Paul Downs: The Very Picky Customer

Paul Downs: The Very Picky Customer

We’re continuing our series with guest writer, Paul Downs, author of the forthcoming book Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business


I make a product that nobody purchases under duress. Think about it: are there any critical problems that can only be solved by a custom conference table? Nope. My clients buy because they want to. They can afford my work, and intend to enjoy it when it arrives. And we try very hard to do a good job for them.  So it’s a little jarring to run into someone who goes out of their way to find fault with our craftsmanship. On the other hand, we’re making very complex objects, one at a time, using natural materials, and human beings to do the tricky stuff. So perfection is not guaranteed. Here’s a post I wrote about the intersection of an extraordinarily fussy buyer and a very slightly flawed table:

The Very Picky Customer

This post generated a lot of comments, which inspired me to write a follow-up:

Further Thoughts on The Very Picky Customer

Paul Downs

Paul Downs started making custom furniture in 1986, shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in engineering. Downs has only one line on his résumé but he has a wide variety of skills gained in twenty-four years of running his business. His clients range from individuals and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, all branches of the military, and foreign governments. Downs lives with his wife and three sons outside of Philadelphia.