Brian way started his entrepreneurial journey in the trades at just 15 years old. His early ventures focused on carpentry, but soon he found himself specializing in foam…specifically the templates used to organize tools, cut from CNC machines. From creating a lane for himself in carpentry to going bankrupt and the rebound that brought him to where he is today, don’t miss this exciting dive into how Brian found immense success in a very niche category.
Brian Way never intended to build a career out of foam inserts. A lifelong entrepreneur, Brian first started his career in the trades at 14 building a carpentry business. By 16, he was managing his first book, a client filtered through his dad’s painting business.
By 18, he had found a niche for himself in custom woodworking, and carpentry and within a few years he was running a 10,000 square foot facility, with over a dozen staffed employees.
Things took a turn in 2006. With an impending economic crash, and clients holding out on payments, Brian soon found himself bankrupt and back at square one.
Within the next year, Brian sold every asset, collected a small crew, and built out two box trucks geared for residential and commercial millwork installation. For Brian, this was a huge turning point. Going from a huge facility to running a workshop from his truck, was no small feat. Over the next 10 years, he dialed in the art of maximizing his work space.
One of the key products Brian utilized to create systems of efficiency? Foam. Buying sheets of foam, and cutting out space for his tools became a huge factor in his day-day work management. Not only that, but others started to notice as well. “…everyone that saw the stuff always had something to say…they were enamored with what we were doing….”
This was yet another major turning point for Brian as he not only found a system for himself, but realized what he was doing might be a need for others. A short while later, he purchased a CNC cutting machine (a programmed saw) and began cutting foam templates of his tools to sell online. “…they’d sell. they were doing really well on e-bay for a while, and it got to the point where I couldn’t really keep up…”
Still working his day-job installing millwork, Brian would come home to work more just to keep this side hustle alive. Soon, the workload was extending past that and Brian was hiring a full-time worker just to manage the orders coming in. “…he said to me, you know Brian, I think you’re standing in front of a freight train and you need to get out of it’s way.”
6 months had passed since Brian first put the products online and he began to realize that things were getting out of control. It was at this time that Brian made the leap and brought what is today known as Kaizen Inserts into existence. The business has grown immensely since it’s humble beginnings as a side-hustle from Brian’s garage. With over 92k followers on Instagram, there is still room to grow, but Brian has big plans for what’s next.
Tune into to hear Brian’s full story. Where he is going, and all the insights he’s offering along the way.