Today we’d like to introduce you to Taber Hunt Bartoshesky.
Hi Taber, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
The year after, I graduated from college, I embarked on a trip to Indonesia with a friend. It was a two-month surf trip that turned into a 6-month adventure. I immersed myself into the culture of this diverse country and became attached to woodworking and furniture design; which is one of the longest-lasting and largest industries that exist in this region of the world.
I was initially interested in bringing some of Indonesia’s traditions back to the U.S. for myself, but I then had the idea for an import business that would allow me to share this with others as well. I began peddling furniture and antiques out of my parents’ garage while hosting a website to facilitate online sales. I asked a friend to partner up with me, and we continued to travel throughout the jungles of Indonesia sourcing and collecting beautiful pieces to send home.
We upgraded to a warehouse, and we were growing as a business… slowly but steadily. My friend lost interest pretty quickly, and he decided to part ways and follow his dreams as a restauranteur. It was at that point that I was left to determine the next move with my business. I always wanted a brick-and-mortar retail store, and in 2016 ( 5 years after I started down this path ) when I opened Hunt & Lane in downtown Rehoboth Beach, DE. Fast forward to today and I just celebrated 10 years in business, and 5 years as a retail store.
The storefront is home to an ever-evolving collection of handmade furniture, lighting, and homewares. Our furniture is a mix of old and new, with many of my own designs being showcased. Beyond that, we have now grown into an artist co-op where we host a collab of artwork and handcrafted goods from a handful of talented local artists. We are always looking for new artists, and other ways to expand our reach in the local design community.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, absolutely not. This seemed like more of a hobby for the first 7 years, to be honest. I was always working full-time as a waiter/bartender to keep things going and support this dream. A common rule of thumb for any small business is that it takes 3-5 years to really see any serious progress or any profits. I give it every bit of 5, but more like 7 years.
One of the biggest struggles was just being able to connect my product to the consumer. Opening the storefront in a heavy foot traffic part of town was the biggest step forward. Even after that, we were still the new kids on the block. We stuck it out for years until people finally started to notice us, and realize that we were here to stay and we were going to make a name for ourselves.
Our products speak for themselves. All the furniture is solid wood, handmade, and built to last. Word of mouth is huge for us, and once we were able to get enough pieces into customers’ homes… the momentum really snowballed. Our pieces really stand out, and eventually, we were no longer out hunting for business, but the business was finally coming to us.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Hunt & Lane is most known for solid Teak wood furniture. Everything we have is sustainably sourced, and organic. Mother nature is really the greatest designer, and we just try to accentuate that. Some of our most sought-after pieces are tables that are built from one solid continuous chunk of tree roots.
It almost looks like a giant piece of driftwood with a glass top. We dig these out of the ground, from trees that were previously harvested, or fallen. Teak is so unique for its resilient on weather, bugs, rot, etc. They will remain preserved under the dirt for years and years, almost fossilized. It takes many hours to clean these up, cut them to size, sand, shape, and polish into a beautiful piece of furniture.
Our mission for sustainability is for sure what I am most proud of. A lot of our furniture is built new, from old recycled pieces of Teak that were salvaged from other existing structures; like houses/bridges, etc. Each piece is already weathered and has a gorgeous patina that is loaded with character and tells a story.
How do you define success?
To me, success is not defined by numbers. Not by the number of pieces sold, or the number of margins or profits at the end of the day. To me, success is defined by the overall satisfaction of my customer.
When we get positive reviews, and emails reporting back with photos of their new piece inside their home, accompanied by nice messages about how happy they are with their purchase that to me is true success.
When that customer returns the next year to add to their collection and continue to support our small business, that is a success. Seeing a customer’s face light up with joy when we deliver their dream piece of furniture, that is the feeling of success.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: huntandlane.com
- Instagram: @huntandlane