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Andrew Bishop | Montana | Be Unique!!

I started River Bottom Restoration Furniture because I recognized the beauty in a tree that is considered a noxious weed in the Western United States. I harvested a branch off of a Russian Olive tree on my farm in North Central Montana and utilized a wood lathe to turn a beer tap handle out of it. I saw the beauty of the wood then and I couldn’t help but think I needed to build a table out of this tree. After a bit of research I found out no one else was making furniture out of this tree and so that’s when I decided to start my business.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

My biggest initial hurdle to starting my business was the large capital investment for the equipment. With the help of my wife and keeping my engineering job, we invested in our business debt free to build the business without having debt.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

I never dealt with contention from family or friends thankfully. The support of my family and friends has helped to grow the business much larger then I ever expected.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

The most influential factor for the success in River Bottom Restoration Furniture is the support of my family and my wife. Having business partners that are also family isn’t something that normally works well, but in my case, it works tremendously. My wife is always supportive of me being in the wood shop and she is the main factor for my success in social media. I’m always talking to my dad about projects and bouncing ideas off of each other.

The second most influential factor for the success of my company has been the uniqueness of the wood I harvest and work with. I only build furniture out of trees that I personally harvest, sawmill and finish. This is extremely unique in the furniture building world, and the fact that I make everything out of a noxious weed helps to separate myself from everyone else.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

I wish that I would have known when I started my business to just invest in equipment that I can see myself using for the next 20 years and not just the next year. Paying more initially for equipment that lasts longer pays off many times over.

What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?

I firmly believe that if you want a business to succeed you need to be doing or making something truly unique.

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