MaineFurniture.org with Mark McKelvey
“MaineFurniture.org’s mission is to promote the fine, timeless art of Maine made furniture.”
They say “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” While life didn’t exactly give him lemons, CEO and Founder of Maine Furniture Mark McKelvey decided to take a tragic situation and use it for good. On a personal note, being a victim of arson myself, my heart went out to Mark as he explained to me that the catalyst which brought Maine Furniture into being was that his workshop was lost to a fire. Originally, the news reports said that this building was abandoned and no businesses were effected. Of course, this wasn’t true, and Mark sought out to amend the error. In doing so, he created a local buzz about woodworkers and small businesses in general. This ended up becoming the driving force behind Maine Furniture and everything Mark was to start pushing for.
Maine Furniture is a non-profit FREE service on which Maine woodworkers can list their work and have an online presence when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Many methods are being used to generate a buzz for Maine Furniture. Mark has bee working with local government to add pages to their websites that list local businesses, which include woodworkers.
In addition, Mark’s brother happens to be an online marketing wiz, taking technology and strategies used for the websites of major corporations and applying it to Maine Furniture.org. In less than a year, Maine Furniture has 30 listed woodworkers and steadily climbing traffic, as well as an impressive website.
Mark is constantly seeking to add new artisans to Maine Furniture, promote their businesses, and promote awareness about local businesses. In browsing the galleries on Maine Furniture, we saw a few familiar faces! CustomMade’s own Geoffery Warner, John Wagner, Kevin Rodel, Gregg Lipton, Paul Wanrooij, and Chris Becksvoort are proudly representing some incredible work!
To Mark, it’s all about the businesses and getting them a voice that they wouldn’t otherwise have. He wants to try to brand Maine Furniture the same way that lobster from Maine or blueberries from Maine stick out as the best of the best. With such a cause, Mark has been focusing more on the site than his shop. As a one man operation, Mark is single handedly seeking out artisans to represent, creating their profiles on his site by pulling photos and descriptions from their individual websites, and promoting the idea of the site to local government and to online sources.
In this spirit, we wanted to make sure our audience got a good picture of the cause behind this organization! Mark is graciously accepting any donations to his cause, so if you’d like to help out, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with him at Mark@mainefurniture.org! I’d like to leave you with a video by Maine Furniture featuring artisan David Margonelli. This video can be found on their homepage. (Music by Mark’s good friend Steve Jones.)