This is a love story that starts with Facebook and ends with a furniture company.
Carrie Carleton met Chad Jordan at an IT networking event in 2011 but never got his number. Feeling confident, she did a Facebook search to track him down and send him a message.
This past January, she married Chad Jordan — but not the one she met at the event.
“When he responded on Facebook, he said, ‘I think you have the wrong person,’ ” Carrie recalls.
It turned out she had found and messaged the wrong Chad, but they struck up a conversation anyway. Both were single, divorced and living in Fairfax — Chad doing local contracting work, Carrie working for an IT company. Things clicked and they have been together ever since — now making and selling custom wood furniture together for their Loudoun County-based small business, Made in Aldie.
The couple’s first foray into furniture-making came when they moved from a three-bedroom townhouse in Fairfax to a larger, five-bedroom house in Aldie. They moved to Loudoun County to save money, Chad says, but found themselves without enough furniture to fill their home.
“Our first piece was modeled after a Crate and Barrel table,” Chad says. “We just started getting into it. I made a coffee table, a TV stand. We got better at it with each new build.”
When friends and family took notice, it planted the idea in their heads to sell pieces on Etsy. Carrie set up their online shop and the orders began rolling in, from both local and regional buyers who gravitate toward the Jordans’ pieces and prices — the couple prefers rustic wood, natural-colored stains and live edges (a style that incorporates the natural edge of the wood into the design of a piece).
“There is a movement in this area, in Loudoun County, where people appreciate things made by hand,” Carrie says. “People love the whole rustic style right now. It worked well in our favor. Our style — the distressed, rustic, and reclaimed look — is really popular.”
Chad is the building muscle behind the operation — a self-described DIYer who first learned woodworking as a child and during wood-shop classes in high school.
“I grew up with a family that was hands-on with everything,” Chad says. “If you needed something done, you didn’t hire a contractor. I just have an aptitude for making and fixing things.”
Carrie helps design the furniture (and recently began helping stain and paint it after lessons from Chad); she also takes the lead on customer relations, marketing and sales.
“I bring the design aesthetics to it, he brings the nuts and bolts structure to it,” Carrie says. “From a design and conceptualizing standpoint, we’re a perfect team.”
Two spaces in the family’s three-car garage have been converted into a wood shop, where Chad works and keeps his tools. As they have both expanded their skills to take on new products and styles, Chad’s collection of tools has expanded.
The wood they use comes from nearby sources, Chad said, including Local Wood in Berryville, Va. The couple uses reclaimed wood for custom pieces if it’s requested, but they say it’s expensive and can compromise the integrity of a piece.
“We love reclaimed wood, but for fireplace mantels more so than furniture,” Carrie says. “Working with a natural element is unpredictable. Something reclaimed is even more fragile.”
While the couple say they have learned a lot about both building furniture and running a business, they have a lot more to learn. They have had to increase their prices and are now often asking customers for more time to complete custom projects.
The Jordans say they want to create high-quality wood dining tables without having to charge Restoration Hardware prices, and often help clients customize pieces — making tables taller, shorter, wider or thinner — without additional fees.
“As we’ve begun to sell more, we have upgraded in so many ways,” Chad says. “Each piece is truly better quality. It takes us longer now to make pieces. We’ve focused our ideology on quality. But we lose a lot of efficiency. Is it sustainable? We’re not sure.”
Despite the sustainability concerns, the Jordans don’t have plans to change their day-to-day operation quite yet. Chad is currently working on a desk with metal pipe legs, while Carrie is building a small interior design business and taking care of holiday planning and photography for Made in Aldie’s Etsy site.
“We have such great customer relationships,” Carrie says. “We’re shipping as far as Florida and California. This has just opened so many doors.”
Name: Chad Jordan
Where you live: Aldie, Va.
What is the one piece of equipment you use that you can’t live without?: A miter saw.
“When I’m not making stuff, I’m . . .”: Cheering on the Dallas Cowboys and hunting.
Name: Carrie Jordan
Where you live: Aldie, Va.
What is the one piece of equipment you use that you can’t live without?: My husband.
“When I’m not making stuff, I’m . . .”: Working with interior design clients, and Bible study!
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