I remember teasing Nathanael about the idea of quitting his job to work with me someday. Yet, the busier and busier my business became, the reality that I needed help became more apparent. The seed of that idea had been planted in Nathanael’s heart, and time caused that seed to grow into real opportunity.
Nathanael was working in a field that he loved for a company that offered a lot of security. The idea of leaving all that behind to build art in our garage seemed like a major risk. However, we were already risk takers back then, and Nathanael had always loved the idea of being an entrepreneur, owning his own business. This seemed like a natural opportunity to come alongside me and run with it!
We took the leap of faith and Nathanael quit his secure job of many years. Our joint office became the garage in our backyard, and we began to work out our rhythm. We soon realized that our process was quite different from one another. While I’m a bit all over the place, fully immersed in my creative moments, Nathanael thrives on order and organization. He kept his workspace tidy, while I had piles that made sense to me. Learning to work together to come up with the most efficient process was important. Nathanael built us each personal work benches that catered to our individual needs, and we learned to create harmony with one another in our approach.
With the need to stock up on any reclaimed lumber we could get our hands on, and the growing number of orders we were securing, we were fighting for space with the lawn mower, bicycles, and other home items infringing on our workspace. It was time for a new workspace. It was a daunting thought to invest in a workshop, but the opportunity to purchase the old Texaco gas station on the west side of our city was perfect timing. As risk takers, we took the plunge.
Buying the old Texaco building ushered in new opportunities to expand our business. Not only did we have an amazing workspace, but we were able to create more income by creating our Maker’s Loft Airbnb in the old apartment in the upper floor of the building, as well as rent out the front space until we were able to expand our business to include a storefront. With a lot of elbow grease and a large amount of fresh paint, Nathanael’s famous quote became a reality: “What once fueled cars, now fuels the arts.”
By the fall of 2018, I was sharing all my favorite workwear from Duluth Trading Company with my instagram family, as their clothing became my go-to wardrobe in the woodshop and beyond. We were running our woodshop, airbnb, and our own storefront Bailey Builds and Friends, and our business continued to grow. By summer of 2019, I had become a working model for Duluth Trading Company’s womens collection, which was such an honor and amazing experience! Yet, as our business continued to grow and our art production continued to expand, we began to feel those growing pains once again.
By the start of 2020, feeling cramped in our workshop, we decided to rent a warehouse building nearby as the answer to needing a larger production space. At this point, we had our sons working for us part time in the woodshop, as well as one of my best friends working for us part time as a writer, sketch artist, and with our Airbnb management. At this point, we were ready to commit to the next level of our team, by adding on a full time position that would focus on our marketing presence. I don’t think we knew at the time that this big decision would be the start of creating our amazing team of currently over 10 people!
All of us can relate to the hardship that the year 2020 brought, with the reality that the world was in the midst of a catastrophic health pandemic. The trickle down effect it had on families and small businesses was dramatic, and our economy is still trying to recover. Though these times became hard, and we struggled through business shutdowns and loss of sales, we pressed on and continued to pull from the deep well of our entrepreneurial spirit.
During a time in our country when businesses were shutting their doors for good, we stepped out on the ledge, in faith, and bought another building to expand our business and our vision for the future. Though the timing seemed risky, we purchased an old funeral home, just a couple blocks away from our storefront and workshop turned gallery space. In the end of July, 2020, we were handed the keys of our new building, with so many dreams in store for this new space.
We have loved sharing the journey of Bailey Builds with you this month. Next week, we’ll share about this last epic year and the fun we still have in store through this holiday season. Thanks for following along!