Being kind to the environment has been a popular sentiment for many years. It’s always interesting to find new and exciting ways to help out our Earth. One unusual and very powerful way to do so is to reclaim building materials. Some companies take wood that would have been discarded in the past, and re-using it in new products. The results are not only environmentally friendly, but can be incredibly beautiful as well. David Fortino, a Philadelphia resident, has one of these businesses. We hope you will enjoy reading his interview.
Q: How old is your Philadelphia custom furniture business and what inspired you to do it?
A: I have worked in and around fabrication and manufacturing since I was five, when I would regularly sweep up my uncle’s carpentry shop for $2 a week. I continued to work for him through my high school and college years and during the slow periods in the movie industry.
One evening while helping a friend with a small woodworking project, he said to me that we should go into business together making hand-painted custom furniture. He would paint original artwork on furniture that I would build. We did that for a few years, but then when he didn’t want to be involved with it anymore, we parted ways. I then set out on my own. I think that was in 2007.
Q: Do you enjoy it?
A: Mostly. It can be difficult saying no to a potential client because what they want me to do just isn’t in their budget. I do make an effort to work with them on this, but sometimes, there isn’t a price point that’s fair to both of us. I have come to terms with the simple fact that I deal in what many may consider to be luxury items.
Q: What are the strength and weaknesses of your business?
A: Strengths: Made in USA, Made in Philadelphia, Professionalism
Weaknesses: For all my skills, there are skills I don’t possess. For instance, I can weld mild steel, but I do not yet have the tooling or ability to weld stainless steel or aluminum.
Q: Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished thus far?
A: No! In fact, after having been sidetracked by another project, I feel like I am starting over.
Q: What can you do to improve?
A: Continue learning new skills, or in the interim, know where to have certain processes subcontracted.
I’m always looking at ways to streamline the process and make products more affordably.
Q: Where do you see your business 5 years from today?
A: I just want to be able to make whatever my brain can concoct.
Q: Why do you think people should buy your products?
A: Top quality craftsmanship! I build to last. Also, Made in USA!
Also, check out David’s website. You’ll be amazed at the beauty and quality of his products that are shown. The website is: http://www.fortinofabrication.com/
You can also follow David’s Social Media Profiles here: