Starting a business is never easy. There are many starts, stops, and pivots. Ask any business owner and they can reveal the harrowing tales of their own beginnings. This year in particular has brought new things, and I have met so many people who created, explored, and used their talent for good. (Just pick up a copy of Twenty Won to read about 21 women who did that…) One of my personal passions involves helping people grow their business. My mentor taught me that there are no wasted conversations, and I have tried to keep that in mind whenever I encounter a new person.
Earlier this spring I had the pleasure of meeting a craftsman with passion, skills, and the kind of personality that you just want to see win! It all started because this craftsman asked for feedback. After a few conversations, he created this incredible custom piece, and allowed me to interview him and share his story. This is an important lesson for anyone who is in business--there is an art to relationship management, and asking for feedback. Both require courage, and present an opportunity to become something more. Giving honest feedback, sharing your talent, and building relationships are the things that make business more than transactions. Isn’t that what so many of us started looking for after 2020?
When David delivered the handmade cutting board to me, my family was captivated. It hit a tender chord in me personally as my late father and grandfather were both masterful woodworkers. We learned about David’s story--he was a Fire Controlman in the Navy, serving from 1999 to 2013. He lived on 4 ships, through 6 deployments, and made countless friends and memories. Similar to the imprints of the pieces of wood on each other as he placed them together were the 14 years of service ingrained into his character. We learned about the careful selection process he goes through for every inch of wood. We learned about the unique character he places in each piece. It was easy to see the value, and I’m sure that it will be a conversation piece in my home for many years to come.
I asked David where his passion for the wood came from, and in his own words he responded, “I grew up tinkering with stuff with my Grandfather, he was a mechanic for the Tuskegee Airmen, so he loved to build and fix things. I used to help him whenever possible. I started woodworking on my own in 2014 when I bought a fish tank, but the price of a stand was crazy! So I built one, came out horribly great but I definitely got me hooked. I made my 1st cutting board as a Christmas present, it came out great ...looking. I used pine for it, and a pine cutting board, as I learned, is a big no-no because the wood is so soft that it will not last. So I told them to just display it and not to use it lol..but it was pretty. I did a bunch of research, made a bunch of horrible mistakes but started to figure it out. Then I started building some for friends and family and they convinced me that they were actually half decent, so I started to build them for others.” This story resonated with me because I witnessed my father’s skill develop and saw the gifts he gave. Although my father had long retired the saw by the time I was having my first child, one of the most treasured gifts was a bassinet that he made for another sibling, passed down and finally landing in my own family. There’s something about the stories that pieces of wood carry, and as David explained each piece to us, we learned a little more. David was kind enough to share some progress photos, and identify each piece of exotic wood that he chose to use especially for this piece.
1- Black Walnut
2. Black Maple
7. Iron Wood
8. Red Oak
9. Curly Maple
I’d love to see David’s work take off, and I think that there is a good market for it. Every wedding, anniversary, and holiday is a reason to call him, and I know that many of my own clients and contacts are in the position to plan corporate gifts, celebrate service awards, and honor our clients, vendors, and employees with gifts. Why not seek out a craftsman or small business to partner with for this?
Shop local. Plan and invest. Support the small businesses. These are the times when ‘cutting it’ really counts!
@DavidMasoncreations on Instagram