Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew and Katee Trinkle.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Our business started from our very own wedding. We decided to get married in Northern California, and there were very few options for wedding vendors and did not want to invest a lot of money into our wedding.
Andrew: My Dad is a Master Woodworker in Calaveras County, I grew up helping him with his projects. However, I never really saw myself being creative. I was focused on Health and Fitness and worked as a Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach until our son was born.
Katee: Coming from a big family with a huge network of friends, I love to plan and throw parties. I love the club scene, seeing people have fun and dance the night away without thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. I was always amazed at how a team of people can create unique events and experiences for dozens, hundreds, thousands of people.
However, I’ve been working in the Healthcare Business Field and did not see myself working in the Events Industry. Like everyone else, we wanted to have a one-of-a-kind wedding, but within a budget. With Andrew’s woodworking background, we thought of making our own wedding furniture and renting them after.
We wanted a Whimsical Theme with a touch of Disney. Thinking about Snow White and her Seven Dwarfs who were mining gemstones, we came up with designing our very first hand made product, the Mining Cart Ice Chest, where everyone can find their most precious bottle of drink.
After that, we thought that building a farmhouse table should not be as difficult. So, we built our farmhouse tables, and our ideas and creations grew as we finished every project.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As far as I know, successful businesses never had a smooth road. There are always obstacles you overcome and lessons learned along the way.
After making 12 Farmhouse Tables for our wedding, we realized the design was not very pleasing. So, we had to redo all of our already made tables, this was our very first struggle. How do you actually design and build something and make sure that the end product is as expected?
After our wedding, we got busy with our day jobs, so we did not focus on marketing. We thought that since we already had an inventory, the business will pick up by itself. We posted a little ad in Craigslist and Yelp but did not make any reservations, so we decided to sell our inventory.
On our way to deliver the last batch of our tables and benches sold to a hotel, people started to call us to make reservations to rent. We made the best mistake to accept a reservation without anything in the inventory and stressed ourselves, working day and night to build the tables and benches. It was one of the toughest successes we had.
Juggling through our day job, building tables and benches on a time crunch, marketing again, figuring out how the business works, looking for a truck to rent without much expense, starting a rental business was much more than what we thought it would be.
However, we were able to meet the client’s expectations and started rebuilding from then on. For our custom furniture, it is very hard to take someone else’s idea and bring it to life. Not everyone will like your product design.
When we were new to building custom furniture for individuals and businesses, we did not put into our process the requirement to sit down with our clients for final designs and take payments until after the project was finished. We had a client who came to pick up the order and did not like the end product, the Client had a different vision than us.
We did not have any experience with that type of situation, so we were left with an item to store and without compensation. The weather alone is our ongoing challenge. Since we build and store many of our products in our open backyard, sometimes, it is hard to finish projects on time without too much pressure.
Please tell us about AKT Party Rentals & Custom Furniture.
AKT Party Rentals and Custom Furniture offers products both for rental and for purchase. We specialize in handcrafted wood furniture, for businesses, individuals and the event industry. Although we service any type of event, we are mostly known for our handcrafted 8-ft Farmhouse Tables, used mostly as a Reception Table for weddings and our Pallet Bars.
We are very proud as a company that on our first year to mainly focus on our rental line of business, we served more than 100 events all over Southern California – from the shores of San Diego to Malibu and up to the Big Bear Mountains and down the Palm Desert. We were able to find new roads, make new friends and meet new collaborators.
Our Farmhouse Tables alone are designed to create a more intimate ambiance around the table. We make sure to make time to listen to the voice of our clients, and every interaction is personable so that our services are planned around individual needs. But, most of all, because we make most of our inventory, we are able to maintain the high quality of our products and provide reasonable pricing.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
In the beginning, we did not realize that starting and maintaining a business requires a lot of time and hard work. After our wedding, we let our inventory sit for months without working on advertising nor networking.
If we had to start over, we would have started focusing sooner. We would have spent more time building relationships and believing that our business will actually grow to where it’s at now rather than thinking that everything will fall into place without putting much effort.
- 8-ft Farmhouse Tables (32in(w)x94in(l)x29in(h), $45 each
- 8-ft Bench (11.5in(w)x96in(l)x18in(h), $15 each
- Katerina Cocktail Tables (32in(w)x32in(l), $40 each
- 4-ft Pallet Bar, $55 each
- Estelita Sweetheart Table (32in(w)x48in(l)x29(h), available in both white and black legs, $45 each
- Estelita Sweetheart Chair, $15 each
- Mining Cart Ice Chest, $75 each
- Kariton Desert Cart, $75
- Semiona Cupcake Stand, $40
- Segundina Cake Stand, $15
- Address: 21701 Lanar, Mission Viejo, CA 92692
- Website: www.aktmade.com
- Phone: 9496901795 or 2093042967
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/akt_made/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/magicallyrustic/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/akt-party-rentals-and-custom-furniture-mission-viejo
Trudy Moylan Photography – Trudy Moylan, Ryan Fedler Photography – Ryan Fedler, Heathers Hough Photography, Early Night Photography – Nancy and Eddie, Sara Shier Photography – Sara Shier, Pixels and Prints Photography – Ruby Varela, JVV Photography – Jessica Diaz, Lisette Gatliff Photography – Lisette Gatliff, Carsten Tice Photography