Making it in Montreal: An interview with the founder of Hayes Nulman Design

Hayes Nulman Design is a Montreal-based furniture design and fabrication studio, founded by Hayes Nulman in 2013. Bringing together both metalwork and woodwork, with a special interest in materials sourced locally from Quebec, Nulman is a rising star in the custom furniture industry.

RE!: How did you begin designing and fabricating furniture?

H: I don’t really design furniture, per se. I design the fabrication techniques behind the furniture, I typically get the designs from a designer – at least in my business. But when did I start wanting to do this? I was probably fourteen when I first designed and built stuff for my own house, mainly for personal use. And then I knew I wanted to study this in college, so I went to school for it and started my company, especially after having a failed outing at a larger company.

RE!: You spent time working in Williamsburg, NY, and Idaho. What were those experiences like?

H: It was fun. It’s always nice to get out of your comfort zone and learn something new. In terms of my time in Idaho, it was spent studying with an artist and doing more metalwork. It was more “artsy” than what I currently do, but it was a good experience to get out of my shell.

RE!: What was the process of starting your own business, Hayes Nulman Design like, and what made you want to take that leap forward?

H: After working for a company for two and half years, I saw that I would end up plateauing in about six months. I asked my boss what would it take to run the company and he laughed at me, and it made think that I needed to start my own [company]. That being the case, I started off only going after residential markets in furniture, but then quickly realized that my love and passion for business was much stronger in the commercial market than it was in residential.

RE!: What has been the biggest challenge in starting your own business?

H: The biggest challenge was developing a client base, and then finding trustworthy and fine people to work with every day.

RE!: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone looking to start their own business?

H: In general, be prepared to be completely dedicated to something. So, 80+ hours a week, at the onset, and many sleepless nights. In [furniture fabrication], good luck. It’s a fun business, but very hard.

RE!: Where do you see Hayes Nulman Design going in the future?

H: Our next plans are to take on larger and larger projects. We want to start working with higher and larger brands and continuing to market towards those spaces and clients.

Check out Hayes Nulman Design at


By: Dana Sorkin

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