Many gun owners face a dilemma.
They know that they are capable of defending their home if they ever have to.
But since most gun owners live in households with children, they have to keep their weapons locked away in a safe that’s located probably down in the basement or in a back room. This means that, despite their ability to use their weapon, they know they probably won’t have easy enough access to it when they need it the most.
Enter Dan Ingram and his online company, New Jersey Concealment Furniture. The company supplies various types of furniture with built-in locked compartments for guns, valuables and anything else a homeowner would like to keep out of the way and out of sight.
Ingram, who lives in the Garden State, is a confirmed gun owner and carpenter by trade. His personal interest often takes him to online bulletin boards dedicated to handguns. It’s there he first heard grumblings about the growing issue of accessibility.
“[People on the online forums] didn’t want to keep their handgun under their pillow or locked up where they can’t get it when they need it,” Ingram told Small Business Trends in a recent interview.
“They were saying that they want their gun accessible but that they have kids in the house. What is the solution? It would take me too long to run down to the basement and open a safe if I need it,” he added.
So, Ingram, who has practiced his trade for about 20 years, went into his shop. At the time he owned a small local furniture business that generated most of its clients via word-of-mouth. And there he got to work, building a nightstand with a simple gun compartment.
“We stuck it online with a few vendors and it really sold well,” he said.
Thinking he was on to something, Ingram next constructed a coffee table that also offered a concealment compartment. But this time he shot a video of himself to show how the table worked.
He posted the video and was surprised to notice that, within two hours, it had garnered around 30,000 views. NJ Concealment Furniture was born.
In November 2013, Ingram launched his website.
“Our goal is to provide security for personal belongings while still allowing easy access,” he said. “We aim to hide your valuables in plain sight but where only you know they are there. Options include locks, lighting and many choices in color or style. Every piece is handmade in the USA and can be custom made to order.”
He added, “Now you can own beautiful furniture that serves an even greater purpose. All of our products are hand crafted using only quality hardwoods and hardwood plywood.”
The online retailer offers a range of furniture items featuring locked concealment compartments. The product array includes coffee tables, nightstands, flag cases, wall clocks, coat racks, corner hutches, blanket chests and end tables.
Items are available in a spectrum of colors, including variations of cherry, as well as espresso, dark walnut and caramel. (See here for the full palette.)
A variety of lock mechanisms are also available, ranging from a wireless keypad lock to a simple mechanical combo lock. (See the full range of locks, including videos, here.)
People can conceal anything they’d like in this furniture. Ingram has one client who keeps his valuable coin collection safely stashed away in a piece. But it seems gun owners are the primary audience.
Ingram says he ships a lot of product to Midwestern states, as well as Texas, Georgia and Mississippi — states where there is a strong gun culture.
He also does significant business with law enforcement personnel.
In addition to his website, Ingram has built a thriving Facebook presence for his online concern. At this writing it’s gotten around 209,000 likes.
Ingram said many of his customers review his products on the Facebook page, which is really the only place he’s ever advertised New Jersey Concealment Furniture. (He has an Instagram presence as well but Facebook is clearly his focus.)
As of last year, Ingram finished up serving customers for his previous traditional furniture shop. He is now focusing on his website, where the prices range from $25 to $3,000.
As for growth plans, Ingram said he has some ideas but that “we really have our hands full right now.”
Ingram’s story is a great example of how identifying an under served niche can open whole new markets for your business. They can even lead to creating a whole new business in the process.
Images: NJ Concealment Furniture