No longer a mall pop-up, Borowood made $ 200,000 in online sales in 2021

Borowood, which appeared as a pop-up inside the Statesboro Mall featuring custom decorative wood panels and computer-controlled router-carved American flags in fall 2020, has not returned this holiday season. . But don’t cry for this company and its young entrepreneur.

Earlier this year, Hunter Cornett, who turned 24 this week, pivoted his fabrication shop in downtown Georgia Southern University in downtown Statesboro to mass-produce a different kind of product. . Borowood has now achieved profitability with $ 200,000 in gross online sales in 2021 while employing four part-time Georgia Southern students in addition to Cornett, the only full-time.

“In January and February, I just went back to the business to figure out, say, where should we take this now, for the New Year,” Cornett recapped last week. “So we focused on creating pristine handcrafted shapes. You know, our best-selling shape is just our circle. Then we do custom cuts as well, but really all we do is sell the blank material to Etsy artisans so they can then make welcome signs and holiday signs etc.

That’s right, Borowood makes circles, literally discs, of wood cut to certain sizes for sale online to individuals and small businesses who in turn make their own unique items. Many buyers apply paint or wood finishes. Some people use their vinyl cutters to cut vinyl graphic elements and apply them to records.

Thus, in the hands of amateurs and professionals of value-added crafts, Borowood circles become welcome signs, Christmas wreaths, clocks, etc. He used the word “Etsy craftsman” somewhat generically, as Borowood maintained a presence on earlier this year, but for cost reasons it has since migrated to Shopify as a platform for sale. Cornett’s company also uses social media sites Facebook, Instagram and especially TikTok – where you can find a video or two of Borowood – for marketing purposes.

The website,, shows the different sizes of circles sold as whiteboards and “door hangers” in stacks of different quantities. It also offers variety packs and a few rectangles, but Cornett says the circles represented something like 96% or 98% of its sales volume in 2021.

All of that has evolved this year, since its reassessment of its business model in January and February, and Borowood, including its very different journey in 2020, has only been around for a year and a half.

Cornett, who was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and raised in John’s Creek near Atlanta, came to Statesboro in search of a Bachelor of Finance degree from Georgia Southern’s College of Business. Now in his sixth year at Statesboro, he still doesn’t have that business degree but hasn’t dropped out, and in the meantime he now has a business to run.

Learning by doing

His father owns and operates a cabinet making business and Cornett worked with him for a few summers. But Cornett’s first independent foray with Borowood was not very successful, as he took a ‘we can build anything with wood’ approach and learned from his mistakes, he said.

“The first product I ever made was a farm table, and it took me six weeks and we actually lost $ 300 on it,” Cornett said.

“I’m not that good at a carpenter, but I knew it,” he added. “When my strengths are marketing and branding, my whole goal with Borowood was to create a real brand for Statesboro, a brand that could really expand nationwide, it could expand to the world. whole – at least that’s a possibility – but keep Statesboro in that brand.

A BIG help

In the summer of 2020, he presented his plan for Borowood to Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group, or BIG, which operates the FabLab, or manufacturing lab, at the GS City Center on East Main Street. BIG also rents workspaces to contractors, allowing them to use the equipment in common.

“Without them I wouldn’t even have known where to start,” said Cornett. “When I started Borowood, I started it at my friend’s house at the back of his yard. He had a few tools that I could use and I was just trying to do stuff, but I didn’t have the CNC, and the CNC was our biggest bread and butter tool, the money generator for the real business.

By CNC he means a CNC router. The one he learned to use is part of the FabLab’s equipment inventory, which also includes a laser engraver-engraver that Borowood has used with good results. Cornett and his employees also deploy saws and sanders to size and smooth blank shapes for use by craftsmen.

Cornett’s older brother Paul Abbinante was also part of Borowood in his incarnation in 2020, but not in 2021. He brought his previous experience in woodworking and the CNC skills he developed here to a job of CNC for a cabinet maker in South Florida, Cornett mentioned.

The 2020 season pop-up store in the Statesboro Mall occupied the former Hallmark store location and was a free opportunity earned as part of a program offered by the mall owners. With this and the support offered by BIG, Borowood generated just over $ 50,000 in sales even in 2020, “but there was a lot of negative to that, like we were really putting ourselves in the hole to begin with,” he said. Cornett said.

“One product”

So, he put to use one of the things he learned from other entrepreneurs at the innovation center, in particular the owners of Recycled Cycles and The Whiskey Grail, the two companies with which Borowood shares the area of. warehouse.

“They really showed me how much energy and time you have to put into a single product to make it successful,” said Cornett.

Dr Dominique Halaby, director of the Business Innovation Group, observed that Cornett “has pivoted during the pandemic” and appears to be succeeding. Interviewed in mid-December, he also described activity during Borowood’s peak shipping season before the company took a vacation.

“We’re really proud of these guys,” Halaby said. “They responded really well, listening to the market, seeing where the demands were, doing that kind of pivot and adjusting their business model to do it. So we constantly see trucks full of things coming out of the facility, wood coming in.

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