LESTER—Benji Moser guesses he has made well over 100 custom-built barnwood furniture pieces since he launched Farm Branded Furnishings in 2017.
The 30-year-old Lester native runs his one-man woodworking business in his spare time when he is not busy working on a farm outside of Lester.
“It’s definitely getting to the point of—I haven’t decided but—if I want to make this full time or not,” Moser said.
He makes all of his products in a shop set up in a hog building on his father and brother’s farm, which he also helps operate.
Moser said the business started more as a wedding rental business, in which he would rent out wooden backdrops he originally built for his sister’s wedding in 2014. Then, more of his friends began asking him if he could make them wooden furniture pieces.
“It was all out of random chance that people started asking me to do stuff like that, and then it just kind of went from there,” Moser said.
Some of the items he has made include dining tables, end tables, stools, coffee tables and headboards, as well as various decorative items.
Moser said he still occasionally makes wedding pieces for people and has been looking to supply wedding venues in Sioux Falls, SD, with his products.
While the majority of the pieces he makes are out of barnwood, Moser also has started using cedar wood in some cases, such as when customers request a smoother, more modern look.
“Some people don’t want the holes, and the divots and dings and all that stuff,” he said. “So that’s kind of been nice, too, in a way, to get a little more variety and a little more of an option for people.”
Moser is not certain how many products he has made for his customers since he began Farm Branded Furnishings but said the number is likely pushing 120.
The time it takes him to complete a given project varies, depending on how busy he is with farm work during the week and how specific the customer wants the details of the piece to be.
“Any little detail, how you want it to look, I’ll try my best to match that,” Moser said.
The price also varies depending on the time it takes him to make the products and the cost of materials. He gives his customers a rough estimate of what the price is going to be, which usually falls within $50-$100 of what the final price is, he said.
As the number of requests for furniture pieces grew, Moser said he eventually got in touch with a barnwood supplier based in central Minnesota. His supplier has a crew that takes down old barns and then processes the wood so it can be repurposed. When the supplier makes trips down to Sioux Falls, Moser said he meets him there to pick up his barnwood orders.
Moser also occasionally is able to find other people in the Sioux Falls area who are getting rid of barnwood.
His customers are mostly from around the Lester area, but Moser said he has made items for people elsewhere.
“I just shipped a bench off a few weeks ago to a younger couple in Franklin, Tennessee,” he said.
Other out-of-state customers have come from Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska, sometimes having to drive from cities several hours away to pick up their orders.
“It’s been kind of spreading a little farther out each time, so it’d be cool to see how far it gets out there,” he said.
Moser said he enjoys hearing feedback from his customers and getting pictures from them showing how they incorporated his furniture inside their homes. Moser frequently posts pictures he receives from customers on his Farm Branded Furnishings’ Facebook page.
While he hopes to expand his customer base and reach more people out of state, Moser is not certain if he eventually will make his business a full-time priority.
“Right now, it seems like it’s the most enjoyable being a hobby, even though it’s still plenty busy, which is good for me,” he said.