Last year, JBLM military spouse Jolie McNulty transformed her passion for refurbishing old furniture into a tangible business model when she started American Honey Furniture. Since opening her business, American Honey Furniture has evolved to include The Makery, a creative space that hosts make and take workshops geared toward people interested in creating unique décor pieces for the home.
It was during Jolie’s stint teaching furniture-refinishing workshops at a craft store that the idea for The Makery came to her. “The classes were extremely popular and people loved coming, but it seemed like there was a real need for people to have a place where they could get together with their friends and spend an afternoon or evening painting or building something, and there wasn’t anything quite like this around,” Jolie explains.
At the time, Jolie was renting space on an as needed basis at the craft store, which wasn’t open during the evening for workshops. Jolie knew she would have to make a change. “I took a leap of faith and found a great location near my house,” Jolie says.
Jolie opened The Makery last summer, and since then, her original business plan has changed a bit. “The business has shifted from me in my garage repainting furniture to hosting 20 to 30 parties a month at my studio,” she says. Workshops take place at her Tacoma-Spanaway area studio, which is an inspiring space full of color and creativity.
Workshops at The Makery are $45 and include all the materials needed to paint a design of your choice (think inspirational quotes, sports team logos and more) on a 14- by 20-inch pallet or flat wood sign. A wide variety of paint colors provided by Vintage Market and Design are available for crafters to use during workshops.
In addition to the many workshops Jolie schedules each month, the studio is also available for private parties for groups of six to ten people.
Jolie says shifting from refinishing furniture in her garage to hosting around two dozen workshops a month has certainly been an adjustment, but it’s one that she says came naturally. “I felt that although I absolutely loved and still love refinishing furniture, the business naturally pulled into the direction of teaching make and take workshops,” Jolie explains. And she’s entirely okay with that.
“I wake up every morning just super excited about the day,” Jolie says. “I love the social aspect of it and bringing people together for private parties. In such a digital, social media age, it’s so refreshing to see people have real conversations face to face. I love that people are so proud and so excited that they accomplished something.”
The shift has also allowed Jolie to better achieve her own personal goals. “I love that I still get to be a full-time stay-at-home mom but also run a really successful business,” she says. One reason she’s been able to do this is due to The Makery’s fast-growing success. Since opening last summer, Jolie has added four hired instructors to her team. With additional instructors, The Makery is able to host more workshops, and Jolie has more time to spend with her child.
With the start of a new year still fresh in the air, Jolie says there are some exciting things in store for The Makery in 2016. “This year, I plan on bringing in more power tools to the studio so people can really build their items from scratch,” she says. “And, as always, I plan on really focusing on designs that people want. I would never offer a product that I wouldn’t want in my own home.” Jolie also hopes to host more children’s birthday parties in the coming year as well.
As Jolie reflects on how far her business has come in such a short time, she shares these words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Look for something there is a need for,” she says. “And don’t give up too quickly. You never know what is right around the corner.”
Anyone interested in signing up for a workshop is encouraged to visit The Makery online for a full calendar of upcoming events. You can also visit The Makery’s Facebook page. For questions and private party requests, contact Jolie directly by phone at 253-271-7721, or email at email@example.com.
The Makery by American Honey Furniture
15413 1st Ave Court S, #C-109
Tacoma, WA 98444