One Man, One Garage and the Spirit of 3D Printing
By Justin Stokes
To a man in his garage, the possibilities for creation are only limited to what he can weld, cut, rig, glue, build, and reconfigure. And if that man is savvy enough, he can launch a business from underneath those sliding doors.
Marcus Williams is such a “Modern Michelangelo,” giving the typical day job the slip with his One Man, One Garage business. Wanting to be productive by his own gauge, Williams created a retail venture that stunning products out of wood that are fully usable pieces to liven up your home setting.
The story of One Man, One Garage is one of rising to challenges with hard work and a crafty solution. Williams tells Forward Beat that he had “zero background in [traditional] design, with no manual for what they’re doing now. The beginning was simply a pull to making multi-dimensional productions that used laser-cutting technology to re-create the timeless look wood goods invoke.”
But uniquely, the business doesn’t sell the completed version of the products. Using software only capable of making 2D work, Williams recognized that his ideas for building 3D products had reached a ceiling. But ceilings don’t always equal rules, and it was in that spirit of “here’s what I can accomplish” that he realized that half the fun he had had was in the building of his shop.
So, he decided to make designs that he was passionate about for products with a “No pre-assembled rule” that lets consumers enjoy their own creative touch.
“Going with the flow” allowed the One Man, One Garage brand to snap all of Marcus’s disconnected ideas into something of easy appeal to the public. His story, one of being successful because he made minor tweaks to a solid idea, re-tells the old sage-saying of a concept’s strength resting in its leverage. “It was an idea that was only slightly less introverted from where I started,” he says. “But still was on my terms.”
And since he doesn’t have to worry about the completion of the product in full, he’s able to make a better “good” for consumers by focusing on only a few stages of production.
“I try to get as much information as possible into the beginning of a project. If it’s a design, such as the Craftsman Birdfeeder, I needed to create a kit that would be large enough to hold the Quart sized Mason jar upside down, inside it. I start with the measurements of the jar… For this particular design, I drew inspiration from the well-known works of Frank Lloyd Wright. I wanted to create a Prairie style design with a familiar look, but was uniquely my own. The feeder is basically an inner box surrounded by an outer box that comes together for a strong structure using the thin 1/8″ Birch wood. Add a twist-lock roof top that allows for the jar to be dropped down inside.”
His products featured through his online store include The Carlyle Tea Box and Cookie Jar, a Tabletop Glass Fireplace that uses gel fuel, seasonal ornaments, bird houses, and varying kinds of lights for indoor and outdoor use. Using a laser cutter, Marcus cuts “wooden kits” for products that purchasers acquire, then build into the final product so that they may paint to their own liking.
“Once the final prototype is complete, I go to work on the presentation of the kit. Our fans have grown to appreciate the quirky nature of our designs with the idea that every piece is a 3D kit they must build themselves. Many times, just as much effort goes into the retail packaging as what goes into the model. I want the package to inspire the person to want to build each kit!”
According to Williams, it’s a business that caters to many types of people, and that’s what makes his catalog so diverse.
Marcus is excited about the outlook for his business venture. “Today,” he says “The ride is picking up steam and we are just trying to hold on. This will be our third holiday season. The next few months will involve little sleep, lots of coffee, and crossing of fingers to see if our planning for the season to come was enough.”
And the popularity the business has seen means that it is able to ship to retailers across the globe. “This project is way bigger than One Man nowadays. Truth is, it takes a support network of one dog, one Mom, one good friend, one vision of what’s ahead, but yes, it’s still one garage for now.“
Interested in buying one of those sweet wood-cut lanterns? Be sure to visit his online retail shop. Readers may find OMOG products in three different brick and mortar retail locations, as well as through the mobile trailer that makes weekend stops all high-profile events around the city.