Our DIY Hairpin Legs Story

“There’s a lot of meaning behind the things that people create with
our products.”
- Matt Jensen, Cofounder

Dear Maker,

Dear Maker,

DIY Hairpin Legs grew out of a desire to help people create their own custom furniture. In the early days, Matt was learning how to make hairpin legs using a borrowed welder and a $65 Harbor Freight hand bender. Meanwhile, Elton was figuring out how to sell them. As more people became interested, word got out, and we began shipping our hairpin legs across the U.S. and beyond.

As a maker, you know how ideas go. They’re hard to pull off. They’re elusive. You sweat the details, and stay up at night mulling them over. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you may even want to give up on them. But ultimately, there’s joy in the journey and in the outcomes.

In 2016, we set out to start a hairpin leg manufacturing company. We didn’t have the resources to make it happen, but we did have a community of people who shared our belief that anyone can build furniture with a little help. DIY Hairpin Legs is where it is today because of our supporters. Your story is our story.

We’re grateful for all of the support, and excited to have you with us on this journey.

Keep making,

Matt Jensen & Elton Rivas

Founders

Our first hairpin legs, made with a hand bender, a borrowed welder, and sheer willpower.

"The fearless leader charges forth, so that he may look the fool and that the troops may not follow in his mistakes." -Elton Rivas, Cofounder

Make It Meaningful

It all began with awful green carpet. Matt pulled it up and went to work crafting a DIY plywood floor. With the leftover strips, he fashioned a hairpin leg desk as an anniversary gift for his wife.

Working on various projects, he couldn’t seem to find the right hairpin legs. So he decided to make his own in his garage. The more he built and connected with other makers, the more he saw potential in a company that could offer various sizes and finishes. Could he be on to something?

“What’s a hairpin leg?”

Matt took the idea to his friend Elton, who shared Matt’s love for new ventures. As Matt talked about bending steel into V shapes and welding them onto metal plates, Elton tried to picture what a hairpin leg was. He didn’t know what they were and, admittedly, even thought them a little ugly at first. 

But he liked the idea of helping people create their own furniture. And he wanted to test a startup framework intended for software companies, to see if it would translate to steel. The two teamed up, and DIY Hairpin Legs was born.

From the backyard to the scrapyard

In 2016, things began to fall into place. Orders were trickling in, and DIY Hairpin Legs secured a small amount of capital to help get things started. Renting a 5,000-square-foot bay in the back of a metal scrapyard, Matt and Elton started building out their business and team. In many ways, it felt like, “We have customers now. We have employees now. How do we make this work?”

“It means more when you make it.” — Elton Rivas, Cofounder

Built to last

Fast forward to today, and it’s been a wild ride. From breaking the supply chain many times to scrambling to fill orders when a vendor went belly up, DIY Hairpin Legs has emerged better and stronger for it.

Today, we’re operating out of three main locations. We’re proud to help people pursue their passion, and turn their craft into careers.

Seattle, WA - Go-to-market team

Minden, NV - Production & fulfillment

Wausau, WI - Production & fulfillment

We’ve lived our lives by a simple question, one that has transcended to how we approach our work: “What is the loving thing to do?” 

To us, “loving” means genuine, authentic, direct, and respectful. It’s telling the truth, and building a culture of joy while forging lasting relationships. Loving is investing in quality products that are made to use over and over again. For us, it’s all about hard work, and how that work translates to adding meaning to people’s lives.

Raw steel hairpin legs, sorted by size, getting ready for powdercoating in Wausau, WI.

Looking back

2015 - Matt starts building hairpin legs in his garage.

2016 - Matt and Elton launch DIY Hairpin Legs.

2016 - Matt drives around Jacksonville, FL, and finds an empty bay in the back of a metal scrapyard. He negotiates a space, and DIY Hairpin Legs starts assembling a team.

2016 - Matt and Elton see the need to provide “all the sizes” for makers, and Matt creates a weld fixture for 4"-40" legs.

2017 - Outstripping capacity, DIY Hairpin Legs outsources manufacturing while also working on drop shipping for Home Depot and retail/wholesale programs.

2017 - Elton moves to Seattle, WA to set up the go-to-market team.

2018 - An architect friend of Matt's sends him a napkin sketch of a shelf bracket idea, and the hairpin shelf bracket is born.

2018 - As DIY Hairpin Legs’ manufacturing partner ceases operations, Matt and Elton scramble to stand up a new manufacturing program in Wausau, WI to fill hundreds of backlogged orders.

2020 - DIY Hairpin Legs brings manufacturing in-house and opens a facility in Minden, NV.

Elton & Matt at our production and fulfillment facility in Minden, NV