SCORE Bucks County Helps Local Woodworker Scale Business, Hire Staff

Lower Southampton business owner Andrew Barbaro
Image via SCORE Bucks County.
Andrew has sold more than 4,000 gates and barn doors, the signature item of his business, Lumber Lovin, with the help of SCORE Bucks County.

Andrew Barbaro was working a dead-end job as a property inspector when his wife asked him to create a cat and dog barrier from extra lumber. Little did he know that the project would change his career trajectory dramatically.

A former metal fabricator, Barbaro, of Philadelphia, had always loved building things. The gate he created was no exception. With encouragement from his wife, Jessica, Barbaro launched an Etsy shop and began selling gates, as well as other items made from wood.

“It immediately started selling,” he said. “I just said ‘yes’ to everything. I wanted the challenge.”

Seven years later, Andrew has sold more than 4,000 gates, in addition to barn doors, the signature item of his Feasterville-based business, Lumber Lovin.

After hustling with the woodworking side gig for a few years, Andrew was able to take it full-time about four years ago.

“It’s been a big rollercoaster,” he said. “Big drops lead to bigger ups.”

Calling his basement workshop his “lair of despair,” Andrew struggled early on to meet ever-increasing demands for new orders by himself. At times he had 75 to 85 orders in the cue. Hiring an employee was inevitable, but he was not sure how to go about it.

He sought advice from SCORE Bucks County. After working with his first mentor to determine how best to onboard employees, Andrew began mentoring in February with Yenting Liu.

“He’s helped me scale through different marketing strategies,” Andrew said of their work starting his website, as well as making headway on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. With the bulk of his orders coming from California and Texas, Andrew and Liu are working to find more local customers.

“I have enjoyed very much seeing him turn every discussion into real business experiments,” Liu said of Andrew. “While great ideas do matter, execution is the only way to success. Get hands dirty, learn from mistakes, fine-tune, and evolve. Just like how every Lumber Lovin product was made, Andrew also shows his craftmanship when growing this business.”

Andrew has come a long way since his wife’s coaxing to list his first product. He’s created barn doors for author and podcaster Jenna Kutcher, had his doors featured in multi-million-dollar homes in California and has doors in designers’ showhouses in Newtown. Andrew has added two full-time employees and hopes to add more with the upcoming launch of his website. 

“I try to always create a family-like dynamic here with my employees,” he said. It helps that his first employee, Chris Smith, is his brother-in-law. 

“He’s been a Godsend,” Andrew said of Smith. “He has the same mindset as me and is meticulous about how things are finished.”

In addition to pushing him to make the leap, Jessica has transitioned her full-time NICU nursing job to part-time to serve as Lumber Lovin’s secretary and chief financial officer. 

“My wife has been the rock on which this stands upon,” Andrew said. “She’s supported me 100 percent of the way.”

Similarly, SCORE Bucks County mentors are available throughout the life of a business to lend support and guidance. 

Learn more about stories like Barbaro’s at SCORE Bucks County.


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