A visit to the warehouse and a few negotiations later, Faherty left with a find uncovered cache of retired iron molds and the hope that, if restored well enough, they could produce authentic shades of blown glass. . Soon after, the fixture maker, then dubbed Schoolhouse Electric, launched in Portland with 100 parts, three employees, and a direct mail catalog. (âThe web didn’t exist then,â Faherty told the podcast.)
From the start, Faherty’s direction for Schoolhouse was straightforward: to bring authentic utility-oriented period fixtures to the modern market in a steadfast way in terms of heirloom quality and American production. The 18 years since have seen all the expansion. In 2010, the company moved to a nearly fully integrated factory and destination storefront in Northwest Portland, where everything from product development and powder coating to photo shoots and photo shoots coexist. fourth floor of the 125,000 square foot plant. By 2011, the company had added hardware, furniture, art, kitchenware and more to its repertoire and the âElectricâ in Schoolhouse Electric was eventually dropped to better reflect the expansions of the category. lifestyle.
The name was also starting to resonate with consumers beyond Portland. In a TED talk presented during the days of the company’s expanding lifestyle, Faherty described the early days of the interior design blog-scape and pioneers such as Remodelista and Design Sponge as having “provided the rocket fuel that sustained our flight “. The company opened storefronts in New York City in 2006 and Pittsburgh in 2018. (The Tribeca spot closed in 2019 after being unable to secure a new rental agreement with the owner, and plans to find a new location have been suspended amid the pandemic.)
Despite nearly two decades in business and an employee count of nearly 150, Fritsch says, the company is still in start-up mode. âWe joke that we are like a workaholic in a world of unicorns. It really is this slow and steady story. Data tracks. Whether as a result of audience growth or revenue growth, the charts show consistent increases year on year. Although for a business that has been self-financing from day one, even a gradual change can have a major impact. Fritsch adds, âEven if it’s 10% or 15% growth in a year, it feels like you’re on a rocket because we all wear so many hats. “