How To Start a Custom Project – Our Top Tips

How To Start a Custom Project – Our Top Tips

Here at Hegi Design, each custom project tells a personal story and we’re very proud of that. Our ability to design and deliver a highly emotional piece to our customer makes us so happy, and combined with a high-quality finish, we’re ecstatic.

What we love about custom projects is that they provide us with a technical challenge. We love the idea of not knowing how to finish the project at the beginning—it’s boring to do the same thing over and over, right? For each of our projects, we aim to create pieces that are finished to the highest level of technical perfection and sophistication.

The most incredible feeling we ever felt was when we first hold our baby boss, Mia for the first time in our hands. The second-best feeling for us is closely followed by completing a project after working hard to perfect every element for our customer or client.


Many questions started to accrue about the top tips on how to start a custom project and how to approach it, so we thought we would give you our top tips from our own experience:

  1. Overcommunication: There is no such thing as overcommunicating. You should ask as many questions as possible of the client if you are unclear to avoid any misunderstanding and miscommunications on expectations. Confirm all your decisions with your client over and over until you’re both clear.
  2. Do your homework: Get quotes from professionals if you need to outsource part of your job if it seems like you may not be able to master it with your current skill set. Also, calculate the cost of materials and tools as well as estimate the time you may spend on the project doing it yourself. Finally, decide if its micro or macro risk to do it yourself. In our case, so far it has always been the best decision to complete our projects ourselves. Even though we messed up sometimes, it just helped us to improve and develop a new skillset. It can be challenging but it’s so rewarding as soon you complete the project.
  3. Look for a mentor: Find someone in your industry who could answer your questions if you get stuck and need help. We ask a lot of questions to Juri’s trainer back in Germany. Find someone who inspires you to keep going (we love Gary Vee). There might be a time when you think to yourself ‘ why I am doing this!’ and a mentor will help to keep you grounded and on track.
  4. The importance of gigs: You may have heard this a lot in our stories and me speaking about build gigs for your designs if there are multiple pieces— you will thank me later! You will reduce your workload to probably around 70%. We never prepared gigs and we always struggled as soon we received an order to remeasure and recalculate, so we ended up wasting a lot of time.
  5. Softwood Use: Use pine or other softwood timber just to build the first mock-up and then refine then after you perfect the piece. You will minimise costs when you start working on hardwood timber and already know all your steps.
  6. Time management: Plan your project out and do not overthink it—just make a start! The worse thing is thinking too much and doubting your skills. You will see you’ll always find a way to complete the piece once you start. It’s all about the small steps towards the finished piece. We’ll let you in on a little secret: we never know the HOW at the very start of our projects.
  7. Keep the customer happy: Keep the customer in the loop always by sending updates and photos. If you need to make changes in the design, let the customer know. And be clear about the delivery date so everyone can be on the same page.
  8. Request Deposit: We highly recommend requesting a deposit and using the money to buy materials. Another reason why you should request deposit is because you can hold the customer accountable and it will give you some security to complete the project. It would be a big financial risk starting a project without a deposit if the client pulls out.
  9. Minimise risk in self-funding: When you finish a project, use the money to reinvest in materials or tools. Earn money and invest again over and over until your workshop is set up.
  10. Have fun: If you don’t enjoy what you do, it’s time to look for another passion!

We hope this helped you along and we see you soon!

Nelli XOXO