The business name, their trade, the beard and the plaid... these guys are AWESOME! We love what they do, how they model their family life and the story that 's behind their company and how it all started. We have a natural pull towards tradesmen, artisans and creatives because everything they do has a story behind it. Take a read below about the brothers at "Sons of Sawdust" that we had the privilege to interview and let us know if you agree.
1. We came across your picture on Instagram in the popular feed and clicked on it, saw your Username and we were curious. How did you come up with that name and why?
Shayna, Matt's wife came up with the name after creating a long list of names that were related to what Matt and Ben were doing. She eventually narrowed it down to "Sons" because we are "Grandsons" carrying on the legacy of our grandfather and "Sawdust" because we are covered in sawdust everyday when we come home. She thought that it was more epic than what Ben and Matt came up with, which we finally agreed. Ben and Matt were originally going to name the business "Bearded Woodsmen" but decided on Sons of Sawdust because they realized it would be a name that would be more lasting and less of a "trendy" name.
2. Where are you located and how long has the company been around?
We are in Athens, GA and we have been in business for about 8 months.
3. What was the first piece of furniture you sold and where did it end up?
The first piece that we sold was a Farm Table. We put it on Craigslist and sold it to a local family in the Athens area.
4. In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life?
In every way. Neither Ben nor Matt have ever enjoyed having a traditional job. You know the typical 9 to 5, clock in and clock out kind of thing. Being creative, we just got bored doing the same thing everyday. Owning Sons of Sawdust is an adventure! We never know where the next old house or barn will be or who will contact us about going and deconstructing it. We love to hear the stories behind the wood and getting to know the people who own the wood. There's always an amazing story and an amazing adventure on every trip to get our reclaimed wood. We never know what piece of custom furniture we will build next. Everyday is an exciting journey and a chance to live life to the fullest. Plus we get to be our own bosses and do things our way. We've never had a job where we could do that. It helps us to stay positive and keep going. The other way it has created value for us is that it gives us purpose. We are creating something with our hands. We are carrying on a legacy that our grandfather passed on to us, and we get to pass this legacy on to our children. We are creating pieces of furniture that will become heirloom pieces, passed on generation to generation. Telling the story of the wood, the story of our Pa, the story of the tables, this is what creates value. Our quality of life is so much better now, because we are doing something we're passionate about and we're doing something we believe in.
The most important thing is that it is bringing our entire family together in such a good way. After our Pa passed away, we were all a bit lost. He was such a cornerstone in our family and we all sort of went our separate ways. Since we started Sons of Sawdust our family is talking about Pa a lot more and they are excited to see us carrying on his legacy, not only in working with our hands but also by being men of integrity. That's what he taught us from an very early age. If you say that you are going to do something, you do it. No matter what!
5. Your work that you create and the way you live your life possesses adventure. What does Adventure mean to you?
It means SO much. Matt and Ben have always had amazing adventures together. From sleeping in hostels in New York City to living in Hawaii, touring Ireland with our band, to slinging each other around on a snow disc behind a go cart, in the middle of the summer. They have always been rule breakers and risk takers. Life without adventure is just plain boring. Sons of Sawdust is an amazing adventure and there's no telling where it will take us next.
6. Working with wood and where you are located, does this hurt your production process?
We are located in one of the places that early settlers lived when they came to the new world. Many of the buildings in and around Athens were built in the 1700's and 1800's with some of the first trees that were ever cut down in America. This is the wood that we reclaim and use to build our furniture with. We couldn't have picked a better place to be located.
7. How long does it take you to produce a piece of furniture?
From start to finish it takes 3 or 4 days with one person working on it. However if you ordered a piece of furniture from us today it would be about 2 months before it would be finished. We have so many orders right now that we have to space them out to keep us from having to work 100 hours a week. Since we started using Instagram to promote Sons of Sawdust our business has quadrupled. The power of social media is an amazing thing!
8. How many piece will you make of a particular design?
Everything that we do is custom. Our customers come in and tell us what they want and that's what we build. Sometimes it's based on something we've built in the past, sometimes it's something they saw on Pinterest and sometimes they give us creative control to create whatever we can come up with. The only constant in our business is change, and we like it that way. It keeps us from getting bored or burnt out.
9. On your website it has a section called ‘Collab’ what does this entail for another company?
We wanted to create a space where we could collaborate with other makers. People tell us about their ideas all of the time and we figured that we could be a little more proactive in reaching out to other creatives from around the world rather than just the people we run into around town giving them an easy way to collaborate with us.
10. Working as a creative, seeking adventure and living in a pretty rad state, the one question we are all dying to hear is what influenced you to grow your beard and how long have you had a beard?
We both had beards of various lengths for the past few years. We've been blessed with the beard gene. We can grow substantial beards in a very short period of time. Both of our beards are still infants, being that they are less than one year old. Ben thinks that Emergen-C is a beard enhancement drug that causes a beard to grow at an exponential rate. Matt is just happy that Shayna (his wife) is cool with the beard. She actually loves it! Plus Matt is lazy and hates to shave, so it just works out.
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Photo Credit - Shayna Hobbs @daysdawn