Jonathan Snyder has mastered the art of building something from nothing. In recent years, the former band manager has used his woodworking skills to build a company, pay for marketing materials, welding services, and beer, and even to win over his business partner.
Going into business
Snyder had just begun his custom reclaimed wood furniture business in 2015 when he was introduced to a marketing professional named Graham Taglang through a mutual friend. “I wanted to work with Graham, and for payment I was going to help him build some furniture for his house, because I had no budget for marketing," says Snyder.
“Jonathan just seemed to have a really strong vision of what he wanted for his company," says Taglang, "and I was really attracted to doing the marketing, but, after working with him for a bit, I realized it was a company I wanted to put more of myself into."
Since partnering up and founding their company, Parkman Woodworks, the pair have steadily grown their customer base—and their product offering—while maintaining the personal touch they feel is responsible for their success. Even now, as the custom reclaimed wood furniture business is getting some buzz and growing its sales, it still gets by with a little help from its friends.
Instead of spending their marketing budget on traditional advertising, the business partners threw a party for all of their social media followers, which they felt was more consistent with the brand's identity.
“We have friends who opened up a brewery in the neighborhood, so we built all of the seating for their brewpub in exchange for kegs of beer for our parties," says Snyder. “We built five shelves for an old friend who traded us a welder for them, and we use that welder still to do all of our steelwork."
Taglang explains that his experience bootstrapping his own marketing firm — coupled with Snyder's history of managing young musicians —has inspired the pair to make such creative solutions a part of their company ethos. It's also consistent with the brand's positioning as the polar opposite of your average big box furniture retailer. Instead of selling products off the shelf or off a computer screen, the company spends time with each customer in order to design a unique piece that suits their specific needs.
“We build everything in-house, start to finish, from the steelwork to the woodwork," Taglang says. “We can really customize it to what the customer is looking for."
How LegalZoom helped
While many of the services they relied on in the early days could be exchanged for furniture and woodwork, the pair didn't know any lawyers to trade with in 2015 when they decided to set up the company, nor did they have the budget to pay for one.
“LegalZoom has a menu of things where we can see how much it will cost instead of paying a lawyer an hourly rate, which we couldn't afford," says Snyder. “It was a very straightforward and inexpensive way to take care of the legal considerations our company had to deal with as we were growing."
Snyder and Taglang first utilized LegalZoom's services to get a DBA, or "doing business as" name, which they needed in order to open a bank account and get the business started. From there, they used the platform to expand into an LLC, draft their operating agreement, and obtain a seller's permit.
Making business easier
“All things that you need to start a business," says Snyder. “And it can get really complicated, especially when you spend most of your time in a woodshop building things."
Now that the company is established and compliant, the pair can stay focused on what they do best: building custom furniture for friends and customers alike.
“I think it will always be a goal to work with our friends and people we know," says Tagland. “It's awkward to exchange money between friends—it's a lot more communal to exchange products and services, and it speaks to our company's personality."