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Having moved into Construction in the late 90¡¯s after spending many years in recreational products, the learning curve was steep but very enjoyable.  It turned out that my lack of experience was an asset; I was always open to new products or processes as everything was knew to me in this new industry.

I was at a builders trade show in Atlanta back in 2000, huge building (there had been a 2-story house built inside) and was looking over the display floor from a mezzanine.  I saw a company with a display booth that the floor was made up of a picture that they were walking and standing on.  Short story; don¡¯t really remember what they were selling (I think something to do with pools), just wanted to know about their floor (glass tile), followed up with the company over the following months and was able to research the equipment. 

The company that I worked for at the time was building about 100 homes a year and I knew that there wasn¡¯t anyone that was offering custom photographic tile backsplashes.  At the time we were selling homes faster then we could get them built and I thought, this would be easy, until something was brought to my attention that I hadn¡¯t really thought about.  Were we going to give people a chance to pick a picture, or were we just going to install what we wanted?  A tile installer thought it was a win/win for his company; he knew that he was going to end up with an extra job or two on every house we did a mural in.  Could we pick the picture a buyer wanted permanently in their home?  (No)  Would we leave a backsplash undone until sold? (No)  So, with the amount of business that we had it didn¡¯t make any since (cents) to slow down the process or add the expense.

I had spent my money on equipment, had taken the time (5am-10am for 3 months) to figure out the process and now was putting everything on hold.  Well we all know what has happened over the past few years, as new construction started to slow down I began to look at other specifics within the industry.  What I realized was, I was too specific in regards to the usage of my tile.  What else could I produce that could be sold for $6 (a single tile at the time) or $6,000 (a couple of larger murals).  Not in construction.

In 2009 I turned my focus on producing tile.  Construction is still a good portion of my business, but it comes from referrals or previous clients.  Most people don¡¯t realize it but the process for producing the tiles has been around since the 70¡¯s, what I was faced with was; it having been around for so long and people not being familiar with what could be done, how to bring the product to market?  Started with a Christmas craft show at a local church in Salem, at that small show I had someone ask me if I could put his Corvette on a tile, that really was the start, someone asking me, ¡Can you?¡.  Over the next couple of years there wasn¡¯t a week that went by that I didn¡¯t have the same question come-up; ¡Can you?¡.

Our Web-Site update started in January of 2011 and didn¡¯t get very far, never was changed do to the first part of the year wasn¡¯t slow enough (a tough thing too busy).  Other process¡¯ (tile for exterior use) and product (mug¡¯s, and I had told my Wife we would never do mug¡¯s) were added and not marketed on our site.  I had orders that came our way where the email would say ¡I don¡¯t see it on your site, but I was told (or had seen) you do it¡.  Again, someone telling someone else, which is invaluable and I can¡¯t Thank everyone who has mentioned our business to a friend or colleague.  In 2012 the update had to take place, it became too complex (as happened previously) as it was being rebuilt and then was scaled back for simplicity.  The site will be updated on a monthly basis, but the important items have been added.

With the addition of production equipment in 2010, 2011 & 2012 the major items we have added are; Mug¡¯s - 2010, thousands produced since; Aluminum - 2011, very little in the Salem area, but commercial accounts out of state have been great; 12¡ Tile C 2012, learning curve was expensive; Aluminum Oversize C 2012, bigger then 8¡x10¡ & Floating Hangers.  A number of small items that have been added because of ¡Can you do?¡ are available and don¡¯t fall into one of our major product lines and will be part of a general product line page in the near future.

Our little company is still that, little in physical size, but with the ability to produce our products into the thousands.  If it weren¡¯t for the advent of technology, we wouldn¡¯t be doing what we do, to the level we are able.   When I received an order a couple of years ago from Norway, my first response back was wanting to know how did they hear about us in Salem Oregon.  They hadn¡¯t found us on the Internet; they had seen a tile we had made for a graduate of UofO who was a co-worker, the first of many referrals out of the States.

I welcome a ¡Can You Do?¡ even when it isn¡¯t something that we might produce.  The question has led me to new and challenging products, as well as allowing me to point people in the right (different) direction.  In the end, I am glad to help.

 Jeff

 

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Tailor-Made Homes, LLC

Mailing: 4742 Liberty Road South #155, Salem  OR  97302

Cell: 503-999-4809

877-TLR-MADE

Jeff@TLR-MADE.com

 

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