Tell us about the founder of Dakota Timber Company. What is their background?
Seth Carlson founded Dakota Timber Company in 2013 and serves as company President. In his role, Carlson oversees the manufacturing, operations, and retail distribution of Dakota Timber Company’s products. Dakota Timber Company is a full-scale wood manufacturing plant that utilizes sustainably sourced wood to manufacture a variety of Made in America wood products.
How did they come up with the idea?
Carlson grew up in a small town in North Dakota and was raised by “tree-hugger” parents who encouraged him to spend most of his free time outdoors. His dad volunteered as City Forester and Carlson quickly learned how to plant and care for trees alongside his dad and older brother. It was during this time that he also developed a passion for sustainability and for finding creative ways to support environmental causes.
Following his graduation from Central Cass High School in Casselton, ND, Carlson attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and received a BFA in Acting. While developing his acting skills Seth enjoyed working in the scene shop where he would build sets for plays and performances. His experience building sets and solving problems behind the scenes would directly inform his career as an entrepreneur.
After college – fresh with his knowledge of manufacturing – he started building and selling platform beds. Just a few years later he transitioned into the reclaimed wood business.
In 2013, Dakota Timber Co. was founded by Carlson after an opportunity to purchase lumber inventory from a reclaimed wood company that was going out of business arose. He quickly noticed a large demand for high-quality, American-made products which led to investing in machinery, equipment, and personnel to start processing old wood into usable and saleable material.
What began as a post-college side hustle has now expanded into a full-scale, sustainable wood manufacturing plant. Dakota Timber Co. operates several dry kilns, a sawmill, ripsaw line, planing line, resaw, automated sanders, automated table glue-up stations, chop saw stations, boring stations, advanced finishing department, material handling equipment and so much more. All of this equipment runs daily and produces an enormous volume of finished products ready for homes and businesses.
In 2021, Dakota Timber Company processed over half a million board feet of regionally sourced lumber which is equivalent to around two million pounds of wood. One of the most unique aspects of Dakota Timber Company is the constant evolution of products they develop to stay ahead of ever-changing design trends. Carlson works diligently to develop new products that will meet and exceed design and construction needs in a creative and sustainable way. Some of the most popular products include fireplace mantels, floating shelves, shiplap, and a variety of furniture and home goods.
Carlson recently self-contracted and constructed a small sustainable home for his family using a variety of Dakota Timber Co. products including exterior siding, beam work, construction lumber, interior paneling, trim work, barn doors, and more. He resides in his new “eco-home” with his wife Ashley and their two children, Alden and Etta, in Moorhead, Minnesota. He loves being creative with his family, exploring nature and striving to learn something new every day.
How can this transform the world or our day-to-day lives? / What problem does this solve?
When I founded the company, my main objective was to disrupt the commodity wood manufacturing industry by infusing recycled/sustainable woods into the market at a high enough volume to see an actual impact. At the time, it felt like I was very alone in the sustainable wood world, but thanks to nationwide support, we have seen this alt/sustainable branch of wood manufacturers blow up and expand all over the country. This movement involves many different types of “sustainable” woods. Some manufacturers are dedicated to Barnwood, others urban salvaged woods, while others are utilizing plantation-grown sources–and there are so many more I cannot even fit in this response. But the industry is growing, and I love it!
Today, I see our company mission shifting from strictly producing sustainable wood products to more of a focus on utilizing local supply chains, manufacturing in-house, and committing to 100% American Made wood products.
Really the transformation of our day-to-day lives starts with the “American Made” or “Local” movement. As consumers continue to experience frustrations when shopping at their typical big box stores and major retailers–much of it is due to an incredibly broken system that began almost 40 years ago in which most major manufacturers of consumer goods were sent overseas. We now see firsthand what happens when this system breaks: product shortages, supply chain issues, hyperinflation, corrupt distribution chains, delays and so much more.
Dakota Timber is not the first company to proclaim itself as 100% American Made. We proudly join hands with the thousands of small businesses nationwide that make it their mission to produce goods on American soil. I think the main difference between our company and many others right now is our commitment to focus on a very tight, and immediate regional supply chain that allows for fast supply flow and simple logistics. When we couple this incredibly efficient flow of supplies with our objective to utilize sustainably sourced wood, manufacture in-house, and sell direct-to-consumer; that is when we set ourselves apart. Deleting the middleman while committing to sustainability gives our customers guaranteed access to competitive prices, high-quality goods, and a sense of pride in knowing they are building a stronger American economy.
What do customers love most about the product?
Customers love that Dakota Timber Company’s products are unique, one-of-a-kind as well as American-made.
Where can people get this product?
Online at dakotatimberco.com