Quitter to Winner

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

INTERVIEW: Eco-designer Metal Wood Common Good

Here's an interview I did with eco-friendly furniture designer Metal Wood Common Good I did for another blog at a previous job. But I thought his story works well for Quitter to Winner.

How did your studio in Springfield come about?

I developed a business plan to create a remodeling and building company that would use only recycled materials as part of my coursework for STCC’s Associates in Entrepreneurship. At the same time, I won an Entrepreneurial Spirit Award through the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. My story was in all the local papers. That’s how the Gasoline Alley Foundation on Albany Street heard about me. They were working on a business plan to create a furniture company that uses recycled and abandoned materials. They asked me to work with them on their recycled furniture project. I've been at Gasoline Alley for about a year.

Tell us about Metal | Wood | Common Good’s philosophy.

MWCG is a functional art, furniture manufacturing and artist co-op. Our pieces are made entirely with reused materials. We follow the triple bottom line methodology, which values people and the planet as well as profit. In addition to taking building materials out of the waste stream, we work with local inner city kids and teach them a trade. We also provide the community with an affordable alternative to buying new furniture or having to pay over-priced contractor rates. We reinvest profits into the business and Gasoline Alley to help create a space in Springfield that promotes positive energy and a young entrepreneurial spirit.

How does your shop work?

We’re located right next to ReStore. That’s where we get all of our materials to make countertops, tables, kitchen islands and cabinets as well as for restoration work. As of right now MWCG is a one-man operation. However, local artists help out when needed, and I’m always looking for local collaborations.

Where can people buy your work?

We have an Etsy store and roadside sales on most Saturdays. You can also visit the shop Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5. You can buy something already made or request a custom order.

Have you made furniture for other Springfield-based businesses?

We’ve made custom counter tops and cabinets for Six Point Creative. But we’re open for new challenges!

What other plans and initiatives are on deck for MWCG?

We’re making some big changes to our shop. We’re bringing representatives from the local farm workers’ union to help us teach inner city kids the building trade. We’ve expanded our space to allow for more room for the kids to have a nice spot to hang out, work, and learn a good skill. We’re also working with ReStore to build a custom kitchen island for their booth in the Spring Home Show. In addition we’re building a custom desk for a recording studio in Boston, and preparing for spring and summer trade and craft shows.

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