DIY as a Business Model

January 05, 2017

The DIY movement has grown beyond its grassroots origins.  An array of businesses has sprung up to meet the demand for products that cater to this sub-culture. DIY culture developed as a response to the lack of hands-on, and personalized look of products in an increasingly homogeneous marketplace.  

Our educational system, in its entirety, does nothing to give us any kind of material competence. In other words, we don't learn how to cook, how to make clothes, how to build houses, how to make love, or to do any of the absolutely fundamental things of life. Said Alan Watts. The whole education that we get for our children in school is entirely in terms of abstractions. It trains you to be an insurance salesman or a bureaucrat, or some kind of cerebral character.

Companies have created products that allow customers to their possessions an expression of who they are. A bed, mattress, or closet becomes more than just a household item when a person has put hours of work into designing and building it.

The run-away success of the tech furniture brand Campaign is an example of the way DIY ethos can influence companies. Campaign, created by a team of former Apple engineers, has created a line of portable furniture. The entire product line is sold exclusively online,  arrives in small briefcase-like packages, and can have you sitting comfortably in your choice of a chair, loveseat or couch in minutes.  The product has eliminated the normal 8 week furniture shipping time, expensive assembly process, and high moving costs associated with normal furniture. They have tapped into people’s desire for mobile, non-sedentary lifestyles that prize sleek design, affordability, and mobility. What Campaign has done is translate lifestyle ethos into a product that meets those aims and their success has been off the charts. They are quite literally sold out meaning you couldn’t buy one if you wanted to.


Another example of this type of company is Cali Bamboo. The Cali Bamboo story began in 2004 when Jeff Goldberg and Tanner Haigwood, two college friends from Maryland, embarked on a year-long journey in search of the world's biggest waves. During their trip, they took a part time job chopping bamboo on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. They soon realized that bamboo is a viable yet unharnessed building material and as the fastest growing plant on earth, it had the potential to reverse the tide of deforestation. An issue has been declared the leading cause of global warming and animal extinction! Fast forward 12 years and Cali Bamboo has gone from a dream to a reality and is now sold around the world. Cali Bamboo’s flooring requires no installation, they offer click down, glue on, and nail down options. Their business is geared toward a customer that wants to install flooring themselves. The success they have achieved owes itself to the DIY subculture that makes their business possible.

At Modular Closets our customers are DIYers. Our aim as a company is to provide this community with a product that has a high degree of quality while giving people the freedom to make our products their own. Said CMO Mordy Gelfand

When Modular Closets was created just 15 months ago, it was with the knowledge that out there-there is a sub-sector of society that believes in the value of working with their hands, and that is who we are here to serve.

At Modular, we bring to the table a product that is inexpensive, but only attainable for those who are willing to take ownership of it. The ethos of DIY is what makes our business function.

DIY ethos have gone from the stuff of pipe dreams and unattainable vision to a profitable and mainstream option throughout the entire household furnishing industry and as the technological revolution continues this is just the beginning.    

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