Doorman furniture brand creator Alex Geriner started out building small custom pieces from reclaimed wood in the backyard of his Uptown apartment as a side hustle – but working with wood and metal soon blossomed into big business.
The Slidell native is quick to point out that he didn’t study design or woodworking before creating Doorman.
“It was all a fluke, it was not planned,” Geriner said. “I had this really cool apartment Uptown, and I had all this kind of crummy furniture from my dorm room back in college, and it didn’t work very well in there, so I took a stab at making a bed for myself.”
Pretty soon, Geriner’s then co-workers at Peter Mayer began requesting custom pieces. Once he opened a page on Etsy, Geriner said his furniture-making life really took off, eventually leading to the creation of Doorman.
Just like Geriner, most of the team of woodworkers, welders, and fabricators he has assembled didn’t necessarily set out to build furniture for a living.
“My team is pretty amazing,” he said. “I try to hire people that are, frankly, smarter than myself. Pretty early on I realized that I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t have a whole lot of training, and that I didn’t need to be the smartest person in the room.”
That collaborative and open working environment has led to the development of some award-winning pieces, including the Josephine Bed and the Amelia Dining Table.
“Our product line now is ‘Southern made modern,’” Geriner said. “It’s Southern furniture, but it’s made in New Orleans, and it’s made to fit today’s modern home.”
The popular pieces can all be traced back to the countless hours Geriner spent tinkering around in his yard years ago, with the personalities of the designers, fabricators and the city they all live in shining through each design.
Initially, Geriner used only repurposed wood he collected as the city rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, but after 10 years, he decided to make the switch to new materials. The Crescent City remains a key source of inspiration.
“New Orleans is at the helm of all of our inspirations,” he said. “I took elements of Southern design, of furniture that I grew up with at my Grandmother’s house in Mississippi, or pieces that were passed down throughout my family, and also combined it with little tidbits of architectural details that I’ve admired and picked up on living in New Orleans.”