as an owner. He had a bachelor’s degree in international business and had a lot of qualities that could help run the business.
He eventually moved into the house with me Along with his wife and child with the large garage and worked full time. We kept needing help so we then got our first employee because the business was too much for us to handle alone.
We got more help and more employees, worked hard and eventually found a warehouse that worked well for us. It was a perfect fit for us as the previous tenant was also a woodworker. We purchased a lot of his equipment as he was retiring so we didn’t even have to move some equipment.
The new shop is great, we have purchased new machines that are making the work better, easier, more efficient and faster. We have added more items to our list of products we make and continue to grow.
We have 3 full time employees so it’s 5 of us total and we plan to keep growing.
At the house with the homeless issue we even had to call the cops and got into it with the homeless for vandalizing our property, they stole from us and we had to defend ourselves from them on occasion. We buy wood but also collect it from the streets and businesses and continue to gather cardboard recyclables from bins to ship our products. These are humbling tasks.
We had to move almost every year for three years relocating my shop which is a heavy task on top of staying on top of the business.
The drain in the makeshift shop with the wooden walls and tarp roof would flood from rain and I would have to keep working and protect my shop from water while standing in the drain as it flooded
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
i would take them on a tour to Coronado then down silver strand and finally to imperial beach because that drive is awesome.
for food i would take them either to tacos el gordo or tacos el G or get them a california burrito from lolitas. We would definitely have to stop at a few craft breweries . a little drink and food in little italy and a night out in PB and gaslamp . we would cruise mission beach and show them the carnival area. if we had time id take them to shelter island to catch a great view of the city or even Cabrillo national monument.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Dad is a hobbyist carpenter and a general contractor and is probably the influence that got me started in woodworking . when i was younger i used to build ramps for skateboarding so i had some first hand carpentry experience as a youngin.
But the real reason i got into carpentry was because i was broke and needed backyard furniture.