Four Lights Tiny House Company

Jay Shafer contacted me recently about his new website and new houses he is introducing today. He sent me the following press release to share with you.

Jay Shafer will be unveiling what he calls his, “best tiny houses yet”, at fourlightshouses.com this Tuesday, December 11 at 9:00 am EST. Jay has resigned from his position at Tumbleweed Tiny Houses to form Four Lights Tiny House Company.

Marie Colvin

When asked why he split with the business he founded in 1999, Jay says, “For some of the same reasons I started designing, building and living in small houses in the first place – for more freedom and more manageability. The message and design philosophy I’d built my original company on had become harder and harder to maintain as the business grew from a one-man operation into what it is today.”

Four Lights will launch by offering Jay’s first-ever unabridged, hands-on building workshop, his plans for a tiny house village (slated for completion in 2015), and a 280 square foot house (including lofts). An additional house will be unveiled every month for the next five months. Jay’s designs for compact furnishings and his system for “design-it-yourself” tiny houses will be released thru fourlightshouses.com on January 31.

You can receive a schedule and reminders of these events by signing up at fourlightshouses.com when it officially launches this Tuesday.

4lights logo

Marmara Long Shot

new napolean

Orcas Bay

 

 

25 Comments Four Lights Tiny House Company

  1. DJ

    I don’t follow the story. Mr. Shafer just started a new Tiny House company for more “freedom”. This implies flexibility, wiggle room or elbow space away from his former Business Partner. And since he’s still designing and building Tiny Houses, this makes him a direct competitor to his original company Tumbleweeds.

    Most people who follow the movement were first exposed to Tiny Homes through Mr. Shafer. His customers bought plans from Tumbleweed in the past because of his designs and how he marketed these homes. That said, is this the end for Tumbleweeds?

    Reply
    1. laura

      That is an effect of capitalism. Some people prefer the start-up and entrepreneurship of a new company. Once the company is established they let someone else run the established one while they go start up another one. This is how business has worked (to my understanding at least) for ages. Sometimes people leave because they don’t like their partner, sometimes they don’t even have a business partner and they just leave because they want the adrenaline rush and pace of a new start-up. Starting up a new company also allows one to take an entirely different direction with an idea – which is sometimes easier and less competitive than it would be to make both ideas a part of one company, especially when a particular way of design and marketing is built into a company (pun intended). :)
      I doubt this will be the end of Tumbleweeds, tiny houses are a relatively brand new market with many niches to be filled. Jay will just be filling a new one whereas Tumbleweed will continue to fill the niche it always has until there is no more demand for them. :)

      Reply
      1. DJ

        Laura,

        Thanks for the explanation but if your theory is true, it doesn’t make any sense from a business perspective since both companies are after the same market. This would create redundancies and competition.

        If Jay Shafer had started a new company with an entirely new business plan and product, it would be tenable. But the new company is just a redressing of Tumbleweeds with slight modifications. This tells me the split from Tumbleweeds wasn’t entirely amicable.

        In the business world, companies merge to create hegemony over market share through economies of scale and bottom line efficiency. Two similar Tiny House companies targeting the same exact market isn’t plausible. If that’s the goal, it’s not a good use of resources and human capital

        Reply
        1. 2kids2cats

          DJ,

          As long as the market can sustain it, competition is good for both the consumer and the company. That is exactly how industries grow. In my industry I know of 4 companies that have formed in the past 5 years from employees or partners breaking off and starting a new company. All are in the same industry and all but one are doing very well. And we all still play together in the same sandbox. Sure there is competition for business, but again, it makes the companies stronger and is better for the customers.

          We can only speculate what Jay is up to, but considering the Tumbleweed website has a link to Jay’s new company there must not be too much animosity. I wish them both well.

          Reply
          1. DJ

            I guess it would depend on what Tumbleweeds has planned moving forward to compensate for Mr. Shafer’s defection. If they already have exciting new plans from a team of newly hired Architects, then competition would indeed enhance the market value of these companies. Those who fail to adapt to this changing environment will consequently get weeded out by consumer preference.

            If Tumbleweeds will simply sell old stock plans and offer regional work shops, then this could be problematic.

  2. Walt Barrett

    I just want to wish Jay all the best in his new venture. The housing industry is going to undergo many design, size, and material science changes in the coming years and I am sure that Jay is going to be right in the middle of it with his usual style, attention to detail, and quality.
    All the best Jay!

    Walt Barrett

    Reply
  3. Christina

    This is pretty big news in the tiny house world and I’m excited to see what happens in terms of pricing and especially with that tiny house community.

    Jay needs to hire teen builder Austin Hay to work at Four Lights.

    Reply
  4. alice h

    Oh man, crack me up! Calling the new tiny house community “Napoleon Complex” is brilliant! Ha! Made my day! Seriously though, some nice concepts over at Four Lights, really looking forward to the compact furnishings section.

    Reply
  5. Jay Shafer

    Well, these comments are certainly encouraging. Thank you. Broadly speaking, my defection is mostly due differences between what my ex-partner and I want to see in terms of the message and design philosophy we put out there and the way a business is run. I have a strong sense of what I want to achieve with a tiny house company, and it doesn’t match that of the new Tumbleweed. I hope there’s enough room in the market for all good work to prosper.

    Reply
  6. Michael D

    I love the Napoleon Complex idea as well!

    Jay, I think if it takes off you might want to consider franchising the concept along the lines of KOA Campgrounds but as an RV Park for tiny home owners. Set them up with some “transient” lots and people could travel from one complex to another throughout North America.

    I for one would seriously consider buying a Napoleon Complex franchise.

    Good Luck with the new venture!

    Reply
  7. Andy

    It is common for business partners to split and sometimes it is simply best for all. Creative people like Jay often need a ton of space to create their vision. I look forward to seeing the new designs as his business evolves. All is evolution, nothing remains the same, not even for a moment in time.

    Best of Luck, Andy

    Reply
  8. Abel Zyl Zimmerman

    Just a note about ‘changeup’. We seem to live in a world where people are so inundated with media, that something ‘new’ shines much brighter than something ‘familiar’.

    It is an honest (but odd) tactic, to keep creating new blogs, websites, and whole businesses… just to keep ‘plugging in’ people.

    I am not saying this is what Jay is doing, per se. Just responding to comments above.

    That being said, I am feeling very old fashioned and stubborn: and am probably going to stick with my business ’til I’m pushing daisies, Market share be damned.

    Reply
  9. Jeff

    Best wishes to this new project! I have been following your stuff for quite a while. Went from an old house of 1300 sf and now living in half that and continue to explore further simplification and smallness. I like the idea of a new approach of using the RV park model. I agree that we are in just the beginning of refashioning new arrangements of living suited to planetary needs. So models such as these are grist for the mill. Plus I also believe that beauty is as much of a requirement as small space and these plans have always done that for my taste. Congratulations on your new endeavor.

    Reply
  10. Sandra Allen

    I think Jay has a very nice mind and all that goes with it. His wife is pretty lucky!

    I too had to break with a couple of partners who I got on board and tried to take over. If the relationship can be saved, cool. If not, then I say KUDO’S Jay! You have every right to do with your designs (stellar btw)what you need to do.

    As for those who say there isn’t enough room for competition, I say look at how many fast food places there are? There’s not only room, but a need as well.

    I will follow your new company as faithfully as I did the old. Both have been and will be welcomed by us all.

    Congrats!!
    Sandi Allen

    Reply
  11. Christine Ferguson

    Sure there’s no harm in having more in the market. Makes for additional discussion and new directions. Best wishes to both. I’m in Spain where police have just started moving motor homes off parking zones to encourage them to move into camping parks (can be up to 45$ a night! or hotels. Mentality of Spanish administration is sadly lacking but it opens the door even more to what I, and some of your TH Blog readers clearly advocate – the lease or purchase of small scale sites(like the British CL sites – no more than 5 parking together) A global network would be an agreeable thing. I for one have space in my garden……have you? An Advocate from Anadlucia!

    Reply
  12. Shell

    The more on the market, the more attention and hopefully the more serious it’s all taken too. Our country needs to start thinking more simple, it’s going to save us. Best wishes to you, Jay. I will follow both sites for I find this all so facinating.

    Namaste

    Reply
  13. Staceyranae

    I was so excited and pationate about tiny houses when I lived in tx. I searched for the smallest property in the county. Me and family found what was called a camper lot. They are 50ft wide and 100ft from the rd. I some how convinced my very open minded Uncle to buy two lots . After explaining everything I knew about this tiny house movement (I had done lots of research….) he slowly came to love it as mich as I did! So this is what came of what we like to call magnolia walkup… @ bvtxweb.com_magnolia_walkup ….. I truly enjoyed helping him get this started. Although he has done all hard work, it was a pleasure to be a small part of it.

    Reply

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