We sat down with Josh and his wife, Briana, to learn more about Arrow Ridge Wood Design.
What is your profession?
Josh: So full-time, I’m a music pastor at a church here in town and then we started Arrow Ridge on the side and have been trying to grow that business – it’s always been a passion of mine. It’s been super – I don’t want to say successful because we still have a long way to go – but it’s definitely been one of those things that have really taken off and we love that we get to do it.
Can you share more insight into what you guys do at Arrow Ridge?
Josh: We actually tried starting it a few times and didn’t have a name for it, but I’ve always had a passion for woodworking. Long story short, I have a background in graphic design. I had my iPad and I just started designing these different wood art pieces... some call them mosaic pieces. But I ended up designing wall art that people could put above their beds or on their walls. Ever since we did that, that’s where it’s really taken off.
Briana: Yes, we’ve loved it; it’s been fun. It took off pretty quick, and so it was exciting to see his passion for the outdoors being brought to someone’s home. It’s fun to see. I’m his right-hand man. I do the marketing, I do the sales stuff, I do drop-offs/pick-ups – that’s what I love. I love getting to see people’s faces when they pick up the designs. He does all the design and all the woodworking itself but we’re teammates.
Why would you recommend a career in skilled trades?
Josh: Skills mean different things to different people. When I think of skilled trades, whether it’s woodworking, plumbing or welding – it’s getting your hands dirty in the mists of stuff. I don’t think there’s a lot of that these days. It’s a little more coding and touch screens – which is necessary! But it also could be dangerous because we don’t have new people coming up in skilled trades. A lot of times it gets underestimated as one of those ‘blue-collar jobs’ but really, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do in a skilled trade.
“The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do in a skilled trade.”
What advice do you have for students or individuals who may be considering pursuing skilled trades?
Josh: Speaking for myself personally, I am always failing – I’m never going to be good enough. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been creating a piece, and the wood just doesn’t cooperate. You just spent 12 hours building something and have to just throw it away. But it’s in those moments that you learn. It’s frustrating at times, but taking that frustration and saying, “Okay this is how it failed. This is how it didn’t work.” And using that to say, “This is how I can make it better.” It’s kind of like you get kicked down, you get back up kind of thing.
Also, if you have an idea, go do it! I think that’s the biggest thing. I had an idea for a long time and never really felt like I had the time. If you have a full-time job, do it on the side. But just start doing it. Don’t be afraid of it.
What’s your biggest career accomplishment to date?
Josh: We started Arrow Ridge a year ago. I had tried a couple different ideas and it wasn’t going the way we wanted it to. Then finally, one day I was sitting down, and I said, “I’m just going to create art pieces. I have a background in graphic design. I know how to use photoshop. I’m just going to create something crazy on the computer and then try to build it.” Once I did that, they were selling! More than I could handle at the time. That was probably the biggest accomplishment – we failed so many times but it paid off for this one moment.
“We failed so many times but it paid off for this one moment.”
What’s one misperception that people have about your job?
Josh: People think that I’m doing it all. The reality is, Briana’s the one who’s doing all the sales behind the scenes, getting the orders and doing all the marketing of our business. And then our two kiddos, they’re out there every day as well. I’ll give them a broom to sweep the sawdust. It’s a family effort! But it’s also a community effort – we have some close friends that really pushed us, “Hey you need to start selling these.” If it wasn’t for those friends supporting us, I don’t know where we’d be.
Why are you #MakerProud?
Josh: At the end of the day, I’m thankful I have the opportunity to use my hands to do these things. I love being able to bring the outdoors, inside. Creating something unique for somebody I think is really cool. It makes me proud when people pick it up and are all smiles. And it sounds really silly, but I am really proud to use CRAFTSMAN. I do think of how my Grandpa used these tools and now I use them and will pass it down to my little boy. It definitely makes you proud though, when you can build something, give it to somebody, and along the way you’re teaching other people how to do it as well.