Millions of Americans stuck at home during the pandemic found new hobbies to try out or tackled organizing an eyesore in their house.
“Summer was coming and we knew we were going to be home a lot, you know, not able to go out and stuff so what I did was right when COVID started, I just went and bought a bunch of lumber to build our own pool in the backyard,” said Mitchell Couch of Lemoore, Calif.
The father of four used his general skills and knowledge of tools to fill his time at home during the pandemic with woodworking projects and do-it-yourself masterpieces. Couch even started his own TikTok channel goodlyearth, and has amassed such a following that he was highlighted on several national TV broadcasts.
“We've actually found that there's 10s of millions of U.S. households that are ready, willing and able to do it themselves when it comes to furniture,” said Elton Rivas, co-founder and co-CEO of Semi Exact, a made-to-order company that manufactures legs for furniture people can use for DIY projects.
“The ability for us to take raw material, bring it into our facility, turn it into a finished component, and have our customers really do that last mile of making means we don't have the same inventory constraints and challenges a lot of finished goods suppliers do,” Rivas said.
With many people working from home and learning happening at home for many students, Semi Exact saw sales of desk legs and dining table legs go through the roof.
Many home improvement stores found it even more difficult to stay on top of inventory and consumer demand. Home Depot's sales soared during 2020, growing by $22 billion dollars over fiscal 2019, and has continued the momentum into 2021 with first quarter sales growing more than 32%.
“In our experience, after first-time DIYers finish a project, we see many of them take on additional, and oftentimes more complex, projects with a renewed sense of confidence,” said Sara Gorman, senior director of corporate communications for Home Depot.
The start-up cost of tools and materials for DIY projects has not deterred customers from entering the space. Rivas recommends every at-home enthusiast to invest in a good hand saw, hammer, cordless drill, and sander.
“It may actually end up being more money to make it yourself than to purchase and ship it, but the fundamental premise is that it just means more when you make it yourself,” Rivas said.