Q-and-A: Haus of Reed’s Tim and Randi Reed talk sustainability
SPARKS, Nev. — For Tim and Randi Reed, owners of Haus of Reed, a local custom-furniture company, sustainability is ingrained in their business model — from manufacturing products with a 100 percent lifetime guarantee to sourcing most materials within a stone’s throw from their shop.
With that in mind, the Northern Nevada Business Weekly sat down with the Reeds at Haus of Reed, tucked on Greg Street in Sparks, to talk about sustainability.
NNBW: IN WHAT WAYS DOES HAUS OF REED PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITY?
Randi Reed: I think in all ways possible. First being that pretty much every material that we work with — be it, solid wood, metal, or the Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) — they’re all naturally occurring materials.
And we try to cut down on waste by having very short commute times. So over 90 percent of our material is sourced within two miles of the shop. Being able to not have that downtime for our shop. And being able to literally … if we had a forklift we could go through this chain linked fence (behind the shop) to our wood supplier. And that’s really nice, because in larger communities, like LA, you’re going to drive 40-50 miles sometimes just to get certain materials. So from a sustainability standpoint that’s really nice.
And then we really have zero waste. With our concrete, we have small molds where we can put all the extra materials in it, and then I can turn around and give these to different clients as samples. A lot of these larger clients have libraries where they stash different types of materials so designers can go back and reference them. So it’s not really wasting it, we’re just kind of recycling it into a different type of shape. That way it keeps our name current with the potential client and then we don’t have to waste it.
NNBW: WHAT SPECIFICALLY DOES HAUS OF REED DO WITH WOOD SCRAPS?
Randi Reed: We either donate it to the (Nevada) Woodchucks, which is a local group of older woodworkers that use the scraps. So they build toys for Children’s Cabinet and stuff like that — it’s very cool. So we donate a lot of scrap to them.
One of our employees takes scraps and gives them to his wife, who is a local artist, and she makes these amazing, beautifully painted canvases on wood. And my (6-year-old) son (Rush) will build all sorts of things in the shop (with wood scraps) — keeps him busy, gets him very dexterous. So, we’re pretty good about sustainability, I would think. Obviously, we can’t be zero waste, but we try to be as minimal as possible in various ways.
NNBW: WHY IS SUSTAINABILITY SO IMPORTANT TO HAUS OF REED?
Randi Reed: You know, there’s enough stuff on this planet. So if we can take things that have already been, I think it’s important to be able to show different uses. It’s the true form of manufacturing, right? Taking one specific element and being able to utilize it by working with your hands and turning it into something else. That’s really what we’re doing, right? So it’s a sustainable practice of manufacturing.
And to us it’s very important. Being able to utilize these types of materials and turn them into what we can turn them into is pretty neat. And to have minimal waste and be able to turn into some other fun things that are not necessarily for profit but still good for our business.
NNBW: ARE THERE OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPROVE YOUR SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES?
Randi Reed: We’ve talked about taking the wood, the sawdust, and making them into pellets. But, that’s an expensive process. So we’d really have to look at it from a company standpoint, if it’s worth the investment.
Tim Reed: With concrete, usually if we have extra pieces, there’s a metal company that we work with all the time. And if they’re doing a counter or big reception desk and ask us if we can do a concrete top, and we said, well, we’ve got some pieces that you can cut up and use for that. And if he has stuff that’s extra, he calls me about it if we need it.
Randi Reed: I think one of the reasons we’re hindered from finding other avenues (in sustainability) is because Tim’s actual ability to bid the projects properly. So we don’t buy any excess material than we need. His quantities are pretty spot-on, and our concrete is a custom-mix design, and it’s measured based on quantities for the size of the table or size of the countertop. So a lot of times we don’t really end up with a lot of waste like a lot of companies will. Ours is more sustainable sustained waste. We’re trying to be sustainable even in our waste, and make sure that the quantities our proper and we don’t have a lot of material lying around.
Tim Reed: Even when we go to pick our lumber for a dining table or something, we handpick (the lumber). We go through their materials so we don’t just buy a bunch of it and then half of its garbage and then we just get rid of it. Per piece, we’re handpicking out everything we need.
Randi Reed: And quantities are very specific. We know the dimensions, he (Tim) knows how long specific boards are and how to quantify that for a specific table. And same thing with the mix design for concrete, it’s all specifically measured for that project to minimize (waste). I don’t know how much more we could be doing, in all honesty.
NNBW: HAUS OF REED HAS A REPUTATION FOR BEING VERY SUSTAINABLY CONSCIOUS. HOW MUCH PRIDE DO YOU BOTH TAKE IN THAT?
Randi Reed: I would say a lot — that’s important, you know? Especially in today’s day and age where we’re going back to the minimalism or everything’s trying to be sustainable, whether it’s with your food or with your shampoos — the no parabens and organic this, and no hormones — it’s almost the same thing. Where we can take a pretty organic material and turn it into this beautiful custom piece. Whether it’s a bar top or table or chair or wall tiles, whatever it is. I think that’s really important, and to be able to work with a material that’s so abundant, and know that you’re really creating zero waste. We’re taking the product, turning it into something, having zero waste, that’s a huge deal.
You look at just cooking sometimes. How some people will get rid of an onion top or a celery top … you can reuse them, you can put them in a stock, you can put them in a compost. And some many people are just so used to throwing them out, throwing them out. We don’t really have to. I would say that’s a huge factor for us and our business.
Tim Reed: Plus, the materials that we use are so nice. We’re doing this walnut table right now, and you have waste from that but it’s big chunks of walnut. It’s just a nice material, we don’t just throw it away, it’s a shame to just throw it away. So we always try to find some kind of use … whether somebody wants to buy it because their working on some little thing or (our employee) Daniel, he has a wood burning stove, so when it gets cold out he takes some of the hardwood fall-off that we have.
Randi Reed: It’s nice to spread it out in the community, too. Whatever waste we would have can be repurposed into really cool things. Rush’s school is having a really cool event in two weeks, their big fundraiser, and we built a table that we’re going to raffle off. And it was literally the scraps that we had laying around, and Tim can make miracles happen, and we just built a table. And hopefully it will raise a lot of money for the school. And we’re able to do things like that. Or for Rush’s birthday, he (Tim) built a custom cornhole set just from scraps here. It was neat that we were able to do that.
We have very little waste here and it’s very important for us to be able to have that type of company. To be able to manufacture and then have little waste … I mean, a lot of manufacturing companies have a lot waste, so the fact that we have very little is awesome.
I think a big selling point for us when you talk to people is the 90 percent of materials within two miles (of us). Especially in Nevada, people love that, because it’s almost 100-percent Nevada made. It goes to show, we try to support all of the local businesses that are trying to do the same thing and do the right thing. And hopefully their sustainability practices are falling on us and vice-a-versa.
“They are all prepared to be our future leaders and decision-makers and will see first-hand the complexities of a growing and industrious region,” says Chamber CEO Ann Silver.