Alberta Custom Furniture Builder is One of World’s Most-Followed Woodworkers
The term ‘influencer’ can have a lot of stigma surrounding it. Many people assume that social media influencers are online micro-celebrities promoting products, ads, or themselves (and they wouldn’t be that far off). However, there are thousands of different types of social media leaders and some are even from the wood industry. Dusty Mitchell, the owner of Alberta-based woodshop, The Dusty Lumber Co., has amassed millions of views on his Tik Tok, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook accounts over the years. His most popular video attracted over 189 million views. In fact, Global News referred to Mitchell as “one of the world’s most-followed woodworkers on social media”.
“I would say (in) about the last three years, that’s when I transitioned from barn wood distributor/furniture builder to full time content creator and it’s a lot of fun!” Mitchell stated. His online videos show Mitchell spending time building barn wood planks and wood home decor products. Mitchell surely gives his followers what they want with his expertise in woodworking, but he does not stop there. He consistently monitors the analytics for each of his social media pages to find the most effective way to share his content with his followers and gain new followers as well.
A Southern Alberta Woodworking Revelation
Mitchell was given silver and gold play buttons from Youtube which are awarded to popular Youtube creators and their channels. After this happened, Facebook and Youtube also developed an interest in Mitchell and hired Mitchell to work with their research departments. “That’s been extremely fascinating to me, that you can be from some small town in southern Alberta and work with some of the biggest tech companies on earth,” he said.
Going strong since 2015, Dusty Lumber Co. tackles the majority of barn demolitions on their own, the team then mills, cleans and creates furniture out of the reclaimed wood they find. He always had the desire to clean up old barn wood to salvage, re-use and sell. Since the company’s formation, the business has doubled its equipment and production line and found great success in the e-commerce world. Mitchell is a self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur”, committing his time to his furniture sales and social media presence.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Dusty Lumber Co. “I didn’t really take much of a break for two years missing Christmases and a few birthdays. I had a vision and put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, some very cold days,” Mitchell said. Yet, he forged ahead and looks back on those days with great pride. After attending several trade shows early on in his career and receiving great feedback from customers, he chose to promote his business further, online. Mitchell quickly became enamoured with the social side of his business.“The social media side of it was just an experiment. Initially, I thought I would do what my dad did and go out and handshake people, drive around and go to trade shows and develop my network. We largely do not go to those anymore. They are significantly less effective than a well-run social media network and campaign,” said Mitchell. “A Facebook or Instagram marketing campaign, I can spend as little as I want or as much as I want and completely manage it by itself. If I feel it’s not going well, I just cancel the campaign. Social media is just so much more dynamic. That side of marketing is exciting.”
In addition to keeping his social media followers up to date with details and new designs from his Southern Alberta custom woodworking shop, Mitchell has a woodworking blog on his website for those interested to learn more about the custom furniture he makes, his manufacturing processes, and the machinery he uses. The Dusty Lumber Co. has 3.2 million followers on TikTok, almost 800,000 on Instagram, 1.7 million YouTube subscribers, and 2.6 million on Facebook. If you combine all followers across each of his social media platforms, Mitchell has over eight million followers.
“If you are passionate about something and you have a cell phone and you have an internet connection, you can convert your passion into a job on social media that is very rewarding. Really, it’s available to anybody as long as you are dedicated and consistent with it,” Mitchell concluded.
Ellie King is the Editor of Wood Industry / Le monde du bois magazine and weekly E-digest. She has years of experience in B2B writing and editing and is empowered by the opportunity to share the marvels, pitfalls and weekly news of Canada’s secondary wood industry with our readers.