Profile: Amazing Slovenian Furniture Manufacturer

One of the perks of being on the TV Show Shark Tank is that people from all over the world reach out offering congratulations, encouragement, asking for advice and offering opportunities.  I'm really touched each time I get an email from someone who saw my Shark Tank segment.  

Recently, out of the blue, a very kind man by the name of Gregor reached out to me telling me about his family-owned Slovenian furniture manufacturing/design business, MizarstvoGrm.  I've been talking about European expansion (even investigating the Baltic region) for about a year now, starting to put the pieces in place to make it happen. As soon as I read his email, I knew it was one of those cosmic connections.  We shared stories and I told him, due to European interest, I had been looking to manufacturer with a small, family-owned shop in Europe similar to Ray's in Ohio.  I could manufacture in China like almost everyone else does but it doesn't fit the core values of MMF...and it just doesn't feel right. Gregor and I are working to make MMF Europe happen but I also know the down economy has hit business hard and I want to do whatever I can to help them bring in new clients.  

In the past, they've worked as manufacturers for Ikea and Habitat.  Gregor has also launched a very cool slot together crib that is being sold exclusively through BeeZee Designs.  Check some of their work below!

If you or someone you know produces furniture (modern or otherwise) in Europe, please consider Gregor and his family business for your production needs.  Also, they are looking for potential investors as well.  Feel free to contact me for more information, if you'd like!  I'm happy to rave about them. :) 


Teddy Bear Slot Together (No TOOLS!) Crib
(I used Google Translate from Slovenian to English on the text below) 
For you developing a new children's program. The first product from the child development program that develops ga Woodworking Plant is quick to assemble and to dismantle bed that allows for easy transport and quick assembly of cribs. Bed is a design solution and designer Gregory Bush accomplished by Bianca Žvorc, dizajnerke and business owners BeeZee Designs. 
The idea has evolved from the need for easy, usable and safe crib, which will be the design, ease of use and delight the most demanding parents, and children and provide a pleasant sleep. Bed is made of birch wood veneer panels (thin layers of wood glued in thickness), which gives the bed of high strength and flexibility. All edges are fully rounded, merges elements are designed to be easily folded up bed by simply sticking items into one another. 
Bed is composed of the exhibition and in 3 minutes and is suitable for frequent transport, as well as for permanent installation.Comes in a natural birch wood, waxed with beeswax or painted with white water-based paint. 
The number of registered patent 1-360882811 in New York, USA. 
When you purchase you get a GIFT summer stickers BeeZeeEcoKid BeeZeeEcoKid and healthy toy of your choice!SIZE: 130 cm x 72 cm x 102 cmFor the mattress 120 cm x 60 cmMATERIALS:- Laminated birch wood- Natural wax- White water-basedFor all questions: info@mizarstvogrm.si or info@beezeeecokid.comDELIVERY:5-10 days outside the EU2-5 days in the EUFaster delivery available on demand.
How cool is this bedroom set?!?!?  I would've killed for a slide as a kid!  (Gregor design. Not an MMF Design)

The company was founded in 1987, throughout its existence, grows, builds to production, as well as personnel capacities. From the very beginning until today the company has successfully operated in the production of finished joinery products for domestic and foreign clients. Through different periods involving large Slovenian and world known companies and organizations. Founder Anthony Plant was his carpentry business started operations in 1987 in a village not far from the center Trebnje. The workshop, which did not measure more than 95m2, initially sufficient for the initial needs of the self-employed craftsman. Soon, this working environment has become too small for new orders and additional staff. The family business has expanded, has also joined his wife, but the practical knowledge with theoretical fundamentals and build an expertise and an excellent son and daughter, who with his academic focus further influence on the modern wind in the company, which he has contributed a significant added value .

One of the gorgeous doors they've produced.


Cool Things That Have Happened Over the Past Few Weeks that included Rachel Zoe and Vegas

How do ya like that blog title?!?  I couldn't come up with something cool, funny, ironic or poignant so there it is.  Not that I went to Vegas with Rachel Zoe but I bet that would be fun!

I've been plugging away on Mod Mom, homeschooling Noah, that other job of mine, and life in general and in between all of that, a few really cool things happened and I wanted to share!

Rachel, Rodger, and baby Skyler

This is not Rachel's living room :)  It was mine in 2008.

I had the pleasure of delivering a toy box bought and paid for by Rachel Zoe, celebrity stylist and TV star on BRAVO network.  And ya know what?  She couldn't have been nicer or more complimentary.  She showed us Skyler's nursery and asked our opinion (Scott with with me to help me deliver.)  She's already put an order in for more toy boxes!  She and her husband bought the Gracie Toy Box for their living room for their adorable son, Skyler's toys. I'm thrilled she's a Mod Mom Furniture fan and I'm looking forward to working with her again in the next few weeks.   Rachel bought the Gracie through http://www.modernnursery.com, one of my favorite retailers who's been with me since 2007!

Now for Vegas....

Las Vegas World Market - July 30-August 3, 2012

I was recently asked to be a keynote speaker at the Las Vegas World Market (international furniture and home goods convention)!  I'm really excited to share how I built an international brand with no money...or carpentry experience...or design experience.  I'm not sure exactly when my hour session will be held yet but I'll let you know ASAP.  I'll give real-world tips and talk about things that worked for me in terms of social media, marketing, and strategy.

If you're in Vegas for Market, I hope to see you!! 


The Finished Outdoor Feature Wall Using Old Pallets-- By Scott Hathcock

A few months ago I blogged about building an outdoor feature wall using old pallets....AND, NOW THE BIG REVEAL!

One significant change you will notice from the original concept rendering (pictured on the left) is that I ended up doing a patchwork layering rather than a precise lining of the planks.  I've learned it is rather difficult to find pallets with similar lines and wood types, so I had to embrace all types of pallet wood, including the split pieces.  But, with using so many variations of pallet wood types, one of my favorite outcomes is that it is texturally pleasing as well.  Weather will certainly continue to play a major role in the overall color pallet of the wall, so that should be interesting to watch. If we should ever grow tired of the colors, repainting will always be an option.  Vertical gaps left between some of the boards have allowed for removable shelving for the occasional row of candles.

I call her "Mod Pioneer." For no money and little time, I am very pleased with the outcome. 

For renters with small or large patios, the feature wall may be a great design option without breaking the bank or losing a deposit.  Free pallets are everywhere, so have fun and start creating something with them today.           


Met up with Shark Tank entrepreneur, Shelly from SHOWNO

I'm proud to call Shelly Ehler a friend.  We met when she reached out prior to her episode of Shark Tank airing and I instantly knew I really liked her.  We even have similar experiences (job loss, struggle, building something from our homes, and our spiritual beliefs).   Shelly is the owner/designer of SHOW NO - poncho style towels for you and your kids. www.showno.com

We recently met for lunch at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood and snapped the picture you see above.  To top off our fantastic lunch, we got to meet Little Richard who was seated one table away.  He gave us both books about "Finding Peace Within," which was amazingly kind and generous. And ironically, we were talking quite a bit about peace and spirituality over well, chicken and waffles, before a very kind gentleman in Little Richard's entourage handed us the books. It was surreal to say the least.

I'm finding more and more that amazingly good, caring, genuine people are coming into my life while others are or have moved out of my life.  And I don't think this is a coincidence.  In my experience, nothing really is a coincidence, not even the hard stuff.

I feel like Shelly and I, despite our past trials and tribulations, have found our peace.  And a fantastic friendship.

Don't miss Shark Tank on May 4th -  there's a follow-up for Show No and some fantastic things happening for Shelly since accepting Lori's deal in the Tank.

You win some, you lose some

I've learned a lesson this weekend.

My best design work is done when I'm actually building the prototypes.  This past Friday, Fed Ex delivered an impeccably built Chase Toy Box design but as it turns out, I'm not really sold on my design.  The Amish construction quality is exceptional as always but I'm just not a fan of this piece.  Funny how the one I design on paper and don't build in my garage is the one I'm not really so sure about.  I think I've learned that I am very much a hands-on designer, at least when it comes to toy boxes.  I can design things on paper (beds, dressers, etc) and they turn out just fine but somehow, the toy box is surprisingly harder to make happen on paper for me.  I have to be able to see how the elements look together in real life before I commit.  I know what I want to do to change the Chase so I'll work that out from a design and a manufacturing cost standpoint (and will reveal it soon!) but I think the lessons learned are priceless.

Time to get some sawdust in my hair again!


Embrace the Happy Accident, by Scott Hathcock

When I took art in college, I learned a valuable lesson-- never point out "mistakes." Professors tended to always reward choices over admitted mistakes and excuses.  Design like life, is about working with whatever life throws at you-- expected or unexpected.  Do not fight for control over something you have absolutely no control of but rather learn to create design that works with it.  You will find that much like professors, the universe will reward you.
The "happy accident” can include anything from your accidentally spilling paint on a canvas that you carefully and methodically prepped, to your basement flooding, or to a store not carrying the paint color you had in mind.  Happy accidents should always be embraced and turned into “artistic" choices and new directions.  You just might be surprised at how relinquishing a bit of the "presumed" control you have and just enjoying the creative process works to your favor.