Destination Duluth

Photo from https://www.exploreminnesota.com/profile/visit-duluth/2064

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say again how much I love my great city.  Duluth is filled with so many great opportunities that make living here truly special. Summer is a truly magical time, so I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the great draws if you’re thinking about making the trip up to the great North Shore.

The artisan community is ever growing and thriving here.  The majority of the products we sell in our store are made by local artists who share a love for this area, which inspires their work.  Our store represents  local hand crafted and painted pottery, such as Burdock Ceramics.  We also have watercolor, block prints, and acrylic paintings and prints, from artists like S.J. Nielsen, Tin Cup Design, Shawna Gilmore, and more.  Various wood crafts beyond our own mosaics include handmade cribbage boards from North Country craft.  We even have the most beautiful hand crafted wood kazoos!  There are many other stores in the area manufacturing their products locally, such as Frost River and Duluth Pack, both making amazing handcrafted packs, bags and other items from canvas and leather.

If the food and beverage experience is top on your list, our city is sprinkled throughout with local delectables.  I love the local food trucks that perch on street corners and squares, especially in the summer.  Some of the most satisfying eats come from these gems on wheels. 

Eateries like The Rambler, with their filling sandwiches and eclectic world fare.  The Chow Haul puts a twist on all your favorite dishes.  If vegan is your delight, look for the blue bus of Mama Roots.  They cook with whole, fresh ingredients from scratch.  And when you have a hankering for ice cream, look for King Of Creams.  These are just a few of many awesome options.  There’s even a live map site, Roaming Hunger, that will show you some of their current locations.

Speaking of food, I love that Duluth is filled with many Breweries and Restaurants that are homegrown and one of a kind!  The list is endless, but I’ll hit on some of our favorites:  The Duluth Grill has amazing dishes, cooked with local and organic ingredients.  For meat lovers, check out OMC Smokehouse.  If you have a hankering for some good pizza, make sure to check out Bulldog Pizza, a local favorite.  For some great places for ice cream treats, check out Love Creamery, Portland Malt Shoppe, and Crank and Dasher.  If you’re drawn by a good home brew, you can pretty much find a local brewery in every part of the city.  There is Fitger’s Brewhouse and Restaurant  Downtown.  Canal Park is the home to Canal Park Brewery, Hoops Brewing, and Vikre Distillery.  Several breweries find their home in west Duluth, close to our store.  For Beer, there is Bent Paddle and Ursa Minor Brewing.  If cider is your thing, there is Duluth Cider and Wild State Cider.  This list is just hitting a few!

There are many local events in Duluth that make a great excuse for scheduling a trip up to our great Zenith City.  As it is with many cities, Covid has put a damper on some of them, but we still have quite a few events to look forward to.  Our most well-known mass garage sale is the one on Park Point.  This year, the Park Point garage sales will be happening on Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12.  This long standing tradition takes place on the longest freshwater sandbar in the world! Just one week after that, Grandma’s Marathon will be taking place, with events happening June 17-19.  People from all over the country come to participate in the full and half marathon, which follows along breathtaking views of Lake Superior.  With this being the 45th Anniversary of Grandma’s, there will be a free, all day celebration on Saturday, June 19th, open to all ages down at Bayfront Park.  There will be five local bands taking the stage.

Another fun and free event that takes place every Wednesday evening in July and August is Concerts On The Pier at the Glensheen Mansion.  You can drive in and park, or you can even pull your boat or kayak up by the pier and listen from the water.  It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful outside grounds of the Glensheen Mansion, while taking in live music and enjoying beverages, locally made ice cream, and food truck cuisine.

The arts and crafts event scene is picking back up this summer, with the Park Point Art Fair on Saturday, June 26, and Art in Bayfront Park happening Friday through Sunday, August 20-22.  More and more events seem to be popping up with health guidelines and regulations loosening, as covid remains under control.  There are many great websites you can visit where you can see a calendar of local events.  Some of these are perfectdayduluth.com, visitduluth.com, and canalpark.com.

One of my favorite parts of Duluth is the vast array of activities that the landscape offers here on the North Shore and in the city of Duluth.  We have some of the state and region’s best parks and trail systems.  Our Lakewalk has been beautifully rebuilt, better than ever, after being severely damaged by rising storm waters.  Both paved and with a boardwalk, you can enjoy the beauty of Lake Superior by foot, bike, scooter, skateboard… you name it!  Take a dip to cool off in several spots, grab a bite to eat, enjoy a locally brewed beverage, or homemade ice cream, all within reach.  This is a fun place to take in the sites and enjoy the great diversity of Duluth. 

We also boast many other bike trails to suit your style.  The Munger runs through West Duluth and extends 70 miles to Hinkley MN.  The Gitchi-Gami Trail is currently over 30 miles of trails between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. 

There are too many mountain bike trails to count!  Duluth has made it a great priority to continue to invest in this athletic activity that submerses you in nature.  The main trail system that extends through the entire city is the Duluth Traverse.  You can catch many other trails as well, such as the ones in Hartley Park, Lester Park, Mission Creek, Piedmont Brewer, Pokegama, and Spirit Mtn.  You can get more information on these trail systems through the COGGS website at coggs.com.  These trails are also great for hiking, and there are many areas that will lead you to parts of the Superior Hiking Trail System.

There is so much more I could tell you about our great city, but here is just a dip into all that Duluth has to offer.  Make sure to check out our Airbnb calendar for our current openings to round out your stay.

Artist Highlight with local watercolor artist Sam J. Nielsen

I wanted to take a moment to highlight a fellow local artist in Duluth MN.  I have enjoyed the different ways we have been able to come together as artists and collaborate on projects, including our latest collaborations of our Mosaic Pins and Stickers.  We enjoyed sharing our stories with one another, discovering many similarities in our journeys along the way.

Sam started out as a music education major, pursuing that for three years.  Since the 5th grade, she always thought that music would be a big part of her career.  It wasn’t till later in college that she started to question her direction.  Having no real formal experience with art, she decided to take a painting class.  After she dipped her toes into that world, she ended up switching schools and changing majors to art education.

Her decision to  head in the education direction felt like a safe option, as she was still exploring her interest and talent as an artist.  She started her career as an art teacher for an alternative high school in MN.  After two years of teaching, trying to juggle that full time job, while also investing time into her personal art, she knew she needed to make some decisions in the direction her career was headed.  She chose to embrace a full time investment in her art, and has been a working artist for three years.

Jumping into art full time, though uncertain, felt like a load off Sam’s shoulders.  Leaving the students from her teaching job was hard, but leaving a classroom setting felt liberating.  It didn’t take long for her to find her groove, which helped her know she was doing the right thing.

Now working from home, with a toddler in tow, there is the realization that in order to make it all work, it is important for her to prioritize the projects she is most excited about, keeping those as her focus.  She has found a way to be fulfilled through intentional decision making, sticking with the projects she is passionate about.  With everything there is a season, and Sam adjusts her schedule by balancing family time and work time.

It’s so fun to see some of the similarities that Sam and I have in our journey as working artists.  I started my career as a teacher as well.  I was an elementary education teacher, with a minor in music.  After I worked as a teacher for a few years, I became a stay at home mom for many years.  My creative outlet as my kids were young was through music, writing songs.  It was a great medium for me to immerse myself in, while raising four kids in my midst.  Both Sam and I felt called to the city of Duluth, along with our spouses, and have made this great city our home.

Once my children were all in school, I took a job as the music director at a local church.  I worked in this position for almost 8 years before making the decision to make a living through doing the things I love to do.  It started out as a multifaceted venture, through music, building, and writing.  Eventually, what rose to the surface and really took off was the building.  I started out building furniture, which evolved into the mosaics that we do now.

Venturing into the art world and coming to the realization that it can be a viable way to create an income is quite an amazing moment.  For me, it was the first time I started making a profit at a local arts and crafts show.  For Sam, it was starting to share her art on social media, and experiencing the positive responses from people.  As she started to share more and more, she began to get inquiries for purchasing her art, which led to her career as a full time artist.  She started small with an etsy shop, and things grew over time.

One of the early artistic decisions Sam made in the beginning of her career was the commitment to share one sketch a day on instagram for an entire year.  It became one of the most pivotal points of her business, as a genuine longing to get better and grow as an artist.  It has given her a tangible thing to look back on as she progresses in her art.  Choosing to see the process from the perspective of an onlooker helps motivate and inspire her.

Sam has enjoyed the journey and where it has taken her.  Currently, it has been the process of her art that has brought her joy, especially after the fog of becoming a mom.

As her priorities have shifted, she has realized the importance of making room for time to embrace the creative process, so that it doesn’t always feel like work. The start of creating Collections of art  was a real concrete way for her to provide herself focus, and also the freedom to express her art in the way she desires.  Her faith is also important to her and helps guide her, helping her find meaning in what she does, while creating intentionality.

For me, a breath of fresh air and new inspiration was the introduction of my Modern Mosaics.  It was such a needed shift in my creative space, to re explore the medium I work with and take it to a new level.  As innovation being one of my strengths, I thrive when I’m trying new things, while also giving myself boundaries to push the creative process.  The great part about taking the risk to diversify your art is that you end up expanding and diversifying your audience and clientele at the same time.

One of the great opportunities while being involved and making connections within your artist community, is the opportunity to collaborate.  Sam and I have been able to collaborate several times, with our latest being our enamel mosaic pins and vinyl stickers.  Sam worked through the creative process of making her own pin collection of her work.  They are so beautiful and unique, and gave me the idea to collaborate with her in the creation of pins designed after some of our favorite mosaic pieces. 

They are so mind blowing, and so cute in person.  It’s so fun to see how someone can take your work and manipulate it into something different and beautiful in a new form.  Our new installment of stickers from Sam are so fun, and we are thrilled to share those with you as well.  You can find them for purchase both in our local shop and online.

I had a great conversation with Sam that you can check out on our Instagram TV. Also, make sure to check out her beautiful work on her Instagram @sj_nielsen.

Funeral Home Finds

What we Have Found in the Walls and Ceilings so Far!

It’s been really fun going through, what we have coined, our Funeral Home Finds!  Most of the items have been uncovered during the demolition of interior walls.  We have filled up an entire box of peculiar items.  When we first took over the building, we had discovered many left behind objects used for the business of funeral homes, and many of those were a bit creepy.  Some of the oddity behind these new items, is the fact that they were, for some reason, buried within walls or in the rafters.  This has made our renovation process quite fun, wondering what we might find next.

When we purchased and renovated the old Texaco gas station, which houses our Gallery, Store, and Airbnb, Nathanael coined the phrase, “What once fueled cars, now fuels the arts.”  And this phrase has stuck, because it’s so true!  Our new building was originally two homes that were attached together and added onto to create the funeral home.  Nathanael thinks the slogan for the Collective should be… “We’re putting the home back in funeral home.”  -I don’t get it.  He tried to explain it to me, but it still doesn’t make sense!

Isaac pulling old newspaper articles from the ceiling.

Many of the walls that we have gutted were part of the very original buildings that got walled over.  We love the story behind things, and Nathanael especially loves finding items that capture a time period.  Many of these items take you back to the early 1900’s, which is pretty neat.  Behind the wall of the old bathroom, we found the paper packaging for an original Edison light bulb.  We also discovered an old newspaper article from 1931, with an ad for the all new and improved, automatic clothes washer, with a drawing of the model.  In the ceiling we found old linoleum dating from that era as well. In the ceiling of the basement, we discovered a stainless steel dish, with surgical type instruments inside.  -That definitely hit the creepy meter, and we did a live instagram on that, which you can find on our page @annabaileyart.

Many different glass bottles were found, and  a few could still be traced to their origins.   One such bottle was an old whisky bottle, with it’s packaging still intact.  An old glass medicine bottle from the old Mesabe Dispensary, with the medication label attached was found, and pill boxes from that same era.  We found a prescription pill box, made of just a little cardboard box, dated November of 1929. Even old tins of balm, with balm still inside, were discovered.  The worst of the finds were old black and white snapshots of scantily clad women in the ceiling, which we’re guessing were probably meant to be hidden!

There were some items that we couldn’t even figure out what they were used for.  One such item was a peculiar, cylindrical metal piece with a lid that comes off.  It looks like it may have been a cigarette holder, but we’re not sure.  There were even decades old cough drops, still in their sleeve, and I dared Nathanael to try one!  -So of course he did!  Gross!  It was crunchy, yet cough drop like!

These finds were fun, because they dated back before the funeral home came to be, and were left in the walls when the two homes were adjoined to create the funeral home business.  The curious, inquisitive part of us that appreciates the nostalgia of it all, enjoys the discovery of these finds as a perk to the dirty process of turning something old into something new.  As we transform this building into its new purpose as the Bailey Builds Collective, we can’t help but appreciate the history in the journey.

Check out our recorded chats about all the funeral home finds on our instagram tv, on our page @annabaileyart. Be sure to check out all of the photos of our team and their finds below!

Morgan with a “Straight Kentucky Whiskey” glass bottle.
Matt with an old matchbox.
Isaac with a box of matches. He picked it because it was “lit”
Cass with a mystery item. We have a hunch it’s a cigarette holder.

These finds were fun, because they dated back before the funeral home came to be, and were left in the walls when the two homes were adjoined to create the funeral home business.  The curious, inquisitive part of us that appreciates the nostalgia of it all, enjoys the discovery of these finds as a perk to the dirty process of turning something old into something new.  As we transform this building into its new purpose as the Bailey Builds Collective, we can’t help but appreciate the history in the journey.

Keri with a bag of toe tags. Nathanael with a stainless steel dish with surgical type instruments inside. Alex with a Fitger’s GingerAle bottle cap. Check out our recorded chats about all the funeral home finds on our instagram tv, on our page @annabaileyart.

Discover the Duluth Maker’s Loft

A Hidden Gem in West Duluth

Nestled above our current brick and mortar store on Grand Ave. is what we call The Makers Loft.  It is our cozy little oasis, available to rent through Airbnb.  People come for vacation and business trips.  They come for the abundance of local hiking and bike trails, as well as for our local breweries and artisan goods.

When we first purchased the old Texaco gas station for our workshop on the corner of 58th and Grand, we knew at first glance that the apartment above it could transform into the perfect getaway spot for those looking for a private place to stay, in the westside downtown district of our great Zenith City, Duluth MN.  Inspired by this beautiful transformation, Nathanael coined the quote: “Gas station turned arts haven. What once fueled cars, now fuels the local arts culture.”

We have a unique and charming stay for those who both love to create a one-of-a-kind getaway, and love to support the local artisan culture that is vibrant in the Twin Ports.  The Bailey Builds Makers Loft is furnished with some of our favorite local artists.  Not only can you enjoy being surrounded by hand picked art, but you can also purchase the pieces that you like!  We have made it so easy to purchase beautiful local art, all from the comfort of your room.  Cozy up with a blanket in front of our electric fireplace, and let your eyes do the shopping.  And for more choices, head down to our store below you, stocked with a vast array of local and regional artisan goods, and a strong collection of our Bailey Builds mosaic art as well.  Though our store will be moving just down the road this summer, the gallery below will still be filled with the many wood mosaic styles that have shaped the image of Bailey Builds.  And this space is also available as a venue for events of all kinds.

We have many great artisans represented in the Makers Loft.  There are handcrafted pottery and indulgent, hand poured candles, as well as beautiful journals and glass blown magnets.  Along with our mosaics and mossy loves, we also have beautiful watercolor and acrylic artists represented in our space.  One of our featured local artists is known around the country and other parts of the world for her whimsical and multi-dimensional acrylic paintings.  You can spot Shawna Gilmore’s work quickly, as she playfully intertwines nature and people to create another world that yearns to be both explored and thoughtfully analysed for personal introspection.  Her fairytale esque work appeals to a vast array of people of all ages.  And her quirky and smart humor ties it all together with her perfect titles and captions.  This is just one example of what makes up your truly exceptional experience when you stay at our Bailey Builds Makers Loft.

It has been a privilege to see people coming from all over the country, and have chosen to stay in our airbnb.  In the foyer of our space we have created a memory board for our guests to sign and share their experiences.  We have loved hearing about what others have to say of their time in our Duluth’s Makers Loft.  Here are just a few examples of our reviews online:

“Thank you for a wonderful stay full of warmth, character, style, and genuine care!”

McKenna, April 2021

“This loft was such a charming and cozy place to stay! It was beautifully decorated and arranged perfectly. We felt at home immediately! Such a wonderful experience, would definitely visit again!”

Andrea, February 2021

“We loved this place! It was the perfect weekend getaway. The place was cozy and fully equipped with everything we needed. The decor was very tasteful and I love that it was mostly all local art. We would most definitely stay here again!”

Hannah, February 2021

“Great place to get away from the cities to enjoy some one on one time! With all the great places that have opened up in West Duluth this place is close by those small businesses to support. Loved all the detail in the loft and the options to purchase the art. The personal touches were great and made you feel like you are welcomed.”

Melissa, February 2021

“Spectacular space, this is a gorgeous loft with magnificent hosts! When I first stumbled upon this listing, it seemed almost too good to be true. There must be a catch! But everything was as perfect as it seemed, even better. A & N are the most thoughtful, gracious hosts. Their artwork is phenomenal. Although the weather may have been cold, the hospitality couldn’t be warmer. Thank you for sharing this extraordinary loft and making me feel right at home, I highly highly recommend staying here.”

Elizabeth, January 2021

“This was such a lovely place to stay in Duluth for Christmas weekend. The space is comfortable, safe, and decorated thoughtfully. We were hesitant to stay away from home 

during COVID but the loft was clearly deep cleaned and caused no reason for concern. Would recommend it to anyone!”

Leen, December 2020

If you would like more information about our unique and inviting space, check us out on Airbnb under: The Duluth Maker’s Loft, Duluth MN.  If you would like more information about renting our Gallery space for your next event, residing in the same building as our Loft, email us at gallery@baileybuilds.com.

Facing Hardship as Ultimate Optimists and Advice For Others

“Finding Fire” podcast recap Part 3

Bailey Builds is a group of people passionate about art and community, inspiring community through art.  We make mosaics out of new and reclaimed wood.  We have a storefront, a website, a blog.  We own a couple buildings, including an Airbnb and an Event space.  Our newest building is the funeral home that we are transforming into the Bailey Builds Collective, housing our workshop, future store, and artist collective. We have more dreams on the horizon.

As Entrepreneurs, we’ve had our share of hurdles.

Hardships can be expected along the way as entrepreneurs.  It’s just not something you can totally escape.  A universal hardship can often be in the category of finance when you’re trying to run a business.  It’s hard to be an entrepreneur, filled with all the ideas you have and want to pursue, but not have the finances to back them up.  There’s so much opportunity out there, but you have to decide which opportunities are right for your business.  You want to pick and choose, making sure you aren’t diluting your business to the point that it doesn’t line up with your vision and goals.  We’ve had to  deal with many decisions on direction and investment along the way.

As ultimate optimists, it’s hard to see dead ends.  We usually can find the gold or silver lining in every hardship.  We’ll hit a wall with construction or a plan that we’re headed towards, and we look for ways to innovate when things aren’t working.  A perfect example is the funeral home purchase.  We saw that the building had a pending sale, and we still felt like we should pursue it.  And we own the funeral home turned Bailey Builds Collective now.

Every roadblock or hardship that comes  is an opportunity to grow and innovate.  I believe that innovation is one of the strengths of our business.  In 2020, during the pandemic, our business grew.  It’s hard sharing that, as so many businesses faced so much hardship.  We were blessed to be able to use our strengths in innovation, which allowed us to grow.  Our ability to innovate is fueled by our faith.  We believe that whatever we do, if we’re doing it with the right intentions, that it will work out.  We’ve always believed this, and we started our marriage with this perspective.  We know that Bailey Builds is not the ultimate for us.  If it fails, we believe another door will open.  We’re always willing to move forward to the next thing.  If we don’t take risks, we lose the opportunity to learn things along the way.

If Nathanael and I had to claim a “Super Power” for each of us, here’s what we came up with:  Nathanael said that mine is my big ideas.  Once he said that, I realized that was definitely true.  I have big ideas for our business, and I’m not afraid to move into them.  I believe Nathanael’s “Super Power” is attention to detail.  I have these  amazing, creative, innovative ideas, and Nathanael takes them and makes them perfect.  We make a great pair, working together in all the stages of production, from concept to final product.

If we could give advice to others who are on the edge of pursuing their passion, the question we would ask you to think about is, “What’s your why?”  If your “why” is on point, that is what your motivation is always going to go back to.  To be honest, if your “why” is about you and what you’re going to gain and what a difference you’re going to make, then it’s probably not going to work out. Maybe I’m wrong, but I know that it wouldn’t work for me.  If my motivation was me, then it would be a travesty.  It would be a disaster.  So, figure out what your “why” is, make sure it’s on point, make sure you’re headed in the right direction, and then trust it with your gut and move forward.  For Nathanael, it’s making sure you have a community of friends and like minded people  that you can rely on and lean on, living out the “one hand forward, one hand back” mentality.

Find someone that you can follow along that’s a little bit ahead of you and has knowledge and experience that you can glean off of.  Likewise, invest in people that are starting off a little behind where you are at.  Having the right motivation and a good community of support are two important elements in a good foundation for your business.

If you’d like to learn more about the flavor of Bailey Builds, take a peak around our website, and visit us on our Bailey Builds Facebook and on instagram @annabaileyart.  If you’d like to listen to our podcast with “Finding Fire” in their episode titled: Faith, Passion and Entrepreneurship With Bailey Builds,” which aired on April 12, 2021, check it out here:

Simple Tips For Your Home Refresh

Let the Spring Cleaning Commence

The invigorating air of Spring is upon us, and that always invokes the urge to purge!  This is a great time of year to freshen up your home, and make it feel new again.  We have simple ideas to change things up, and make you fall in love with your space once again.


Sometimes it’s hard to know where to even start! It can be a daunting task, looking around in your home and wondering which room to have at it! A good tip is to take a look around you, and see if there are items that need to be put away in their spaces. Maybe you also have some outdated things displayed in your focal points that need to be put away for the season. If you still have Old Saint Nick sitting on the mantle, it’s time for him to head to the North Pole for a few months!

Also, look for areas that become cluttered due to busyness. I can’t tell you how many spots I find a stack of junk mail, mismatched socks, or change from my pocket. If you have kids, make it a team effort! I know that sometimes it’s just easier to do it ourselves, but make a game or incentive out of it! A trip out for ice cream, after a job well done can be just the bonus your people we’ll work hard for! And let’s be real, a little incentive for ourselves does wonders! After all, clearing the clutter makes room for the new!

If any of you are like me, I tend to freeze at the sight of the job ahead of me. I have found there are a couple ways to go about it. Either, you take it room by room and complete all the steps, or you go through your entire space and complete a single step at a time. The latter may work better for those of us without young kids. Perhaps, the accomplishment of a single room will spur us on to continue. I think it’s a personal take on what works best and is most fulfilling for you! I tend to change things up based on my mood that day, or the severity of the mess that I find myself in! One thing I’ve learned the long way, is that if I don’t get down to the root of the organization problems, any tidying up I do doesn’t last very long. If you find you have spaces like this, such as your entryway, maybe it’s time to reconsider your storage needs.

The Fun Part: Refresh!

Now that you’ve finished the hard stuff, sit back and relax with your favorite latte and reimagine your space a little! I’m not talking about big, expensive changes. I’m talking about the little things that make you smile. With all that clean surface area, cleared and tidy, take note of the spots in your space that your eyes are drawn to. These are the areas to add a splash of something new.  

Something that I have realized brings me joy throughout the day is fresh flowers. Every time I pass by and see that beautiful splash of color, I smile and take a deep breath, at least on the inside. So every couple weeks, I set aside a few bucks to buy a cheap bouquet when I’m out running errands. I keep a few sprigs on the dining room table, as well as in my bedroom. Whether I’m running around getting dinner ready, or settling in for the night, I am personally refreshed by their presence in my space.

Deep Clean:

Once you get the decluttering out of the way, the next step is a good cleaning! Though not always the most fun task, it most always proves to be rewarding. I like to start with the areas that make the biggest impact! A big one for me, is the windows! It doesn’t take long for those picture windows facing the road to be slobbered up by my excited pups, keeping track of the neighborhood. I never realize how filthy they really are, until they are sparkling clear! This one thing changes my outlook on that space so much. Another area of great impact is the flooring and upholstery! I recently purchased one of those small upholstery and area rug cleaners. After three years with our couch, my family of kids and pets have taken quite a toll on it. I cannot tell you how equally amazed and horrified I was at the chocolate milk like water that seemed to endlessly release from the fabric! I feel like I have a brand new couch! This is a sure way to fall in love with your space all over again!

Another simple yet effective way to change things up is by replacing your old pillows and throws with new ones.  Playing with new colors, textures, and patterns can make a profound impact on making your space feel new and fresh. And speaking of texture, mingling different textures together is a great way to add interest to your space. A simple, thought out arrangement for your table is a perfect example. I love the way the soft and colorful, multi-textured flowers come together with the clean lines of a vase, while being grounded by another contrasting yet complementary texture of a table runner or earthy trivet.

I hope these tips or reminders give way to some inspiration for changing things up in your space!  We have a lot of great Bailey Builds items in our shop and online to liven things up.  Our freestanding minis from our “Modern Mosaic” collection are a great compliment to counters, shelving, mantels, desks, etc.  We also have created coasters and planter boxes that add texture and interest.  Stop by our storefront, Bailey Builds and Friends, or shop online.  Here’s to a happy home refresh!

Dreams, Motivation, and Entrepreneurship

“Finding Fire” podcast recap Part 2

Living Our Dream:

Moving out of the safe zone of “this is what I know” and moving into the wild unknown is scary, but ultimately so rewarding.  I think people often stay put because the reality of providing for our families and maintaining our lifestyle can make us feel stuck.  Nathanael and I are so glad we took the plunge to fulfill this new calling on our life.

We love what we do now.   Nathanael always wanted to have his own business.  He even had the fleeting idea of owning his own junkyard!  When he was thirteen, he started his own lawn mowing business in his neighborhood.  When we were newly married, Nathanael said he wanted to get into the business of rental properties, and I hated the idea!  I had no desire to raise our young kids and live in a duplex next to complete strangers, and be home all day with them.  There was nothing in me that ever wanted a small business, even as I later started one!  I think the reason was because I never really understood what entrepreneurship was.

It’s so crazy to look back, not wanting any part of owning a business, to starting my own business, and now how far we’ve come in the last five and a half years.  Even Nathanael’s dream of owning properties has come to fruition.  We’re living our dream, and are able to do it together, side by side.  Two of our kids work with us, and we have an amazing group of team members.  We go into work, and we feel surrounded by friends.  Nathanael always has dreams about more real estate, but right now our focus is the renovation of our funeral home turned Bailey Builds Collective.  Dreaming big and taking risks has brought us to where we are right now.

Our Motivation:

When asked why we do what we do, my “why” is I love my city.  I know that may sound like a strange answer.  Even though we didn’t grow up here, we fell in love with this place during our college years at UMD, and chose to stay and make this city our home.   My motivation is rooted in having a deep devotion and commitment to Duluth, it’s people, the businesses, and the natural beauty.  There are just so many wonderful things about Duluth.  I want to have a business that makes a good impact, and bring attention to what a great city this is.

Nathanael and I love the arts community in Duluth.  They are some of the most genuine, thoughtful people that we have ever met.  Artists all have their unique personalities, and we have yet to meet an artist that isn’t amazing.  Why wouldn’t we be compelled to get behind this group of people?  We believe in the importance of community.  Even as a newcomer into this industry, I felt encouraged every step of the way.  Through art and craft shows, social media, and personal interaction, the community support in Duluth has meant the world, and has been one of the biggest sources of encouragement and motivation.  With that being said, our goal is to be able to give back to this community.

Understanding Entrepreneurship:

I didn’t realize that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, until I realized what entrepreneurship was.  I am a strong leader, and in the past that has been a struggle for me in certain jobs and situations, if I haven’t been the one making the decisions.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to connect the dots in realizing that, as an entrepreneur, I get to make all the decisions.  I get to decide where the ship goes, how to steer it, and what ideas to cast to the side.  I own it, drive it, move it.

I also felt like small business owners worked all the time, and I didn’t want to do that.  Now, as business owners, we do work a lot; but we love it, because we love what we do.  Of course, there are days when the 9-5 job looks appealing.  We think about our business all the time, but that is a part of being a small business owner.  The trade off for us is that we feel fulfilled in what we do.  We work a lot of hours, but we also get to leave early when we want to, and plan around our family’s schedule.  We can take family vacations when we want to.  For example, we woke up one Sunday morning and decided to take a family trip to Florida.  Our family literally packed up and was on the road in a couple hours!  -This is what entrepreneurship can afford you.

In Part 3 of our podcast recap with “Finding Fire,” we’ll be talking about dealing with hardships along the way, and how being ultimate optimists has gotten us through.  If you’d like to listen to our podcast with “Finding Fire” in their episode titled: Faith, Passion and Entrepreneurship With Bailey Builds,” which aired on April 12, 2021.

A Leap Of Faith: The Inception of Bailey Builds

“Finding Fire” podcast recap Part 1

The start of a new beginning for me, was when I chose to quit what had been my dream job, when I realized it wasn’t a good fit for me anymore.  The feeling I had when I realized I was no longer where I needed to be, was that of devastation.  I had really thought my position as a worship leader at our church at the time was going to be what I was supposed to do for the rest of my life.  If the certainty of the realization that chapter was closing had not been so clearly apparent, I would have never stepped out to pursue this amazing opportunity of our business, to support local artists, dream big, and make an impact in our community.  It felt devastating in that beginning moment, but looking back I am so grateful.

At the age of 38, I walked away from the job I had for almost 6 years.  I knew I didn’t want to go back to working as a teacher, which is what I went to school for.  So, after contemplating what I was going to do for the rest of my life, I woke up one night and it became very clear to me: I was supposed to do what I love to do, and I needed to pour my whole self into it.  I make a lot of my decisions off of faith, and I knew that this was a divine intervention to redirect my life.  I knew that I was supposed to be intentional about it, and to share the experiences of my journey with others.  I knew that social media was a great tool for entrepreneurs, and would be an important platform for me to share my journey, and be authentic along the way.  I knew I didn’t  have to have it all together.  I just needed to be real.

As I began to take steps to walk out, in faith, this new declaration for my life, I started writing a blog.  I also wrote a lot of music, and started performing around town.  And I also loved building things, so I began building a lot of furniture out in our garage.  The furniture turned into a lot of scrap wood, and the scrap wood turned into mosaics, and the mosaics turned into the Bailey Builds of Duluth, MN.

Nathanael also had a great job of 15 years at a local Auto Body Shop.  He loved working there, and it was a great way to support our family, as I was mostly at home, raising our kids.  His job allowed me to start my own business, without needing to worry about the income for our family.  Starting out, I was making maybe $5 an hour with all the time I put into my work.  Even though it was a small amount of income coming in, it all helped, being I was putting quite a lot of hours in working out of our garage, between caring for the kids and home.  

When things really started kicking into gear, and the business started growing, I looked at Nathanael and playfully proposed to him his two options.  -That I either find a strong, young, fit guy to help me in the garage… OR he could join me!  … And, of course he joined me!  And that’s when Nathanael decided to join me full time, in the summer of 2016.  It was a real leap of faith for him, because his job was integral to supporting our family.  Yet, we knew it was the right time to start working together as a team, and build on what I had begun with the business; and we haven’t looked back!  The two of us together are way better than working on my own.

We actually thought in the beginning that we would continue working out of our garage, which was a 25’X25’ work space.  Yet, we simultaneously had all of our family stuff in there, along with tools, and bikes, etc.  It didn’t take long for us to realize that continuing to build our business out of the garage was not going to work out.  We also realized quickly that we had different work habits.  I work best in chaos, and Nathanael likes things neat and orderly.  We both agreed that we needed space to spread out and do things our own way.   This is when the real growth of our business began, when we purchased our first building as our workshop, which has now become our Duluth Makers Loft, Store, and Gallery.

Come back for Part 2, as we talk about our dream, why we do what we do, and our understanding of entrepreneurship.  And, if you’d like to listen to our podcast with “Finding Fire” in their episode titled: Faith, Passion and Entrepreneurship With Bailey Builds,” which aired on April 12, 2021.

Meet The Jericho Collection

“….It’s about perseverance.  It’s about the journey.  It’s about being faithful when no one is watching, and being faithful when everyone is watching.”

Our new Jericho Collection came about in the moment.  I had been thinking about how to morph the modern mosaics into the bluffs.  I have also been enjoying that people are liking the phases of the moon in our modern pieces.  -So, I set out to incorporate the phases of the moon and the modern bluffs.   I wasn’t completely thrilled with my first prototypes.  I loved the modern feel of it, with the addition of the moons.  I loved the combination, but it wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be.  It wasn’t until Nathanael tried a new technique on them, by spraying on the ombre technique with wood stain.  Once we had the moons on and sprayed the ombre, it literally popped off the page and came to life.  It felt really unique and different from anything else.

We knew there was something special about this collection, and so we wanted to take good thought into what we should name it.  The overall response we were getting about it from our team was that it invoked feeling, and we wanted the name to resonate with that. So as I was doing some searching online, I found the name “Jericho,” which is the name of an old city in Israel, and is Hebrew for “city of the moons.”  We knew immediately that this was the name!

We love when our work comes together in such an effortless way; where our team works together in this really organic way that is not forced, and we knew that this was happening with this collection.  It was evolving into this deeper meaning, and we wanted to give it time to really reveal itself.  We originally planned on launching “Jericho” earlier to our email subscribers, but we decided we wanted to give it more time to simmer a little bit, because of the depth of meaning that it holds.  When we’re making collections, we always try to come up with a description to go with it.  And when I first posted it on instagram, the description came to me so quickly.  When this happens for me, I just know that I am on to something.  Nothing about this collection has felt forced.  Everything has felt natural and organic.

One of the first things that I thought of when I looked at these new pieces was perseverance.  A lot of people right now, including ourselves, have had to face perseverance this year.  -With COVID, with social injustice, and with other personal struggles.  Whether we want to or not, we have to push ourselves to keep going.

Another theme in these pieces that resonates even more clearly with us is the concept of the journey.  Even with this collection, it has been a journey to get where we are with it now.  It’s also about the journey of our lives, learning along the way.  -And it’s not necessarily always about the destination.  It’s about being faithful when no one is watching, and when everyone is watching.

There is something to be said about being consistent and faithful and authentic to who you are and your beliefs when no one is watching; but also when you’re being faithful when everyone is watching.  And I’ve even asked the question of which is harder: when no one is watching or when everyone is watching?  I thought about it in reference to this journey we’ve had with our business.  I have had such a heart for the artist community, even before I was an artist.  When I was home with the kids 12 years ago, I wanted to do something tangible for the arts community, and to be invested in them.  Now, when “everyone” is watching, I’m thankful that I’m still invested in this vision.

This collection really holds something dear to our hearts, and to our whole team.  We’ve never had a meeting with our entire team where there was this unanimous connection with the art.  The Jericho Collection really brought us together in this way.  We didn’t have to say anything about the artwork, and yet it moved everyone in a personal way… and that is the beauty of art.  

With our Jericho Collection, we are trying something we’ve never done before.  We are giving everyone the opportunity to preorder a piece.  So often, with our launches, our collections sell out before everyone who wants has the opportunity to purchase one.  With wanting to share the message and the art behind this collection, we want everyone to have the chance to get a piece.  So we are trying out the preorder model, keeping it  open for two weeks.  We want to give you the opportunity to see the pieces in our social pages, and have the time to decide which would be best for your space.

Another new and fun thing we’re adding to this collection launch is some accessories that are actually free with our preorder purchases.  The larger pieces will include a trucker hat with our in-house designed Jericho patch across the front of it.  The smaller piece will include a Jericho patch that has self-adhesive.  If this collection really speaks to you, you’ll be able to enjoy it’s meaning beyond your wall art.  These will be included in the same shipment as your Jericho piece.

Our hope is that the message behind the Jericho Collection will encourage you and inspire you to press on and be faithful and persevere on your journey.  We hope you come along as we continue to share our heart behind Jericho.  Presales launch Thursday April 8, at 7 pm.  Once this collection sells out, these styles may not be available again.