David Ellison is in the business of storytelling, though not in the traditional sense.
Ellison and his team of craftsmen and craftswomen make tables, but not the Formica, one-size-fits-all type. Lorimer Studios — a business housed in a historic mill on Manton Avenue in Providence — prides itself on its unique, custom-built creations. No two tables are ever the same.
The handcrafted tables can be found gracing homes and businesses throughout the state and beyond, each one telling (and creating) a story of its own.
“For many customers, a table represents more than just a piece of furniture,” he says. “It’s where people sit around, and it’s where a family sort of builds history together.”
On its website, Lorimer Studios highlights a variety of table styles in its portfolio, including but not limited to farm tables, live edge tables, and industrial tables.
Ellison always had a fascination with antique, handmade furniture, which ultimately led him to start the Lorimer Studios about 10 years ago. When potential buyers approach Lorimer for a table, the interaction begins with a one-on-one conversation with the customer, listening to their wants and needs. From there, Ellison and his team guide the customer with their expertise, sometimes even sending progress pictures along the way, ensuring the customer is happy.
“It fills my day, and I don’t mean fills it with work,” says Ellison. “It makes the day exciting. If you really put that effort into the product, you get it back — from a business perspective, but also on a human level.”
Customer service has always been an important part of the workshop. In fact, when he first started out, Ellison’s plan was to always share a glass of wine with the customer upon delivering their table. But, he says, that lasted for about 30 days because demand was booming.
When Lorimer Studios was first approached to be part of the Made on Honor series, Ellison didn’t know what to expect, but describes it as an exciting experience. “I think [Cox Communications and Narragansett Beer] managed to capture the essence of our business, and I think it came across beautifully — a bunch of creative people making, I think, extraordinary tables.”
Ellison is beginning to see even more support from the community after participating in the Made on Honor series.
“Aside from what I think, the business exposure is really wonderful, and so many people have reached out to us on social media, and it was just a fun process.”
For Ellison, Made on Honor speaks to quality.
“And quality in the broader sense — quality in a piece, in the materials,” he says. “But it also speaks to the relationship with the customer — the customer service side of it. These are custom tables. We should be representing the inspiration that customers have. So I think quality, in that sense, is the ‘honor’ part. We’re committing to something that’s unique, that represents the quality of the product. Customers should feel like they’re getting something that’s unique, and the performance of the piece should last for as long as they want it to last.”