Thomas William Furniture - The Business Of Craft

When Tom Dumke began creating furniture in the 1980s, he did so from an overpowering desire to build with his hands.  He had no defined direction or goal to create a business, initially, his admiration for wood and time-honored joinery techniques were his compass points.  He was motivated purely by desire and fulfillment he derived from the work itself. Thirty years later, Dumke's desires are still the guiding force behind the Oconomowoc-based company.  The focus on the magical union of the hand and the wood is the heart of the furniture’s appeal. In a rare successful convergence of craft and commerce, Dumke and his wife Linda have created a company that both celebrates artistic precision and produces a favorably marketable product.

Thomas William Furniture genuine beauty, ageless design and handcrafted in select American hardwoods, with a few select exotic, sustainably harvested and milled add to the exquisiteness of each piece.  The company employs two people, Tom, the furniture maker in a 975-square-foot workshop and his wife Linda, in sales, administration and other areas. Linda emphasizes the importance of Fine Art/Craft shows, combined with working with galleries, interiors designers as well as marketing and selling on social media.  “Our furniture really benefits from being seen and felt,”  Linda says.  “Fine Art/Craft shows have significant rewards in terms of converting people who like our product into customers.”

Linda feels the furniture’s "modern with a traditional flare" is integral to its appeal.  Each piece is handmade by Tom, start to finish, including a signature.  “The human element adds significant value to the products.  Furniture created by hand has value.  People today care about where their purchases come from, how they were made, what their dollars are supporting,” Linda says. The Shop utilizes limited technology.  Thomas William Furniture is balancing craft and technology.  Tom eyes are focused on the details.   Tom and Linda believe that people are looking for things that are not made in China, but are made in America, by people who work with their hearts as well as with their hands.

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