Have you ever had a million dollar idea, but told yourself it was nothing but a dream? Jorge Aguilera, owner of 3ft Furniture didn’t just dismiss his creativity as mere wishful thinking. Starting with an idea to use recycled thrift finds to produce gorgeous, quality furniture in El Paso, Aguilera started his company and has never looked back.
In 2019, Jorge and his partners were refurbishing furniture they purchased from local thrift shops (hence their name, which was meant to be pronounced “thrift furniture”) and reselling it as vintage staples for people who love classic pieces. Their business was growing, but as many small, local businesses experienced, the COVID-19 pandemic brought this business model to a sudden halt.
Not wanting to waste any time, Jorge decided to pivot by using wood scraps to make eco-friendly furniture. At first, Aguilera and his partners were working out of his home garage, but they quickly outgrew the space as demand for their products increased. Now, 3ft Furniture operates out of a warehouse in Central El Paso with several employees.
The process of constructing each item takes some time and attention. The team begins by cutting each wood panel to the proper size. The wood must then be sanded down until smooth before the body of the piece is assembled using glue and screws to keep it in place. The piece is then stained to the customer’s chosen color and then it is ready to be shipped off.
Before his work upcycling furniture, Aguilera worked as a chef for many years in restaurants and had very little experience with wood working. However, he taught himself to make the pieces he designed, including nightstands, coffee tables, side tables, record player stands and more. Their products are primarily sold on Etsy and the 3ft crew constructs each item by order –– the only assembly required of any of the items is to screw in the legs for one of the pieces, making it easy for customers to simply unpack the item and place it where they’d like.
As a proud Fronterizo, Jorge keeps his business in El Paso and enjoys supporting the local community and economy. “This is my home,” Aguilera says. “I would not want to take my business anywhere else.”