Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew West.
Matthew, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a construction zone just outside of Philadelphia. Okay, not literally, but for about 15 years of my life, we were either finishing the addition on our house or renovating the existing part. Most of the work was performed by my dad, brother and me which has taught me countless practical skills. I think by age 13, I knew how to wire a house, build walls, decks, and much more. I even learned skills beyond construction such as changing car brakes, oil, and fixing just about anything in my car. This went as far as replacing the engine on my 1995 Ford Mustang that I still drive today. Why am I telling you all this? My background from a working-class family has inspired me to start my own woodworking business so that I can stay grounded to my roots.
My experiences growing up inspired me to be an engineer. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in 2017 with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering. This made me a first-generation college graduate. And now, I am working to obtain my Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering here in Atlanta. It has been difficult through all my years of schooling to stay connected with the people and hobbies I love, so I decided to start a woodworking and design business to help keep me grounded. Hard work and physical labor have been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember and when it felt like this was slipping away, I needed a way to reintroduce it into my life.
Great, 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?
Starting a business as a Ph.D. Student absolutely has its challenges. I am expected to work 60 hours per week on school and research, so finding time to dedicate to my craft is very difficult. But since the work of these two activities is vastly different, they balance each other out. Doing meticulous research makes me a better entrepreneur and dedicating time to designing and woodworking helps my creativity flow, which is important in research too.
Please tell us about West Design and Fabrication – what should we know?
I have combined my love for designing, trying new things, building, and photography into a business named West Design & Fabrication. Most of my work, thus far, has focused on making wall art that is simplistic, elegant, and functional. I also have experience in designing custom solutions to integrate everyday items into a home. If you are interested in purchasing a piece for your house or office, email me or direct message me on Instagram. If you want a custom design for your space, I offer 3D modeling of all pieces to make sure you are happy with the design before it is built and shipped. I look forward to connecting with you in the future!
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
There is no doubt hard work and dedication help you succeed. But something that I feel is generally overlooked is the importance of fine details. This means spending a lot of time to come up with creative packaging, promotional content, and designs. Rather than just copying the first thing you see on Instagram or Pinterest and slapping a shipping label on it.
- Prices range from $50 – $100 for current items
- Website: westdesignandfab.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/westdesignandfabrication/
I do all my own photography