Buildlane is known as the place many design firms go for their custom furniture needs. But did you know Buildlane also produces white label furniture lines?
Hopefully if you are reading this you have been hard at work getting your designs together, putting a marketing plan together, and are now ready to start on the manufacturing part of your line.
I will give a brief overview of each step in the Buildlane process of developing each line piece. And if you are serious about getting your line started you can schedule a consultation on this Calendly link.
Step One – Consultation Meeting
The first step is to have a meeting with our team that works on line production. We will give guidance on the production aspect of your line. For example, do these materials work within the price point you’re trying to achieve? Are there ways of tweaking your design to be easier to construct? What types of materials are best for the audience you are trying to attract?
We’ve worked on lots of lines, some very successful and others not so much. During this meeting we will try and impart some of that knowledge in terms of what you are trying to create.
This consultation can be done over Zoom or you can come down to our office in Los Angeles and we can talk in person. The consultation is also complimentary. If you are ready to start production we can really drill in during this meeting. But we’re not opposed to giving our two cents when your line is still but a twinkle in your eye.
Step Two – Shop Drawings
Next you will work with our design team to create a Production Ready Shop Drawing. If you have ever built a custom piece with us you know this process well. Using each parties collective experience we create a drawing that can immediately be handed to any workshop and they can begin work. (Note that a workshop will be apart of this process so when it is time to build we’ll already be ready).
This step can be great for narrowing your idea to its final form. But even more importantly a production ready drawing will get you the lowest quote for your prototype. We know from our data that the more specific a request is the more specific a workroom can price it. Plus your line piece might need to involve multiple workrooms that want a drawing of only what they are building. For example, if you show a metal shop a sofa with metal legs you’ll get very different pricing than if you just hand them a CAD drawing.
We charge $250 per piece for this shop drawing. This is quite a discounted rate on what it actually costs to create a production shop drawing. But we want this step to be required and not a giant hurdle for your product development. But also it should cost something so we know you are serious. This charge will apply to your prototype as well.
Step Three – Prototyping
Once you have a completed the drawing we will immediately give you pricing to produce a single unit. Once you pay a 50% deposit the piece will go into production.
It is assumed during this process changes may still be made and we will present various stages of the piece to you for review and approval. For a barstool we’d show you the frame, then possibly upholster in canvas first, and then finally the completed piece in your COM fabric. This can be done remotely with photos and video but almost all of our line clients will drive/fly to LA to see at least some of this in person.
This is also the time when you can dive headfirst into finish samples. A single finish sample match is included for each finished surface on the prototype. But you may also want to produce additional finishes to offer with the line. This is the time when we would produce those (at an additional cost). Once your finishes are approved you’ll likely be creating sample kits to send to your showrooms or customers. Depending on the quantity we can produce those for you or we have some great third parties that do large runs.
Note that many of these prototypes end up in showrooms, offices, or residential projects. You’re not throwing money away in producing this prototype as they always seem to find a useful home somewhere.
Step Four – Line Pricing / Ordering
Once that first piece has been produced all parties involved in the production now know exactly how difficult or easy the build was. And this is truly the best time to determine a pricing structure. Obviously, you can get a good sense of the eventual cost with the prototype cost. But our hope is always that the price goes down once full line pricing is developed.
From the prototype we can develop pricing for a range of other sizes. We’ll also be able to say what size changes can fit within an established price tier and what would have to be custom. Which is actually a great reason to work with Buildlane who loves custom. You’ll have lots of customers who want to change the sizing in a way you didn’t anticipate and we’ll also be able to custom quote those requests.
You might have multiple wood species or metal finishes and we’d include those in the pricing matrix. For upholstery we’d probably have you order the COM/COL. But for certain hardware we could include those in the price or more often you might order a large number that we keep on hand.
Speaking of which we definitely encourage you to have labels made that we’ll either sew (upholstery) or glue (casegoods) onto your pieces. Damask labels or metal plates are easy to source and we have great suggestions if you can’t find someone.
Our pricing will always include one-off production. But we’ll also give you a guide on price breaks for quantity orders. These usually break down as 1/10/50/100+.
Once we have built out your pricing matrix we will create a simple order form for you to place line orders. This form is great to share with your internal sales team or sales reps. Note this is not a public facing order form. But if you’d like us to help you configure your ecommerce site to automatically submit orders we can do that.
Plus Normal Buildlane Benefits
Of course all line orders still go through the Buildlane app and production process. This means you can still utilize our shipping and logistics team the rest of our team is always at hand to give you updates and answer any questions you might have.
Pretty straight forward right? Well, creating a successful line is a lot of work and we’re simply here to make the manufacturing side of that painless.
Afterall, we sort of have the easy part. We simply make what you tell us to. The hard part of a line truly is having something that people want and then marketing it in a way to reach those people.
If you are ready for step one you can schedule a time to talk with us here:
After publishing this article we had some questions come in…
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I create a line piece out of a custom piece Buildlane has already built for me?
Absolutely! Consider yourself already through the prototyping phase. Just let us know you want line pricing and we’ll probably want to jump on a call for the specifics. But we can easily create that pricing and get your order form ready.
Consider telling us as early into the production as possible that you plan to use a piece as a line piece in the future. We would like to go back to the shop drawing after the piece has been completed and update as necessary to take into account any changes made during production.
Can I use your workshop to shoot product imagery for my line?
Sadly no. Although many of our workrooms have built out “sets” to photograph completed work they are lacking three things to accomplish good product photography; a professional photographer, lighting, and space. While we do actually have professional lighting rigs these are more DIY and any professional photographer is going to find them inadequate. But more importantly these are production environments where we don’t have a lot of space to hold a bunch of furniture and shut down for a day to move it in and out of position.
If you are looking for a rustic, factory look for your shoot there are tons of empty warehouses that do day rentals around the South and East LA areas.