Michael Cran is a woodworker, artist, and entrepreneur. When he was in his 20s and still living in Canada, he visited his grandparents at their cabin where he first saw a boat that his uncle had made. After spending time around the boat, he decided that he was going to build his own boat someday. This inspired him to attend Kootenay School of the Arts in British Columbia and study wood products design and metal. Michael explains: “I have a need to make things. It is a grounding process for me.”
Once he was done taking classes, he was living in a small town in Canada without easy access to major cities or clients. He moved to the Bay Area for the opportunities. Once in the Bay Area, he worked for various people, producing other people’s designs. After a while, Michael was ready to open his own business. He founded Minkastudio in April 2014. “I wanted to work on my own schedule,” Michael says. He already had gathered valuable experience in the industry, and the Bay Area provided a large network of people he had worked with and for.
Michael can produce pretty much everything and anything that a client could imagine. He primarily works with high quality wood from local and sustainable saw mills. He creates furniture and sculptures. Michael explains: “It takes a different frame of mind to work on sculpture or furniture. My intuition primarily guides me for creating sculptures. But the precision and planning needed to create a well-built table satisfies a different aspect of my character.” There are different forms of creative freedoms in both facets of his work.
Since opening in 2014, he has worked with many clients, two of his more well-known clients are the University of California, Berkeley and Google. He produced the benches that are on the newly renovated Lower Sproul plaza at the UC campus. After that project, he was introduced to a project at Google that he was encouraged to bid on. The Google project lasted over a year, and he worked with wood that had once been on the Google campus to create benches and tables for the campus grounds.
Michael Cran found Main Street Launch after looking for financing through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The people he has worked with at Main Street have been great and truly care about his business. The loan has helped him during slower periods of the year. Michael’s advice for any entrepreneurs is: “Get books set up for growth immediately. Create a scalable system and plan ahead for 2-3 years in advance.”
Michael Cran is building a business with a strong foundation and many connections. His products are unique, and he explains: “I can build anything from a timber frame house to a tiny spoon.” Pictures of his work can be found on both http://www.minkastudio.com/ and http://www.michaelcran.com/.