Built: A Combination of Talent and Opportunity
Every successful business tells a story of a defining point, that twist of fate that changed things for the good...forever! The path Andrew Watson and his company Built have been on has been quite the journey. When the Tampa native opened his business in 2012 at the age of 26, he never imagined that a full-fledged custom furniture business would evolve from his love of woodworking; from what started as a childhood hobby of building things like treehouses and skateboard ramps.
By the time opportunity came knocking, (literally), Watson already had a couple of jobs sold, but after a only a few months he got his big break with Ulele Restaurant that is now an anchor in Tampa’s Riverwalk, one of the city’s hottest destinations. In a serendipitous encounter, two of the restaurant’s architects who happened to live near Built, stopped by one day and asked Watson to bid on building tables for the establishment. Behind the Ulele project was none other than Richard Gonzmart, 5th generation owner of the famed Columbia Restaurant, who agreed to meet Watson at his woodworking shop. Back then, Built had no employees, and Watson realized that in order to score a job with one of Tampa’s most prominent and influential businessmen, he had to do something clever to appear more established: “I had all my friends come to the shop and just turn machines on, carry materials around, sand stuff and sweep, so it looked like we had this fully operational shop, but it was really just me,” Watson sheepishly explains with a chuckle. While his friends pretended to keep the shop running, Watson got the chance to prove to Gonzmart that he had the creativity and expertise to take on the job.
Ironically, the Ulele project gave Watson the working capital he needed to hire real employees. With a growing staff, Watson feels better equipped to meet the burgeoning demand for his unique furniture.
Built now has clients like Steelbach in Tampa’s popular Armature Works, King State Coffee, and others in high traffic, public places which brings them greater visibility. Built also builds for interior designers’ clients and private individuals.
Built is still growing and has created their own product line which affords them the recognition and ability to conduct business all over the nation — perhaps even beyond one day — because they can ship their furniture anywhere but Watson is still very much focused on Tampa Bay, an area developing so quickly that it could keep Built busy for at least a few more years.
If you’d like to see more of Built visit their Profile in our Design + Build Directory and Photo Gallery.