Finally, three years in, the Wehners started to gain some confidence. They hired Jim Conley, a business advisor with a background in manufacturing. He reviewed their books and practices and reassured them that they could see more profit with small, continual improvements. Two years later, Wehner remembers feeling like they had made it at last. In 2013, they purchased their current building, which opened up even more opportunity down the road. They bought more sophisticated machinery that sped up the production process and, more importantly, allowed them to master new types of construction.
One type is what they use to create many closet systems today. Customers asked for years if Cabinet Concepts by Design worked on closets. The company could build cabinetry-style systems, but those weren’t as popular as more modern closet systems, which are more economical and flexible. After significant research and training, the Wehners launched Simply Organized by Design in 2015. The division has been organically growing without disrupting their core business, Wehner says. “It bypasses every bottleneck that we have in the custom cabinetry world,” she says. “We can do huge volumes of closets and not hurt our custom cabinet clients.”
Not every business decision has led to success, but Wehner doesn’t let that stop her. “I don’t dwell on failures,” she says. Moreover, she wonders if part of the company’s success is precisely because of the challenges they faced early on. “Part of me thinks I don’t know how well we would have done if the economy wouldn’t have tanked because we were so green and didn’t know anything about cabinetry that if we would have gotten flooded with work right away, it might have actually hurt us,” Wehner says. That struggle only increased her and her husband’s grit. They have learned to make investments only when the numbers show they can. Because if there’s one thing Wehner can’t do, it’s go back to the bottom again.