Sometimes necessity or discomfort lead to innovation and creativity. Such was the case with Del Rioan Marco Fernandez.
Fernandez, 39, had spent 13 years at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, before leaving the U.S. Army in 2013. He landed back in Del Rio with not much to his name. He didn’t even have a bed frame to sleep on, only a mattress on the cold floor.
Not entirely satisfied with this sleeping arrangement he felt some type of action was needed to alleviate his comfort woes.
Why not construct a bed frame? So, Fernandez set out to learn how to do it.
“I didn’t have anything…and my bed was on the floor at my house and one day I just got curious and made a little bed frame I guess you could call it to put my bed on and it all started there,” he explained.
A mechanic by trade, hand aptitude was natural to him so the undertaking of a wood frame was not a stretch at all.
After the successful completion of the frame, the former Apache helicopter crew chief rid himself of uncomfortable nights.
The self-taught Fernandez continued crafting wood furniture constructing pieces for his place including an entertainment center and kitchen table.
Amid all this creativity, a seed was planted. He decided to build wood furniture and offer it to the Del Rio public. He called his venture M Squared Projects.
At first, it was a hobby but about a year ago he decided to make it a full-time endeavor. However, his commerce model is atypical but it works nicely for him: Raffles.
Interested parties purchase a ticket at a set price for a particular raffle. Once the raffle closes the number is selected on Raffle.org.
“Wood is expensive and so is electricity, so I figured the only way I could get paid enough to keep this as a hobby was to raffle my things,” Fernandez said.
He comes out with one piece almost monthly, the furniture items taking anywhere from 3-10 days to complete. He posts photos of the finished project on Facebook and then a raffle commences. People are also welcome to come to his workshop and examine it in person.
Fernandez won’t paint anything until it is raffled off to the winner.
“I’ll let them choose the colors they want me to paint it…so it can be specifically for them…The last table I made the guy had his own brand so I branded the head of the table with his brand,” he said.
His next customized table will have the U.S. Marine Corps emblem on top of it.
However, Fernandez is expanding his method of earning income. He recently began selling to customers directly.
“I just started with raffles and it’s just starting now, maybe February, where it’s picking up a little bit,” he commented.
He just finished a kitchen table raffle for a girl afflicted with leukemia. (Kitchen tables seem to be the most popular piece.) All of the raffle proceeds went to the girl.
Though he would like to acquire additional customers, he doesn’t plan ahead for what could be next. It’s literally day-to-day for Fernandez. Creating and constructing a form of therapy for him.
“I just pray a lot. I tell God to guide me wherever He wants me,” he said. “So I don’t plan anything it just happens. It’s beautiful.”