Inspired By // Devin Forbes

Today we are excited to feature local entrepreneur and musician, Devin Forbes. 

What got you started in the furniture making business? 
I started making furniture out of being broke and wanting furniture I couldn't afford, so I started building it. It's become a creative expression though aside from just being practical. I've always been an artist, especially in the music world, but when your creative passion becomes your job, you need to find another release to express your creativity. A hobby is a good word for it. I loved playing music, but with the pressures of record labels, interviews, crazy schedules, touring, I needed an escape where I just did something for myself. Now, furniture is taking a front seat and music is settling back into the passionate expression hobby that it used to be. I like it. I like the trade off. Furniture fulfills a very basic need most people have to start with something with seemingly no shape or use, and change it into something beautiful, useful, sturdy. It still baffles me that a series of rectangular boards can become anything you can envision.  It's magic.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I build things that are practical. I'm big on everything having a purpose. If there's no room for a drawer there, don't put a fake drawer front on it. If its not old, don't make it look old. I draw my inspiration from life. What could make my life better or easier or more enjoyable. And, if something could change my life for the better, it can do the same for somebody else. So, if I'm inspired to make a lamp shade because I think most lampshades are ugly, there's probably other people who think the same thing. I guess I draw inspiration a lot from things I DON'T like. I see a table or a bench and think, dang, that could be so much better. I draw from people who do stuff well. I know that sounds obvious, but so many things we use are made so poorly that it really sticks out to me when something is quality and then I want to know how they did it. 
What are some of the challenges you face with starting your own business?
I have no capital. It's a daily struggle. You have to just take jobs that are too big for your britches, say "hell yes I can do that", and figure it out. The job I'm working on now is four, 12' long amish style benches and they gave me a week to turn them around. So, I said yes, moved my schedule around, and made it work. Maybe one day I'll be able to choose my own schedule, but for now it's one day at a time trying to make this boat float. It's a struggle to do what I love, because what I love takes a long time to do and costs money. Stores like Ikea, though I understand their necessity and love what they do, give people a mindset that furniture is cheap. But in reality, cheap furniture is cheap. Nice furniture is expensive. It's hard to compete with a company that outsources all of its makery for pennies on the dollar. It's a completely different thing I know, but a lot of people don't. One of my goals is to educate people on how supporting local builders is one of the best things for a community's economy. It's a slow road. 
What are some of the rewards?
Knowing that what I build is done extremely well, and my customer appreciating that above how long it took or how much it costs is hugely rewarding. The gratification I get from seeing somebody being overjoyed with a custom piece that is exactly what they wanted is immense. 
What is one place you want to visit before you die?
Everywhere! I love seeing new places and how incredibly different their influences and styles are. I want to see nature though. Maybe Mt. Kilimanjaro. I'm a big Hemmingway fan.

If you could go back in time and be friends with anyone, who would it be?
I'm not good at these kind of questions. Kurt Vonnegut. He seems like a good hang.

What is a little known fact about you?
I was born left handed. I still play sports and everything left handed, but I write and ware right handed. I was the only left handed kid in my kindergarten class and I thought I was doing it wrong, so I switched. My penmanship became terrible! My letters were backwards, I could hardly write my name. I guess I just stuck with it. Now I can't write left handed for anything.

What are some of your goals for the business?
I really just want to build well made stuff. It doesn't matter what it is. Whatever I'm inspired by. I want to make a name for myself where people know whatever I do is going to be fantastic. I want to encourage local builders and artists to keep it local and not outsource. I want to raise awareness for this same cause. Ultimately, I just want stuff to be good. It's simple. 
You can check out some of Devin's work in person at Not Just Coffee at 7th Street Station in Charlotte. 
Be sure to reach out to him for any inquiries for custom furniture at the email below and keep up with him daily via instagram

Thanks for the interview, Devin! 

Devin Forbes //  //@brotherdevin
Photos for Goldmine: Christina Hussey

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