A furniture biz starts from scrap

A head injury turned Carlos Salgado into an entrepreneur.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

desk.03.jpg
Photos
6 companies born during downturns
Think a recession is a bad time to start a company? Imagine if the founders of these major corporations had thought the same...

(Fortune Small Business) -- Some people need a kick in the pants before they change course. For Carlos Salgado, 41, it took a knock on the head.

In 1998, the art handler and sculptor was working at the Guggenheim Museum SoHo in New York City. One moment he was disassembling a 400-pound steel sculpture by Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi; the next he was lying on the floor. Part of the massive artwork had fallen on his head.

Healing was a slow process. Fighting his workers' comp case was an even slower one. Salgado was relegated to his couch, where he found himself devouring books on furniture design and mulling a career change.

By the time he'd healed from the accident, an entrepreneur was born. Salgado got together with fabricator Bart Bettencourt. Together they hatched a plan: Turn salvaged scraps into sophisticated furniture.

The partners called their fledgling company Scrapile. In 2003 they unveiled their laminated-wood creations at two design shows before they even had a business plan. When orders started piling up, they had to develop an efficient production strategy, and fast.

"Our initial products were too labor-intensive," Salgado recalls. Advice from fellow artisans streamlined their method for assembling scraps into large planks.

Last year Scrapile brought in $80,000 in revenues. Now the company hopes to expand by repurposing waste streams from manufacturers of crystal, ceramics and glass.

The Future Perfect, a design store in Brooklyn, has carried Salgado and Bettencourt's furniture since the beginning. Owner David Alhadeff is impressed with the company's evolution so far.

"They have gone from offering a simple form made out of very beautiful material to making one-of-a-kind, gallery-worthy objects," he says.  To top of page

To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.




QMy dream is to launch my own business someday. Now that it's time to choose a major, I'm debating if I should major in entrepreneurial studies or major in engineering to acquire a set of skills first. Is majoring in entrepreneurship a good choice? More
Get Answer
- Spate, Orange, Calif.

Sponsors
More Galleries
The 10 most valuable global brands Apple has the most valuable brand in the world, up 67% over the last year, according to a BrandZ ranking. More
A life's work: Photos by Mary Ellen Mark The subjects of Mary Ellen Mark's photography ranged from celebrities to world leaders to those at the fringe of society, including prostitutes and the homeless. More
The 8 biggest job-killing companies Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2007, but some companies are still cutting lots of jobs. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play