What pulled you from the business world to carpentry? I was living a lie. And by lie I don’t mean I had a second family stashed away in another state, or that I was a school teacher by day and world famous Meth-maker at night. It doesn’t have to be that drastic. It can be that you’re waking up in the morning, kissing your wife and kids goodbye, and setting out to do something that you know in your heart you never wanted to do. That was me. I never wanted to be a salesman. Ever. I had even tried it before with copy machines years before and it lasted for 3 months and I knew I never wanted to do it again. Yet I found myself in Houston as a salesman. And although I worked for a great company I was still waking up everyday thinking how I could convince people to like me…and at a best a version of me I didn’t even like. After digging deep into my soul with a mentor over the course of a couple years, I knew I had to let go. I was the only one who could make the change I desired. If being me meant we didn’t have a lot of money and that life was going to be less predictable…I was all in, because I was tired of living a lie.
Was your dad a carpenter? No, but my Grandad, Verner H. Martin, was! He built colonial style homes all around GA for the last 40-50 years of his life. He sent me $1250 when I was 25 and I bought my first tools which ended up being the same tools with which I built our company Harp Design Co.
What made you decide to go out on your own and do your own thing? I grew up hiking in the mountains of GA and NC. Since I was a kid I have never liked trails. I have always jumped off the trail as soon I could because I love to explore. I wanted to find out what was over there, under there, up that hill, around that corner. No trails!!
What gave you the guts to do this? I didn’t have guts. I was scared out of my mind. I was just dumb enough to try. And I also have the most amazing teammate in my wife Kelly, and with her I feel like we can conquer anything.
Did you have a huge amount of savings so you knew you could do it safely or did you just do it? Depends on what you consider huge. We had enough in savings to last us approximately 4-6 months if I didn’t make any money at all selling furniture (which I didn’t!). But I couldn’t use any of that money for tools or wood or that timeframe would decrease quickly. We also had 20k in cash wrapped up in our house that we planned on using once we sold it. Due to the struggling housing market we got an offer that meant we would loose 15k of that 20K…but it was the only offer we received in months. We took it and walked away with 5k to pursue our dream.
What scares you? Dying in the middle of a lie. I’d rather fall flat on my face being exactly who I am and let everything else play out as it will.
What do you want people to remember about you? That with the life I was given, I went for it. And that I Loved, I Built, and I Ran.
What do you carry with you at all times? My phone, a knife, and my Saddleback bag of course!! And I always travel with running shoes.