When you open your garage door, what do you see? Like most people, I would bet that you hope to see everything organized for an optimum amount of space. However, that's probably not what you see.
Jared Newman of Gorgeous Garage knows exactly how you feel. He started by organizing his own garage. Once he'd done that, the people around him wanted his help. It was while helping his friends organize their own garages that he started to think of a different bracket, one that could handle more weight. It went from idea to project and grew to become a fledgling business.
No longer a fledgling, Gorgeous Garage now has 32 dealers nationwide.
What was the inspiration for Gorgeous Garage?
I always have a need for order. It bothered me that I had so many things up against the wall in my garage taking up floor space, especially since most of the items or containerized items were hardly ever used. I looked all the way around the top of my garage and noticed nothing but empty, unused space. I then built in wood shelving around my own garage. I had neighbors and friends who saw it and wanted help with their garage as well. After putting up wall mounted shelves made of wood in several garages, I thought of finding a heavy duty steel bracket to use instead. In my search I found nothing that would support the volume or weight that I wanted to put on shelves. I decided to design and make a triangular bracket. In addition to having mostly long term storage, I had a few things that I used more often, such as yard tools and bicycles, I wanted to store more accessible. When I looked at my bracket drawing and the 45 degree brace supporting the shelf it came rather quickly to my mind of how to integrate the use of bars and hooks to hang items under the shelf. Soon after the design, I built and installed the first prototype on my back porch. I was amazed at how efficient, strong and versatile it turned out. After dedicating nineteen years with a company I decided, along with encouragement of an inspired wife, to start our own new business. I looked at my wife one day and thought of the name Gorgeous Garages.
How long did it take for you to build from idea to business?
Once we (my wife and I) made the decision to go ahead, it took us about 5 months to begin selling our product idea. I made a few design changes after the initial prototype. I built and bought a few machines to enable faster and better manufacturing of the product. We made up marketing materials, and determined the best ways to sell our system. It took some trial and error, but after a year and a half from the first prototype, we were able to break even and the business developed wings.
How many dealers would you say are currently offering your Gorgeous Garage setup?
We currently have 32 dealers nationwide. 28 of those have come on board in the last 7 months. We are excited and happy with the growth.
What makes your product unique when compared to the competition?
If a person looks at the garage organizing industry they will find that most of the garage organizing systems that are offered are some form of a cabinet system. Cabinet systems are ok if there is room to install them and still be able to park the cars comfortably. Most garages don’t have that kind of space. Also, a person can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for an average cabinet install. Most systems on the market, once installed, are permanent and immovable. This becomes a problem when your things don’t fit. Our system was designed to utilize the wasted space in a garage. Everyone has wasted space but the systems on the market don’t utilize it well. Our concept is to put long term storage above the head while hanging the items we get to most often, below, on the rack. The rack system has adjustable and removable bars and hooks to hang sports equipment, bikes, yard tools, etc... Our system is functional and provides options when hanging…most people don’t feel they need options until they install a system that doesn’t offer them. The system can hold 3-5 times more stuff than any other on the market. Our average install is about 30% of the total bill of an average cabinet system. 24 linear feet of the 24 inch shelf system retails for about $1,300. One other service that we provide is at the end of every job we spend time with the customer and hang their items on the rack at no additional charge. Anything that requires a hook we will hang it for the customer and show them how to use the system efficiently.
How does someone become a dealer? What are your requirements?
The first step is to go to our website www.GorgeousGarage.com and do some research. Next, go to the “Become a Dealer” tab and fill out the Request for Information form. Someone will contact them to go over the details of the opportunity. The basic requirements are:
- Dealer Fee: $10,000
- Experience: Preferably current or past business ownership, management, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Sales. Understanding of what it takes to start and run a business.
For the $10,000 fee we provide $3,800 in materials, building and use of website, marketing materials and 2 days of training at our facility covering installation, sales and marketing specific to what works for us.
Did you have any previous experience that helped feed into the growth of Gorgeous Garage?
I had managed project work and managed an office for a company that disposed of hazardous materials. The experience of working with profit margins, cost accounting, developing work plans, and project logistics were all helpful and I believe requisite to know. I think the experience that was probably the most beneficial was learning how to deal with and help the customer. My regional manager at the time recommended a book entitled “Raving Fans.” I read it, applied it, it worked, and I use the principles in the book for the Gorgeous Garage business.
What has your business taught you?
It doesn’t always come easy. Until the business took off, I considered a forty hour work week to be part time. Because of the product, I thought people would come to me instead of me having to reach out so much to them. If you have a certifiable good idea, run with it. What I think about my business, service or product, doesn’t matter if my customer doesn’t feel the same way. I don’t know everything, and if I did, I would not be in business very long. Seek out people who know, and do your research.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I wanted to have ownership in what I did, whatever the outcome. I had seen the results of my service for and to the corporation I worked for. I had also developed patentable ideas that were exclusively owned and used by the corporation. I have a good wife and family who encouraged and inspired me as well.
Do you think you'll ever consider starting another business, or is this it?
I have an inventive nature and would like to test and develop some other ideas I have. I can see in conjunction with the Gorgeous Garage business, developing other businesses.
What was the hardest part of starting or running your business?
The Gorgeous Garage business was so unique, because there was no other product or business that did anything similar. We kind of had to invent the best ways to establish the business and find ways to sell the product. We had to wear a lot of different “hats” because of all the positions we had to fill, until we could afford to hire more people to help. We had some moments where we didn’t know if we could maintain cash flows and working capital. It all seemed to work out though as we gave it our best efforts.
It was tough, we made some bad costly decisions and some good ones, but I don’t think I would change a thing.