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We had a chance to catch up with New York Maker Paul Kruger of Fallen Industry – who makes custom reclaimed wood furniture made from fallen trees around New York. A former ad exec, Paul took the leap to seek out a more creative life and is now working on his craft full-time.

You were working as an ad executive when you first started making furniture – how did you come to found Fallen Industry? What was that transition like for you?
In a word, “necessary”. A lot of stress pushed me to find more creative things to do with my hands. Starting with small sculptures and fine tuning my techniques to take on bigger furniture projects and then major architectural pieces. As my skills progressed, my advertising background actually helped speed up the companies success quite a bit, in terms of marketing materials, graphics and of course a user-friendly website building application 😉

The two worlds however are remarkably similar. Especially when dealing with interior design firms. They are both very creative and both have clients that you have to answer to about creative choices.

What is it about reclaimed wood that appeals to you as a material?
Working with wood was a form of therapy for me and pulled me out of a dark place. I feel as though I’ve been given a second chance in life and now have a beautiful wife and son. It’s the same with what I make. Turning materials that would have been a wasted life into beautiful functional works of art that can be enjoyed for generations.

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What is your creative process – how do you select the wood you work with or begin a new project?
Almost all the work these days are commissioned, so functional purpose comes into play a lot. Because each piece is one of a kind, it’s quite personal. I usually pick out about 10 pieces that I know will work and that I think the client will like and then I let the client make the final selection. From there, there are many decisions that have to be made. Which side, where to cut, do you sand the edges completely smooth or leave the natural texture, what finish to use, ect. That’s what makes hand made quality unbeatable. Mass produced furniture could never achieve that level of personal detail.

What has been one of the biggest surprises since starting your business?
That it actually worked.


What’s coming up next for Fallen Industry that you are excited about for either the end of the year or 2016?
Right now we’re in the middle of a 34 foot x 6 foot wide conference table for a major financial institute. Made from 4 cuts of one massive walnut tree from Portland. It’s by far the biggest project I’ve worked on. After that, I may take a little break and focus back on my sculptural work. It’s how I started all this and truly where I hope it will end.

Do you have any words of advice for young makers looking to start their own business, or make that leap into a more creative path?
Anything is possible if you work hard at it everyday. As long as you keep learning and pushing yourself forward, you eventually get there.

Each spotlight we try to add in a section on the “business of making” so that our audience can see how projects get off the ground. We have three questions we ask as part of this:

How are your projects typically funded?
In the beginning? By working a 9-5 job, bartending on weekends and cutting out all vices in my life. After I had a decent portfolio online, I then went out to get press. Now every project is commissioned and paid for in advance with a deposit.

What materials/tools do you use in order to manufacture and prototype your product?
While building up my portfolio, materials were a bit short and pretty expensive. I would actually photograph the same top on a different base and call it a new design. When paid projects started coming in, I would always buy myself a new tool as a reward to make my life/work easier.

Have you partnered with any organizations in your city (Makerspaces, small-batch manufacturers, schools) that have helped you in your process?)
Not really, but my main studio is part of a co-op space called Spark workshop. We each rent out our own large space but share a massive wood shop with all the big toys that would’ve cost a small fortune if I had to buy them all myself. I also traded a wix website for an apprenticeship with a veteran woodworker.

Learn more about Fallen Industry and Paul on their Website,  and see more of their work on Instagram, You can also meet Paul in person on November 24th in New York at our Business of Making event with


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