Interview With a Maker - Kendall and Andrea of Brass Tacks
What do you Make/ what is your business all about?
We are all about reviving dated, mistreated and forgotten furniture. From creating our own collections to refinishing a dated piece in your home the transformations always amaze us.
This appreciation for creating something new from something old led us to connect with other local makers. Their creativity and skill leaves us speechless. We consider ourselves truly fortunate to host markets featuring so many talented individuals. They inspire us and keep us driven.
How did you get started?
Once upon a time Andrea came up with the idea to open a consignment store specializing in the resale of furniture and home decor. She thought to herself "I need a bear to help me on this journey" and asked Kendall if she was interested. Kendall being particularly bored with her job at the moment said "Heck ya".
That was our beginning. Since then we added painting furniture, custom painting, moved to a new location, started Makers Market Sun Prairie, and changed from conventional retail hours to event based retail. Whew, that sounds like we've changed a whole lot!
What's your biggest SUCCESS this far?
We put the fact that, after 4 years of business, we are still here and continuing to grow at the top of our success list. We've seen other businesses come and go. Some we were close with others we watched from a far. Being a small business isn't easy, it pays little in the way of actual money, but there are so many other benefits that we can't imagine a life where we weren't being our own bosses!
Us in the beginning
What's your biggest Failure?
Failures there have been many. Mostly small, some a bit larger. But we truly believe that our biggest failure was in the moments that we didn't trust ourselves and our instincts. The biggest lesson we have learned is to listen to our own truth.... friends, family, and fellow small business owners are always there for us, but their opinions and own truths do not always apply to our business. Nobody knows your business like you do......listen to your gut for the big decisions. In the end if your wrong, at least you will only have yourself to blame and less what ifs in your head.
What do you love the most about making/your business?
The freedom of it all! While there are still those times that there are things we "have to do" for the most part we enjoy our work lives immensely more then the before becoming our own bosses. The freedom to be creative on a daily basis, use our imaginations, and make decisions for ourselves and our business is liberating.
What is your business Super Strength?
Hands down our ability to adapt and change. It has been a core value of ours from the beginning to be able to make the necessary changes and adaptations that a growing business needs to make to survive. If there is one thing in this world we are not scared of it is change. We embrace it, roll with with it, and sometimes even provoke it. We are 100% positive there are people out there thinking to themselves "What are they doing now?!?", but we 75% don't care. That may sound harsh, rude, and a little bit cocky, but we've learned that if we aren't being true to ourselves and our business we eventually regret it. Change to us is a good thing!
What advice do you have to those makers/ entrepreneurs afraid to take the next step?
#kendallhere Try your best to think things through and plan out 3-5 years. You might strike it rich year one and flop year two, you might start off slow years 1-3, you might never really get things off the ground and going. Be prepared for all of it AND THEN jump in head first. Having thought about all the ways things could go, right or wrong, will only make you and your business stronger and more resilient.
#andreahere You are going to have to take that big scary leap to get things going. You'll have to put your thing out in the world, quit your "real job", etc to be able to get to a place that you love. If it sounds a bit crazy to your family don't let that stop you, let it fuel you to make it happen.
What is your spirit animal and why?
Kendall: You may have noticed Andrea's nickname for me is Shebear. This is an identity I have bonded with over the years. I am large, loud, protective, loving, and fierce. I don't mess around when there is a job to be done, I very rarely think about the details, but I love to eat and enjoy life with family and friends. Go figure the nickname given to me in college because I made some rarring type noises when I woke up still fits perfectly.
Andrea: I'm going to go with a giraffe for this one. Growing up I was always a lanky string bean so I feel like a giraffe is pretty fitting. I just found this fun fact: It's long been thought that giraffes, with their tall necks and spindly legs, were incapable of swimming... It's feasible for a giraffe to swim, but it is much harder than it is for a horse. While I can "swim" and enjoy the water I am more of a giraffe than a horse in the water.