A friend of mine once said to me when hearing the price for one of my grilles (I think it was about $350), this really is a luxury item, like jewelry for the home. I love that description, because indeed my made to order pieces are luxury items. Certainly one doesn’t NEED them, but they are an added detail I’ve found customers love more and more the longer they have them. I find that once someone gets one of our fancy grilles, they can’t imagine how they survived their previous ugly vent life, and often come back to us wanting more!
As a small business owner, a homeowner and an everyday consumer, I am sensitive to price. I vacillate between feeling very self conscious of our pricing, which is high, and feeling confident and comfortable with the pricing. Often it takes my co-workers to remind me of how much the grilles are costing us to make, as I often quickly offer to eat into our profit in order to get the pricing down for our customers. I am learning that’s not always a wise business decision!
Here’s why our custom pieces are pricey: They are EACH made to order! I have an entire team working on one piece from start to finish to make exactly what you want. The exact size, the exact material, the exact pattern, the exact scale, and the exact finish, with the exact screws and hardware. As soon as we receive your duct measurements, our CAD team designs the grille to fit exactly into your space with 3/8” to spare all around. We send technical drawings for your approval and then often revise them with any changes or slight tweaks.
I vet all of our artisans, fabricators and finishers (all in the US) very carefully and am in tune with what’s going on every step of the way. We use only the finest materials and resources, and that really does show in the finished product. Even our louvers are solid black metal, nothing about them is plastic or cheap. We laser-cut each piece, brush, and sand the metal to prep it for finishing, hand weld it to specification, countersink the holes, and then send it to the finisher. Arranging first class transport for the grille from fabricator to finisher is a part of the deal.
Sometimes the finisher is powder coating it, which is a process in itself. They have to clean the machinery for each powder color and if that’s just one piece, it’s quite a lot of work for one piece! Sometimes they are ordering just a pound or two of a special powder color. We pay the same “set up charge” regardless of quantity. Other times, stainless steel gets brushed, or if brass, it may be polished by hand or aged with an oil rubbed patina.
Once the piece is complete, it gets inspected, photographed, packaged and shipped. We are using custom made wooden crates more and more these days as we have learned that protection is assurance. We want these Modern Metal beauties to be treated as the baby Mona Lisa’s they are!
We are following the birth of your custom grille closely at every step. Truth be told, we don’t feel good until it’s sealed, delivered and installed in its final resting place with a happy customer smiling in the background. Jewelry for the home indeed!