Ten Years of Industry West:
How did Industry West Come to Life
We’re celebrating 10 Years of Industry West! As a company, we’ve grown exponentially, and we look forward to all the future has in store. Our Co-Founders Anne and Jordan England sat down to reflect on 10 of the most impactful moments in Industry West's History. First, they reminisce on how Industry West started.
How did Industry West come to life?
Jordan: We were looking for furniture for our house, and we couldn't find what we were looking for. We started scouring the World Wide Web for manufacturing information about some folks that may be able to help us out here. We started sending out emails left and right and finally connected with a factory producing stuff similar to what we were looking for and ordered a couple of samples. Put them on eBay, and...
Anne: They sold.
Jordan: They sold. Somebody in New York paid a lot of money for these chairs. I need to get more.
What gap did you see in the market?
Jordan: There was definitely a gap in the market. There wasn't designer furniture readily available. I could go to New York or Miami or wherever and run into like a Design Within Reach at the time and find some interesting, designer-driven product. Definitely was nobody doing pure play digital design online at the time.
Why did Industry West grow so quickly?
Jordan: It was fast. It was very fast. At the very beginning, it was trying to catch up and keep up. The very first website that we did, which was about three months after the initial kind of testing on eBay was to see if this concept had legs. The phone just started ringing off the hook. So as a two-person-show, I mean she had a full-time job at the time, and when I started this, I was fully employed.
Anne: It really was a side hustle, and he kept kind of ordering “samples”, and boxes of stools and chairs would just show up and get stored in our living room or shed in our backyard. We got a small storage unit.
Jordan: And we were staying up until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning for a couple of years, honestly.
Anne: With our printer and your computer.
Jordan: Printer and UPS labels.
Anne: He sat in this big Club Chair with his phone and his printer and a computer and just made orders.
Jordan: You'd be like, “Can you come to bed, please?” And I'm like, “No! This person wants 300 chairs.”
What were your initial philosophies for Industry West's success?
Anne: I don't know. I think we've always just been pretty transparent.
Jordan: I think being entrepreneurial in spirit is something that just makes certain things just come more naturally to you. There's an innate sense of like, “Okay, I know I've got to extend my runway as far as I can early on.” So that meant flying to New York, renting a truck, going to the dock, self-unloading a container, and driving it to the customer.
Anne: That’s a true story.
Jordan: Just to save us like $500 bucks. Or I'm not going to pay myself until my accountant says two years in, “okay you have to pay yourself.”
Any anecdotes from when Industry West started?
Anne: The story he just mentioned about flying up with his brother and unloading at a dock to fulfill an order, and he called me on his phone somewhere in Manhattan, and [Jordan,] you were like driving a truck...
Jordan: Yeah, I was driving a 26-foot Penske through Midtown.
Anne: And you were like, “What. This is wild!”
Jordan: Getting yelled at, and you know, going through the Holland Tunnel. Literally, I go over to the guy who wasn't going to let me unload it, and I was like, “I flew up here. I got this truck. You have to let me back here and unload this.” He kept telling me, “I'm not gonna do it, bro.” He was one of those guys. So, I paid him $100, and he was like, “alright, bring it. Back up the truck.” I could barely get the back lid shut.
Then, driving it over to the customer to some guy's garage in Pittsburgh. Called me on my cell and just said to bring it to his garage. I think we ended up doing six or seven of his restaurants. They're still there. But that's when we really knew.
Anne: Maybe this is going to work.
Jordan: Maybe this will save us a couple of dollars, but maybe we should figure out the freight piece.