Dennis Blanco is a 2010 UNC alum and co-founder of a furniture business with Bryce Williamson, a fellow 2010 UNC alum as well. Their business, Cardinal Workshop, began in New York and is being relocated to Hillsborough. Writer Samantha Yi interviewed Blanco about his business and the reasons for moving back to NC.
The Daily Tar Heel: How do you and Bryce divide up the responsibilities of running a business?
Dennis Blanco: My focus is on the business and brand side of our business. I mean, I studied at Kenan-Flagler as an undergrad. I studied business. So I handle most of the marketing, operations, customer service and general business strategies stuff. And Bryce is the project and manufacturing side of the business so his focus is on product design, our production process and all of the stuff that entails. But we kind of both share in the responsibilities of general business strategy, finances and things like that.
DTH: Where did you guys get the idea for Cardinal Workshop?
DB: I had been working at a men’s clothing company called Bonobos. It’s like a men’s apparel startup, an e-commerce startup. And Bryce had been doing custom woodworking and advanced manufacturing in the city for custom clients, working out of his own shop. And maybe, about five or six years after we graduated from college, Bryce started prototyping some furniture designs just as a side project. And we eventually decided to work on it as a collaborative project and over time, we gradually came into this idea that we currently have now which is that we should design really high-quality solid wood furniture that is designed to be really easy for people to receive and to move.